BIG TOM attended the above digital meeting which enabled instructors to ask any questions that they might have.
In typical style the questions that were raised by the presenters were very much cherry-picked to seem as least contentious as possible. There were serious doubts being cast by instructors for example about the justification for continuing the DVSA monitoring of parameters within driving test data. And for good reason. The amount of recalls to Standards Checks as a result of parameters has exploded by 600% for Grade A instructors and an eye-watering 1200% for Grade B instructors. According to DVSA data from October 2022 – September 2023, 12.3% of the entire Grade B registered driving instructors were recalled. And yet, there has been no significant increase in driving test pass rates – private cars accounting for 45.3% pass rates and driving school cars for 49.4% pass rates. Again, according to DVSA data, more Grade A driving instructors left the register between 2021-2023 than Grade B instructors over the same period – which is quite something given the fact that there are almost three times the amount of Grade B ADI’s compared to Grade A.
It is entirely reasonable and understandable why driving instructors would raise questions about what the NASP are doing to hold the DVSA to account for introducing a measure aimed at “raising standards” where there is little evidence of any improvement. The panel mentioned that they had been provided with a glimpse of the “worst offending” instructors who were being recalled, where they had failure rates on driving tests in the high 90 percents. But of course, in any given distribution curve, it would be entirely misleading to only talk of the extremes without putting things into a larger context.
The relatively recent increased drive from the DVSA to pool resources to increase the capacity of driving tests was mentioned – there was little mention of improvements being seen but BIG TOM did feedback a significant improvement in the driving test centres that are used. A knock-on effect of re-directing these DVSA resources is that there will be fewer Standards Checks and ORDIT assessments until March 2024.