The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which is in charge of your practical and theory examinations, has just revealed its most recent business plan, which covers the years 2022-2023.
What is the major purpose of the strategy? To reduce the time it takes to get a driver’s licence.
According to the agency, the average wait time is presently 14 weeks (but other instructors believe it is closer to 24). In any event, the DVSA plans to reduce the average waiting time for learner drivers to nine weeks by December 2022 in order to reduce dissatisfaction.
Actions already taken
The agency says it has already introduced several measures to help achieve this.
- Overtime, weekend, and public holiday testing are all possible options.
- Extra tests are conducted by people who don’t ordinarily administer tests as part of their day employment.
- Tests were carried out by recently retired examiners who have been requested to return.
- Exams are administered by examiners who have been on the job since April 2021.
- Since April 2021, the DVSA claims that over 350,000 additional tests have been undertaken as a result of these and other measures.
However, the agency admits that cutting wait times will be a difficult goal to achieve because there are already over 500,000 people waiting to take their driver’s test.
The DVSA says it will keep trying to find new driving examiners – including temporarily contracting inexperienced driving assessors to qualify as driving examiners – to deal with the problem, but admits that finding new examiners has been difficult because:
- Because the job market is so competitive right now, especially in some parts of the UK, getting the proper talent in the first place might be difficult.
- Because many of the DVSA’s present examiners have retired or are due to retire in the near future, new examiners are being hired to replace them rather than adding to the workforce.
- Examiners are held to strict standards, which has resulted in new entrants failing the driving examiner training course – or abandoning it because it is too difficult.
- To address the latter issue, the DVSA says it is reevaluating its driving examiner course in order to address the aspects of the training programme that applicants have found particularly difficult.
Not that recently qualified driving examiner Emily Butler needed any help; at the age of 23, she has become the DVSA’s youngest car driving examiner.
Aside from waiting lists, the DVSA has set itself further goals for the years 2022-2023. The following are some of the objectives:
Increasing candidate satisfaction with the service they received for car practical and theoretical tests to 70%.
Increasing to 95% the number of candidates who are assigned a theoretical test appointment within 28 calendar days of booking (at their desired test centre within the service period).
By March 2023, the DVSA’s customer service and the call centre will have improved significantly.
Improving call handling times with a goal of processing 50% of calls in under 120 seconds.