By the time you read this, the deadline by which drivers of coaches and buses with ‘acquired rights’ must have completed their first block of Driver CPC periodic training has passed. Existing bus or coach drivers who got their vocational licence before 10 September 2008 were awarded these rights, which means they do not have to take the initial qualification but had five years in which to complete their first block of 35 hours periodic training. VOSA officers are now routinely checking whether ‘acquired rights’ bus and coach drivers have completed their training and have a Driver Qualification Card (DQC) or are driving illegally. The latest statistics (up to the end of August) show that 241,930 drivers have now completed 35 hours periodic training and been issued with a DQC. They also show that 661,820 have started doing periodic training. In total it is estimated that 500,000 to 750,000 bus, coach and lorry drivers require Driver CPC.
DSA and VOSA Chief Executive, Alastair Peoples, said, ‘I’d like to thank the bus, coach and haulage industry for their support so far; that includes the drivers and operators who’ve committed to the training and the wider industry who’ve been invaluable in helping to introduce Driver CPC. I hope the LGV industry will now continue this commitment over the coming months as we work towards their deadline next September. Driver CPC makes a valuable contribution to road safety as well as making savings for the industry. VOSA officers will be checking Driver CPC status and not being aware of Driver CPC is no excuse.’
Updates from VOSA will be one of the highlights of the 2013 Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) Transport Manager Conferences. VOSA will discuss ‘new ways of working with the industry’ and how transport managers can apply best practice to avoid becoming targets of enforcement. Venues and dates include: 11 September, Brands Hatch; 18 September, Durham; 25 September, Warrington; 2 October, Leeds; 8 October, Taunton; 16 October, Huntingdon; 23 October, Chepstow; 30 October, Dunblane; 6 November, Sheffield; 13 November, Southampton; 20 November, Slough; 27 November, Crawley and 4 December, Birmingham. The price for FTA members is £325 plus VAT for the first delegate and £275 plus VAT for subsequent delegates; the cost for non-members is £385 plus VAT for the first delegate and £345 plus VAT for subsequent delegates.
To book a place, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , complete the online booking form at http://www.fta.co.uk/TM2013 or call 08717 11 22 22.
Services currently provided by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) will be brought together within a single unit. The move has been made to create more convenient and cost effective motoring services. It is expected to allow the delivery of the same quality of testing and standards services to motorists and businesses, but with greater efficiency. The DSA and VOSA are already undertaking work they claim will make testing more flexible and convenient for customers and this merger is anticipated to allow them to explore opportunities to extend this in the future. These services will be delivered by the single agency in 2014. A transitional board will start work next month to determine the structure of the organisation. Leading the board will be VOSA Chief Executive, Alastair Peoples, who will head the combined agency. This announcement follows the consultation on the motoring services strategy, which ran from 13 December 2012 to 7 March 2013. It proposed rationalising the roles and numbers of agencies to provide an improved and more efficient delivery of motoring services to customers.
Stephen Hammond said, ‘We need to make sure that we continue to keep pace with customers’ needs and deliver services in a way which is both convenient and cost effective. These changes will put customers at the heart of the services they rely on and allow for a more coherent approach to service delivery. By bringing testing and standards services into a single organisation we will make life easier for customers and potentially reduce the fees we charge. Staff at the DSA and VOSA do a great job in delivering for customers every day and we will work closely with them to support them through these changes. Customers should be reassured that the same high quality service delivery will continue throughout the transition period.’
Freight Transport Association’s (FTA’s) Director of Policy, Karen Dee, said, ‘FTA supports any move which can deliver improved services and better value for money for its members, and we can certainly see some potential for this in the proposed merger of DSA and VOSA – for example if this allows transport managers to check their OCRS scores at the same time as their drivers’ DCPC status that would be a big step forward. However, we will be looking very carefully at the detail behind this to ensure that benefits such as this are delivered. While bringing VOSA and DSA together puts testing of drivers and vehicles in one place, licensing of both will still be dealt with by DVLA. It is questionable therefore whether the proposals will deliver the improved links between testing and licensing that operators feel are necessary. FTA looks forward to working with the new – and existing – agencies to bring this about.’
VOSA has launched a consultation on proposals to change fees for PSV testing, operator licensing and associated services, as well as tachograph calibrator approvals, amongst others. The proposed changes for statutory services aim to create fairer fees by removing the remaining cross subsidy of VOSA test facility costs from users of Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs) and charging the cost of extra VOSA resource to service ATFs to ATF users. The planned alterations are also targetted at meeting additional running costs of interconnection throughout the EU of national registers of operators and their transport managers and more active monitoring of those committing most serious infringements as required by EU regulations. They are also aimed at ensuring the financial sustainability of VOSA. The consultation also includes a proposal on fees for Reduced Pollution Certificate inspections carried out by the Driver and Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland and an increase to charges for voluntary services provided by the Agency. The largest changes result in re-distributing costs between those using VOSA test facilities and ATFs.
VOSA Chief Executive, Alastair Peoples, said, ‘After four years with no general fee increases, VOSA will continue to absorb most costs and keep general rises to a minimal 1%. This is good news for our customers as the increase is far below inflation. I am also pleased to be able to propose a fairer allocation of costs between customers having their vehicles tested at ATFs and VOSA test stations. I am keen to hear the views from customers on our proposals.’
Visit http://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/fees-for-hgv-and-psv-testing-operator-licensing-other-vosa-services-and-some-dva-services to see the full consultation. It is open till 11 June 2013.