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.

DVSA ‘Clearing House Concept’ Survey

In our January meeting with DVSA we discussed the “Clearing House Concept”.

DVSA conducted a survey in December 2017 to get ATF input into the idea of setting up a central system to advertise any spare or short notice available test slots to customers. 

ATFOA invites its members and industry stakeholders to take the survey.

DVSA are leaving it open so you can have your say

http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ATFBookingslotsFeb18/

ATFOA – Missed test survey – To complete every missed test

Complete this survey every time you miss a test

ATFOA has been corresponding with industry stakeholders and DVSA in an effort to receive feed back to our recent proposals to help alleviate the DVSA tester shortage.

We will be updating you in due course.

During ATFOA’s meting with DVSA , they claimed there has been a disproportionate amount of test cancellations emanating from the industry. DVSA have suggested that there has been over 254 industry cancellations, in January this year, compared with only 11 DVSA test cancellations.

Just to be clear, The DVSA is suggesting that: the industry is cancelling HGV and PSV tests, not the other way round.

DVSA’s claims, regarding industry test cancellations, is contrary to information ATFOA receives from members. For example; ATFOA HQ is regularly contacted by members with reports that DVSA is still cancelling tests, often without any warning.

We are also aware that ATF’s quarterly requests for DVSA test allocations have been reduced by DVSA by between 10% and 50% – across the board.

Therefore, in order for the industry to help evidence what is really happening at the coal face, ATFOA has created a quick and simple reporting tool.

ATFOA – Missed test survey – Please click this link below and complete the 5 second survey every time you miss a test – for whatever reason

Complete this survey every time you miss a test

FOI Request – ATFOA

ATFOA’s Stephen Smith has requested information under The Freedom of Information Act.

Here is the request:

Dear Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency,

We are aware that the DVSA has been cancelling HGV/ PSV tests due to DVSA tester shortage.

Please would you supply information regarding DVSA tester supply and test cancellation for ATF’s.

Question 1: How many DVSA test cancellations has there been since the inception of The ATF scheme.

Please answer by quoting the amount of DVSA cancelled tests per month, with reason given for cancellation. Please supply ATF location (or area/ region if exact location is not allowed or cannot be disclosed) of each DVSA test cancellation.

Question 2:How much compensation has DVSA paid to ATF’s since inception of The ATF scheme.

Question 2.1: How many instances of compensation has there been.

Please answer by quoting the amount paid by DVSA to each ATF (or by area/ region) ans split into months if possible.

Question 3: How many fully qualified DVSA testers are there at present.

Question 4: How many fully qualified DVSA testers is there forecast to be by April 2018

We are aware DVSA have been moving DVSA testers from around the UK to supply London area.

Question 5: How much has been spent on overnight accommodation by DVSA to supply London area HGV/ PSV tests.

Question 5.1: How many nights accommodation has been paid for
Question 5.2: How many DVSA testers have stayed in a hotel to supply tests.

We are aware that DVSA have not been able to supply, in full, ATF requests for tester allocations in Q1 2018.

Question 6: What is the shortfall between the amount of DVSA test sessions requested compared with the amount of test sessions supplied.

Please answer by month and by ATF or by area/ region.

Are you able to confirm the variation of ATF tester requests for each quarter (or month) since ATF scheme inception.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Smith
ATFOA

XXXXXXXXXX——————-BELOW IS DVSA’s RESPONSE ——————-XXXXXXXXX

Our ref: IA/01137/17

 

Date: 07 December 2017

Dear Mr Smith

Information requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA)

Further to your request of 09/11/2017, I can confirm that we have handled
your request for information about DVSA testers within the terms of the
FoIA.

Your request and our response is as follows:

We are aware that the DVSA has been cancelling HGV/ PSV tests due to DVSA
tester shortage.

Please would you supply information regarding DVSA tester supply and test
cancellation for ATF’s.

We are aware of issues with ATF testing and have set up a task force to
address concerns and to help support business.

Although the number of vehicles on the road has not gone up, demand for
DVSA testers has increased by 6% since last year.

To help meet this we have, as a short-term measure, actively redeployed
staff from other parts of the country to meet as many requests as
possible, which has represented a cost.

We have also recruited more than 50 new staff who have already started to
join us and will be in place in January 2018.

We have had feedback from ATFs that they would like to be able to
advertise vacant testing slots to the industry, and have sent out a survey
to gather views and information from them to see if this is an idea.

Question 1: How many DVSA test cancellations has there been since the
inception of The ATF scheme.

Please answer by quoting the amount of DVSA cancelled tests per month,
with reason given for cancellation. Please supply ATF location (or area/
region if exact location is not allowed or cannot be disclosed) of each
DVSA test cancellation.

DVSA Cancellation of Confirmed Reservations is a manual process – the
official manually processed data provides just the number of DVSA
cancellations nationally per month. This is given below:

Please note, we do not hold the information on reasons for cancellations
or the ATF location of each DVSA test cancellation.

Question 2: How much compensation has DVSA paid to ATF’s since inception
of The ATF scheme?

In total – £396,127.00

15/16 = £3,403.00

16/17 = £53,676.00

17/18 = £336,049.00 (to date)

(335,049/11×12)/3403×100=10,740% rise in compensation pay outs to ATF’s

Question 2.1: How many instances of compensation has there been?

