– Operators must have technology in place to obtain Earned Recognition status
– Key Performance Indicators have now been defined
– Board to be presented with plans in November
During the first major update from the DVSA in some time the newly appointed chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, outlined the department’s purpose, strategy and plans for Earned Recognition and said details would be available before the end of the year.
When asked about the role of telematics, Llewellyn said that it is a hugely valuable technology for the industry, not just in matters of compliance, but also playing a wider role.
Llewellyn acknowledged and apologised for a recent dip in service as a result of the merger between VOSA and the DSA, but asserted that usual business is now being resumed with renewed effort to reward the best transport service providers and focus resources on those not meeting compliance standards.
Earned Recognition Progress
The DVSA has now defined the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which operators will be monitored against in order to reach Earned Recognition status, when the scheme launches.
Llewellyn also reported that the audit standards are almost there and said that the DVSA team is now going into a period of stakeholder review.
A code of practice is being drawn up so that the rules and guidance are clear – especially when deciding what happens when Earned Recognition status needs to be taken away from an operator.
Llewellyn asserted that, to achieve Earned Recognition status, operators would need technology in place to make drivers’ hours and vehicle maintenance information available.
The business case for Earned Recognition will be presented to the DVSA Board in November with an announcement likely in December.
The new DVSA chief executive finished by saying that he is confident that we can make Earned Recognition work and that his agency has already learned lessons from others, like the Environment Agency, who have transitioned in a similar way towards collaborative systems.
Additional DVSA Updates
Restating the purpose of the DVSA, Llewellyn said that the department is there to help deliver a lifetime of safe driving; with the ultimate goal of making our roads safer.
The agency will achieve this by developing the driving test process and deploying technology (currently investigating mobile and virtual reality) to improve the process. Training for drivers on new safety technologies will also be a focus.
Other priorities for the agency will be on reducing instances of foreign vehicle compliance fraud, protecting against unsafe vehicles, improving testing facilities where needed and rolling out next generation testing in Scotland.
When it comes to enforcement Llewellyn noted prison sentences which have been delivered for driving test fraud and highlighted tachograph fraud as by far the biggest issue. In some cases they have found up to three separate tachos in a single vehicle.
Legislation is limiting the ability of the DVSA to completely ban foreign operators unwilling to engage in a compliance dialogue, however debilitating disruption targeted at some operators from Eastern Europe has proved effective.
Coming from the private sector Llewellyn said that he understood the importance of partnerships and said there would be a particular onus on working closely with Highways England to make sure roads run fluidly.
In the last year there have been just under 220,000 roadside checks and 25,000 fraud penalty notices issued for £4.3m fines. There have been 355 arrests for test fraud with 69 convictions and 46 prison sentences.
“The focus for me is in keeping people on UK roads safe,” he finished, acknowledging that the DVSA cannot do that alone.