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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/imformation-about-the-number-and-value-of-unfilled-practical-driving-test-slots/imformation-about-the-number-and-value-of-unfilled-practical-driving-test-slots
This is Freedom of Information request IA/00321/13.
Using the freedom of information act for only the DSA theory test which is possible as it covers ‘General right of access to information held by public authorities.’
1. Request 1
I would like to know how many tests slots were unfilled in the last calendar year for car and bike theory tests?
2. Request 2
What was the value of each test where the exam slot was left unfilled?
This information is not held. Theory test centres conduct tests not only for DSA but other clients as well and make slots available depending on demand. It is therefore not possible to say how many slots were empty purely for theory tests. As we are unable to answer question 1, we cannot calculate an answer to question 2.
4. Request 3a
The number of tests where a fee has been forfeited because the candidate has not given a clear 3 days notice?
In the 2012 calendar year, 10,150 car theory tests and 504 bike theory tests were cancelled with less than 3 days notice. Please note that this figure also includes candidates that did not turn up for their test.
5. Request 3b
Information regarding the termination of tests due to the candidate being unable to provide the correct documentation.
In line with The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 (as amended), theory test candidates must present their full driving licence before they can sit the test. The booking confirmation clearly explains:
You must bring the following with you to your test: * your valid signed GB (or Northern Ireland) photocard licence – both the photocard and paper counterpart must be presented * or, your old style valid signed GB (or Northern Ireland) paper driving licence and valid passport
It is a legal requirement to produce your licence and photographic evidence. If you do not bring these items with you, or you are late for your test, you will not be allowed to sit your test and you will lose your fee.
The reason why the test fee is forfeit is because we incur a cost in delivering the test and we still have to cover that cost even though the test does not go ahead. As a trading fund, we set our test fees at a level to cover the cost of delivery - if we were to cover the cost of the test and refund the test fee in circumstances where the candidate has not provided the correct documentation, we would have no choice but to increase test fees for all candidates.
7. Request 3c
Information regarding forfeited fees because the candidate has not given a clear 3 days cancellation notice?
In line with The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 (as amended), a candidate must give at least three clear working days’ notice to cancel or change the date of their test without forfeiting the test fee. The booking confirmation states the last date a candidate can cancel or change the date of their test.
The reason why the test fee is forfeit is because with less than three clear working days’ notice, it becomes very unlikely that we can find another candidate to use the test slot, or deploy the scheduled examiner to another test. As above, we still have to cover the cost of delivering the test even when it does not go ahead – refunding the test fee and covering the cost of delivery would lead to an increase in test fees for all candidates.
9. Request 4
Do you receive any government grants?
The vast majority (96.5%) of DSA’s income is generated by fees and charges for the services it provides. However, in 2012-13 DSA received a small amount (£6.4m) from the Department for Transport to cover the costs of some specific activities, including enforcement activities and the funding of the staff early release scheme.