ATFOA – latest opinion.

DVSA are convinced that they can continue to recruit themselves out of the tester shortage, however, I understand the challenges of recruitment, first hand. I believe the struggle before them will not improve, however it can be mitigated by initiating ATFOA’s proposals.
 
The Earned Recognition project is exciting, especially as DVSA 5 year strategy – Section 2.2 – states that DVSA would  “look into the case for allowing exemplary commercial vehicle operators to test their own vehicles if they share their testing data with us”.  
 
As ATFOA’s proposals offer a plausible and practical opportunity to allow exemplary operators to test their own vehicles without any legislative change we are disappointed with DVSA’s lacklustre response to a solution that may help to reduce the effects of their tester supply problem.
 
Additionally, In the 5 year strategy – Section 6.2 Motoring services strategy – it says “As part of that strategy, we’ve committed to things such as: looking at the case for having more of our services (for example, large vehicle testing) provided by partner organisations.” 
 
I believe, an ‘all industry’ drive to help push ATFOA proposals over the line might just stop DVSA re-think the problem and prompt them into being more enthusiastic at progressing our proposals.
 
As no legislative change is required to test your own PSV, we are arguing that it would only take a little bit of ‘will’ from DVSA to realise that a carefully planned pilot scheme might just result in a successful plan being established to instantly resolve the tester crisis. We calculate up to 40 testers will be released to free up the other ATF’s being inhibited by the lack of testers. 
 
DVSA’s single minded plan to recruit themselves out of this crisis is extremely challenging because, amongst other things, DVSA tester pay grade is markedly low and the new contract is unfavourable for workers to consider joining.
 
Additionally, NGT has added to ATF woes; NGT has delivered the opposite to what was promised. 
 
Instead of flexibility, ATF’s have rigidity in a number of processes. 
 
  • Requesting future testing slots is more difficult, we used to be able to book a year in advance to help plan our fleets – now we are limited to just 3 months. Large fleet operators are finding it more difficult to spread the impact of bulk purchases because they are no longer guaranteed dates in the future. This is especially an issue now that test wait times are unto 6 weeks.

  •  Short term extra test requests are almost impossible. Previously, when ‘over time’ existed, the testers had an incentive to stay behind and test a few more axles.

  •  DVSA enforcement officers are no longer allowed to cover for testers’ absences’ so ATF’s often have no choice but to close for the day.

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