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DfT plans for motoring services overhaul

The consultation, which closes on 8 January 2016, is intended to streamline public services and save the taxpayer money, and includes new proposals to improve the driving test to increase the pass rate.

Currently 21% of driving tests result in a first-time pass, with the majority of tests being repeat examinations. Under the new proposals the driving test fee would be reduced by requiring learner drivers to pay a deposit when they take their test, which they get back if they pass.

The consultation also sets out proposals to review fees for all services provided by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and also change providers for some services and combine services.

It will also consider private testing of HGVs and look at ways to reduce the shortage of large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers, adding that this is one of the largest issues facing the haulage industry today. Streamlining the application process and improving information sharing between agencies could help LGV drivers with the required qualifications to obtain their licence and start work sooner.

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “This is a bold and ambitious approach aimed at putting the user at the heart of everything the motoring agencies do.

“They provide a valuable public service, from issuing driving licences to taking dangerous vehicles off our roads and I want to make sure they are able to operate in the most effective way.”

Commenting on the changes, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “We think that now is a good time to take stock of where the DVLA and DVSA are, and how they can best meet motorists’ needs in what is a rapidly changing automotive environment.

“It is no coincidence that this latest plan for ‘innovative and streamlined’ motoring services comes at a time when the department is under pressure to deliver huge budget cuts for the Treasury.

“We trust that these improvements will deliver efficiencies for the motoring agencies and their customers, as promised.”

In response to plans to tackle the LGV driver shortage, Keaney added: “The BVRLA has been calling for private sector testing of HGVs for some time, as we believe this would build on the successful roll out of ATFs by providing an even more flexible and efficient testing service for operators.

“We continue to work closely with the DVSA on its support its plans to develop a more targeted enforcement regime that focuses on non-compliant fleets while recognising the commitment that BVRLA members have made to safe HGV operations.

“Both these initiatives would produce real benefits for the road transport sector.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.