Press release

VOSA moves to next stage of taking testing to the customer

Birmingham and Mitcham test stations close as VOSA takes vehicle testing to the customer.


VOSA is moving forward with its strategy of taking testing to the customer in order to reduce the burden on industry.

As a result of the first set of reviews into the potential market for Authorised Testing Facilities (ATF), VOSA will close the Birmingham and Mitcham test stations.

The review found that there is sufficient market interest in running ATF in the areas around these 2 sites to enable closure by July 2011.

The 9 month notice period is to give sufficient time for ATF to meet the required standards, achieve authorisation and go live.

VOSA Chief Executive Alastair Peoples said:

We want to provide an efficient, modern service for our customers which delivers convenient, high quality testing. More tests than ever are now being carried out by VOSA staff at privately-owned sites, reducing the amount of time and money operators need to spend travelling to test stations.

We have listened to the industry and will only close existing stations where we know there is a strong market for ATF. After carrying out detailed research we have found that there is sufficient interest from operators around Birmingham and Mitcham in providing alternative facilities where VOSA staff will continue to provide their high level of testing.

These closures are part of an ongoing programme to transform VOSA’s testing operations and we will continue to involve staff and trade unions in these changes.

Local staff will be involved in planning the future delivery of operations in the Birmingham and Mitcham areas with VOSA staff testing from ATF and neighbouring test stations.

The agency is currently working with local customers to support them through the ATF application process.

Notes to editors

Testing Transformation Programme (TTP)

The aim of TTP is to reduce the cost to industry of statutory testing by ensuring that testing is carried out at or near where vehicles are maintained. VOSA aims to achieve this by delivering testing in the form of ATF - sites in the private sector that use VOSA testing staff.

At the same time VOSA will avoid having to invest tens of millions of pounds modernising its own ageing estate, which directly impacts the test fee.

Market validation

Market validation is a rigorous approach to research the potential ATF market within the catchment area of VOSA’s stations.

VOSA has a commitment to review the potential ATF market in all 68 of its full-time test station areas and a target of completing 20 areas this financial year. Birmingham and Mitcham sites were part of the first batch of 5 sites to be validated - they indicated a strong ATF market and represented a good geographical coverage.


Since the launch of the ATF contract in January 2010, 22 ATF have become operational [8 new sites, and 14 Designated Premises (DP) converting to ATF status.

The ‘taking testing to the customer’ strategy is proving successful. So far in 2010/11, 33 new non-VOSA sites have gone live (an average of over 1 per week). This is made up of the 8 new ATF, plus 25 new DP whose applications VOSA has honoured.

Driving Standards Agency (DSA)

DSA shares the Mitcham and Birmingham sites for operational purposes and is fully aware of VOSA’s plans. DSA will continue to work closely with VOSA as it reviews its options for continued delivery of services.

For more information, please contact DSA Press Office on 0115 936 6133.


VOSA is responsible for:

  • processing applications for licences to operate lorries and buses and registering bus services
  • operating and administering testing schemes for all vehicles, including the supervision of the MOT testing scheme
  • enforcing the law on vehicles to ensure that they comply with legal standards and regulations
  • enforcing drivers’ hours and licensing requirements
  • supporting Traffic Commissioners to help them make informed decisions on operator licensing, vocational drivers and bus registration requirements
  • providing training and advice for commercial operators
  • investigating vehicle accidents, defects and recalls

VOSA media enquiries

You should contact our press office if you have a media query or you’re a journalist.

Published 11 November 2010