Guidance

Manage your MOT centre

Management systems, policies and checks you need in place at your MOT centre to make sure MOT testing is done to the right standard.

Introduction

If you’re involved in running an MOT centre, you must make sure MOT tests meet the standards set out by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

To do this, you should:

  • put management systems in place to run your business
  • check and assess MOT test standards using policies and quality checks
  • manage your MOT testers, including recruiting suitable testers and making sure they take regular training
  • maintain and monitor your premises and equipment to keep it safe
  • understand your MOT centre’s risk rating

How you manage your MOT centre

How you manage your MOT centre will depend on the size of your business and what works best for you.

This guide sets out 15 important points that you need to think about. You can use different methods from the examples given, as long as they’re effective.

If you do not meet the standards

There are penalties for failing to meet the required standards. The penalties depend on how serious the issues are.

DVSA can ban you from running an MOT centre for up to 5 years in the most serious cases of you failing to meet the required standards.


Put management systems in place

You’re responsible for putting management systems in place to manage your MOT business. To do this, you should:

  • have simple, clear and effective processes
  • keep your business information up to date
  • follow data protection rules
  • make sure that site managers have the authority to run an MOT centre effectively

1. Have simple, clear and effective processes

You need to have simple, clear and effective processes for your MOT testing business. These processes need to:

  • help your testers understand what you want them to do
  • show how your MOT centre complies with the testing standards
  • show how you manage your MOT centre and your testers

Your processes must follow DVSA policies set out in the MOT testing guide.

2. Keep your business information up to date

Check that the following information is correct in the MOT testing service:

  • your MOT centre and business (AE) details
  • your limited company director details (sometimes called the authorised examiner principals or ‘AEPs’)
  • your authorised examiner designated manager or ‘AEDM’ details (the person responsible for MOT testing in your business)
  • your site manager details

Correct any wrong information

Correct any wrong contact details, email addresses or telephone numbers in the MOT testing service.

Fill in a form to make changes to your MOT centre to correct any other details that are wrong.

Display your VT9 certificate

You must display your current ‘authorisation of examiner’ certificate (VT9) on your public noticeboard, along with the current MOT test fees and appeals information poster (VT9A).

Contact DVSA to replace your VT9 certificate if it’s been lost or damaged.

DVSA customer service centre
Telephone: 0300 123 9000 (select option 1)
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

3. Follow data protection rules

You must follow rules on data protection if you store or use personal information. This applies to information kept on staff and customers.

Find out about data protection and your business.

You could be given a heavy fine or made to pay compensation if you misuse personal data.

4. Employ site managers

You need to give someone the responsibility for the day-to-day running of a centre. This person is usually called a site manager.

You need at least one site manager per site, but you can decide to have more depending on the size of your business.

They must:

  • understand what they’re being asked to do
  • know what they’re responsible for
  • have a good knowledge of MOT testing standards
  • have the right skills to manage an MOT centre and testers

Check and manage MOT test standards

You’re responsible for managing MOT test standards (quality control) at all your MOT centres. To do this, you should:

  • have clear MOT test policies in place
  • use MOT test quality information to monitor standards
  • check samples of MOTs done by your testers

5. Have clear MOT test policies in place

You need to have policies in place to reduce the risk of MOT tests not meeting the required standard.

Your policies should cover things such as:

  • whether you allow your MOT testers to test their family and friends’ vehicles, and if you do, how you’ll manage the risk to make sure those tests are done to the right standard
  • vehicles not being tested without the authority of the AE designated manager
  • how customers can complain, and how you deal with the complaints
  • what happens if problems with test standards are found

It’s a good idea to write your policies down, particularly if you have 5 or more people working for you involved in MOT testing. However, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your business.

Dealing with testing standards problems

You need to have a policy in place to deal with testing standards problems.

Your policy should help your testers to improve and support their training needs.

The policy needs to include disciplinary action you will take depending on:

  • how serious the problem is
  • if it’s a repeated issue that shows no improvement
  • if they’ve committed fraud

Record the details of any problems you find and what actions you take to stop them happening again.

6. Use MOT test quality information

Test quality information is data about the MOT tests that your testers have carried out. Use it as a starting point to monitor their standards of testing.

There are 2 types of information that you can get from the MOT testing service:

  • MOT test quality information - a summary of failure rates at your sites
  • MOT test logs - a record of every MOT test carried out at your sites

Find out how to use MOT test quality information.

