DVSA is seeking operators to participate in a series of focus group events that it will hold as part of its ongoing work to improve heavy vehicle testing services.
In the first instance, the Agency wants to examine those organisations’ experiences of planning and managing test bookings for their fleets. While not every applicant to be part of the focus groups will be included in the discussions, it hopes that the roundtables will “represent a variety of customers… to make sure that we are getting the right feedback.”
Operators’ involvement is key to helping DVSA to improve its heavy vehicle testing service, the Agency adds. Many concerns have been raised in recent months about access to test appointments, with one operator describing the position as “troubling.” A used coach dealership has gone so far as to say that some buyers now take into account the time that remains until the vehicle is next due a test when enquiring.
In April, DVSA cautioned operators that heavy vehicle test availability between August and November was likely to be constrained. That came about because of exemptions to testing requirements in 2020 as part of a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which altered the spread of tests due throughout 2021.
DVSA says that its plans to improve the testing regime involve the findings of last year’s Heavy Vehicle Testing Review. It has already partially ended the moratorium on accepting applications for new Authorised Testing Facilities, one of several actions that were highlighted in the Review.
In August, Head of Vehicle Policy and Engineering Neil Barlow wrote in a blogpost that in the 12 months from then, he wanted DVSA in collaboration with industry “to have addressed all the recommendations in the Review,” and that over the same period, DVSA will have either “implemented a solution or have a clear view about where [it is] going” for each of them.