To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the level of additional demands on Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency testing facilities since those testing facilities have reopened in response to the easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
17 May 2021
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) understands the effect that the pandemic has had on all those involved with driver training and testing. It is inevitable the demand for existing and new learners wanting to book theory and practical driving tests will be higher than usual.
The DVSA has put in place a number of measures to increase practical driving tests. These include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays). The DVSA is also running a recruitment campaign to increase the overall number of examiners. The aim is to increase testing capacity and reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining a COVID-secure service for customers and examiners.
The DVSA is aware there has been an unprecedented demand for theory tests in Scotland. The DVSA is working with its theory test provider, Pearson VUE, to explore ways in which it can increase theory test capacity in Scotland, including extending opening hours and running tests on extra days where possible.
The DVSA is continuing to work with the Scottish Government but as a result of the 2 metre physical distancing restrictions in Scotland, it is unable to increase the number of desks used to take tests.
The DVSA and its theory test contract provider, Pearson VUE, have explored the possibility of delivering the theory tests outside of existing sites, but this was found to be not suitable as it is dependent upon a physical infrastructure within the Pearson VUE network.