Please answer by quoting the amount paid by DVSA to each ATF (or by area/
region) and split into months if possible.

In total – 439

15/16 = 6

16/17 = 76

17/18 = 357 (to date)

(357/11×12)/6X100=6490% increase in compensation pay outs from 15/16 to 17/18 extrapolated.

The table below breaks the data down into ‘zones’

We are unable to provide a breakdown for previous years, as we did not
have ‘zones’ prior to this date

Question 3: How many fully qualified DVSA testers are there at present.

Currently there are 510 fully qualified DVSA testers
Question 4: How many fully qualified DVSA testers is there forecast to be
by April 2018

The projected staffing levels as of April 2018 is 549

We are aware DVSA have been moving DVSA testers from around the UK to
supply London area.

Question 5: How much has been spent on overnight accommodation by DVSA to
supply London area HGV/ PSV tests.

I am sorry but we cannot provide the information in its current format as
it is exempt from disclosure under Section 12 (1) (cost of compliance
exceed appropriate limit) of the Freedom of Information Act.

For the financial year 1/4/2015 to 31/3/2016 alone we have had 72,712
claims for an overnight accommodation stay for the whole of DVSA. Checking
each of their personal entry for a claim for an overnight stay relating to
London area HGV/PSV tests would take around 5-10 minutes per person. This
would then need checking for accuracy prior to release[1]^[i].

Given that the request is since the inception of the ATF’s, we estimate it
would take in excess of the 24 working hour limit to verify the relevant
information requested ^ [ii].

Question 5.1: How many nights’ accommodation has been paid for?

As the response is directly related to Q5, please see our response above
to Q5.

Question 5.2: How many DVSA testers have stayed in a hotel to supply
tests?

As the response is directly related to Q5, please see our response above
to Q5

We are aware that DVSA have not been able to supply, in full, ATF requests
for tester allocations in Q1 2018.

Question 6: What is the shortfall between the amounts of DVSA test
sessions requested compared with the amount of test sessions supplied?

Please answer by month and by ATF or by area/ region.

Are you able to confirm the variation of ATF tester requests for each
quarter (or month) since ATF scheme inception.

This information is commercially sensitive and it would not be appropriate
to share this at this time. This information is therefore exempt from
release under section 43 (2) (commercial interests) of the FoIA. This is a
qualified exemption which is subject to the public interest test as to
whether the balance lies in favour of withholding or disclosing the
information. A copy of this exemption can be found at:
[2]http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000…

We will conduct a public interest test and let you know the outcome of the
test shortly.

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can ask
for an internal review by contacting Vasim Choudhary, Public Liaison
Manager, at [3][email address] or at the above address.

Yours sincerely

Sam Cox

Call to Action – Write to your MP

ATFOA has drafted a letter so ATF’s can write to their MP and The Department of Transport to let them know of the crisis of tester shortage.

Copy and paste this text below and alter as you see fit. Figures accurate at time of blog but are subject to change.

Dear (Name of MP),

I am writing to you as my local MP to alert you to my situation regarding my Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) and my relationship with The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Previously DVSA supplied Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) testing from their own premises but in 2011 they reached out to the industry for an investment partnership and introduced The ATF scheme.

My business, (name of business), has invested (amount of investment) and gone into partnership with DVSA to deliver HGV/ PSV testing. The ATF scheme was supposed to significantly improve the existing, inefficient and dated HGV testing regime but has been laced with various challenges emanating from public sector and private sector operating differences.

(Business name) has delivered on our side of the contract that we signed with DVSA. We have:

  • Purchased land
  • Built bespoke testing facilities
  • Constructed ATF testing pits
  • Purchased roller brake testing and LEZ testing equipment
  • Employed extra administrators to deliver on our promise

Similarly, over 550 other investors have partnered with DVSA to deliver The ATF scheme across the country. As a result DVSA has saved millions of pounds in real estate and administrative expenses.

The subsequent financial liabilities (company name) has inherited from the ATF partnership are significant. However, through no fault of my/our own, I am/ we are being penalised, financially, by the challenging environment presented to us/ me.

In an attempt to improve the situation The DVSA introduced a new scheme called Next Generation Testing (NGT) but it has made matters worse and DVSA have continued to struggle to deliver on their side of the contract: For various reasons there is a shortage of DVSA testers which has resulted in (…% ) shortfall in the number of testing staff being made available to (company name).

The result of this crisis is a decrease in my/ our revenue which is impacting on the financial sustainability of (company name). However, The Authorised Testing Facility Operators Association (ATFOA) predict that DVSA’s continued apparent inability to supply testers throughout the UK, which is currently running at a 19% defecit, will start impacting on the wider industry resulting in a shortage of tests so that hauliers will be restricted from operating.

I/ we hope, that by bringing our plight to your attention, you can raise the necessary questions to the appropriate government department or raise this issue at PM questions.

Yours sincerely,

 

ATFOA Tester Allocation Survey 2018 Q1

Reports are coming in all over the country. It appears ATF’s (who have kept their part of the deal) are having to pay, financially, for DVSA’s shortfall in testers. Most ATF’s have committed to hundreds of thousands of pounds of finance and are now challenged to keep up with the payments.

Tell us about your tester allocation here Tester Allocation Survey