Complaints procedure

You can complain to us if you're not happy with the service you've had, or appeal if you think your driving examiner didn't carry out your driving test in line with the regulations.

This information page was withdrawn on

The Driving Standards Agency was replaced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) on 1 April 2014. You can read about how to complain to DVSA.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) closed on 31 March 2014. It has been replaced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). This is the information about DSA that was published at the point that it closed. It is no longer current.

Right to appeal

You have the right to appeal if you think your driving examiner didn’t carry out your practical driving test in line with the regulations. You should appeal to:

  • a magistrates’ court if you live in England or Wales
  • a sheriff’s court if you live in Scotland

You have 6 months after your test to do this in England and Wales, and 21 days after your test in Scotland.

However, we cannot change your test result.

Complaints about theory and practical driving tests

There are 4 stages you should follow if you want to make a complaint about a theory or practical driving test.

We don’t usually consider complaints made more than 6 months after the date of your test.

Stage 1

Contact us by email, phone, or letter if you want to complain about:

  • booking your test
  • test cancellations
  • the conduct of your test
  • the result of your test
  • out-of-pocket expenses

We need to know:

  • the type of test you took, the date, time and place you took your test, and why you’re complaining
  • what outcome you’re looking for

You’ll need to include 2 of the following 3 pieces of information:

  • your driving licence number
  • your theory test pass certificate number
  • your practical test booking reference

We aim to answer complaints within 10 working days of getting them. This does not include Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays in England and Wales.

Stage 2

You can write to DSA’s Head of Corporate Correspondence if you’ve been through stage 1 and aren’t happy with the response.

Stage 3

You can write to DSA’s Chief Executive if you’ve been through stage 2 and aren’t happy with the response.

Stage 4

You can ask DSA’s Chief Executive to pass your complaint to the Independent Complaints Assessor (ICA) if you’ve been through stage 3 and aren’t happy with the response.

The ICA is:

  • independent of Department for Transport and the Driving Standards Agency
  • not a civil servant

The ICA looks at whether we have:

  • handled your complaint appropriately
  • given you a reasonable decision

It doesn’t cost you anything to have your complaint assessed by the ICA.

The ICA will need to see all the letters and emails between us. We aim to send this to them within 15 working days of you asking us to pass your complaint to them.

The ICA will decide how best to deal with your case and will then contact you.

The ICA will aim to review your case within 3 months. They’ll tell you if they expect it to take longer.

When the ICA has completed their review they’ll write to you with their findings and any recommendations they consider appropriate to both you and us. This ends their involvement with your case.

The ICA can look at complaints about:

  • bias or discrimination
  • unfair treatment
  • poor or misleading advice
  • failure to give information
  • mistakes
  • unreasonable delays
  • inappropriate staff behaviour

The ICA can’t look at complaints about:

  • government, departmental or agency policy
  • matters where only a court, tribunal or other body can decide the outcome
  • legal proceedings that have already started and will decide the outcome
  • an ongoing investigation or enquiry
  • personnel and disciplinary decisions or actions

The ICA also can’t look at any complaint that:

  • has not completed all stages of our complaints process
  • is more than 6 months old from the date of the final response from us
  • has been, or is being, investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Taking things further

You can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to look at your complaint if you’re still not happy and you’ve either:

  • had your complaint investigated by the ICA
  • asked for your complaint to be investigated by the ICA but they didn’t investigate it

Our service standards

We aim to carry out all areas of our work in a fair, independent, polite and helpful way.

Our customer promises

We have 8 customer promises. They are:

  • we will give a full response to enquiries quickly – we’ll respond to 90% of general enquiries within 10 working days
  • we will give a full response to complaints quickly – we’ll respond to 90% of complaints within 10 working days
  • we will respond to telephone calls promptly and try to resolve all enquiries at the first call
  • we will use reliable and accurate methods to measure customer satisfaction on a regular basis
  • we give you information that is clear, accurate and complete – if we don’t have all the information required, we’ll tell you when you will get the information you asked for
  • our staff are polite and friendly to you at all times and understand your needs
  • we make information about the full range of services we provide available to you, including how and when you can contact us, how our services are run and who is in charge
  • we make particular efforts to identify hard-to-reach and disadvantaged groups and individuals and have developed our services in response to their specific needs – we have policies and procedures that support the right of all customers to expect excellent levels of service

Driving test availability

Our service standard is that we will:

  • give you an appointment at you preferred theory test centre – 95% within 2 weeks of your preferred date
  • make appointments available within 9 weeks at car driving test centres in 90% of cases