7. Check a sample of MOTs

You need a process in place to check a sample of MOTs to make sure:

  • the correct routines and procedures have been followed
  • the correct standards have been applied

You can either:

  • use a third party to check both the MOT test standards and management of your MOT centre
  • choose an experienced MOT tester to carry out assurance checks
  • give each MOT tester responsibility for carrying out assurance checks on a rota basis
  • partner with other MOT centres to carry out assurance checks on each others’ centres

Whichever option you choose, make sure all testers have their tests checked by someone else.

When to do the checks

Check at least one MOT test from each tester every 2 months.

When you decide how often to do checks you should consider:

  • the tester’s experience
  • how many tests they do each day
  • if any issues have been identified with their testing standards

Example You could consider doing more checks if a tester does more than 3 tests a day, or if a tester does not have a lot of experience.

What the checks should include

The person doing the check should either:

  • closely watch how the tester carries out all parts of the test
  • re-examine the vehicle using the correct testing standards

They should then:

  • discuss any differences in the test result or in the observation of defects
  • agree on any corrections

The tester can then enter the test result on the MOT testing service.

Record the results of checks

Record the result of quality checks and what corrections were made, including any:

  • agreed actions to take
  • additional training needs

Review your quality assurance process

Review your process regularly to check if it’s working. Make changes to it if it’s not.

A good process will find things that are wrong. It’s unlikely that your process is working effectively if you never find anything wrong.

If you use an MOT consultant

You can assign the authorised examiner consultant (AEC) role in the MOT testing service to consultants you use. These are people outside your business who provide advice on MOT standards and running your centre. Do this on the AE details page.

This lets the consultant view:

  • test quality information
  • test logs
  • tester annual assessment certificates
  • site review outcomes

They cannot carry out any other actions, such as buying slots, starting tests or assign roles.


Manage your MOT testers

You’re responsible for managing your MOT testers at all your MOT centres. To do this, you should:

  • check new staff are eligible and meet the standards
  • make sure testers do their training and assessments
  • carry out security checks to make sure testers are following security rules

8. Check new staff are eligible to be testers and meet the standards

When you employ someone, check they’re eligible to be a tester and that they can test to the correct standards.

The checks you need to do depend on whether they’re new to MOT testing or not.

Someone new to MOT testing

Check that the person knows how to become an MOT tester or is in the process of qualifying.

When they’ve qualified, check that their MOT tests are done to the right standards by:

  • supervising some of their tests
  • checking a sample of their MOT tests more frequently during their first few months
  • providing coaching and training

An existing MOT tester

When you employ a permanent tester or temporary tester (sometimes called a freelancer or contractor), check that they’re currently qualified to be a tester in the right vehicle classes.

You should check that they:

  • completed the previous year’s annual training and assessment
  • are currently active in the MOT testing service (so you know they have not been suspended)
  • hold a valid driving licence for the class of vehicle they are testing

You can also:

  • supervise some of their tests
  • check a sample of their MOT tests more frequently during their first few months
  • review their previous test history in the MOT testing service

9. Make sure testers do their training and assessments

You and your testers must keep up to date with training and assessments, updates and changes to DVSA testing policies.

Mandatory training and assessment

Your MOT testers must complete their annual training and assessment by 31 March each year.

Make sure they have:

  • done the training and kept a record of it
  • taken and passed the assessment
  • recorded the assessment result

Ongoing training and checks

You need to:

  • carry out regular quality checks on your testers throughout the year
  • identify your testers’ development needs and provide the training they need
  • make testers aware of special notices and the Matters of Testing blog posts
  • encourage testers to learn from one another to help them improve their testing standards

10. Carry out security checks

Carry out regular checks to make sure MOT testers:

  • have not written their MOT testing service password anywhere
  • have a working MOT security card
  • always sign out of the MOT testing service when they’ve finished

Unassign testers from your MOT centre as soon as they stop working for you. This will stop them from carrying out unauthorised tests registered to your centre.


Monitor and maintain your premises and equipment

You’re responsible for managing your site and MOT equipment. To do this, you should:

  • record information about your equipment
  • keep your site safe, clean and meeting the standards
  • apply to make changes to your site and equipment when needed

11. Record information about your equipment

Record information about:

  • equipment calibration - you need to keep calibration certificates
  • times when equipment needs calibrating
  • repairs made to equipment
  • when equipment maintenance will take place to keep it in good working order
  • your process of what to do if something breaks, and how you make sure your staff know what they should do

12. Keep your site safe, clean and meeting the standards

You need to:

The Health and Safety Executive produces extra guidance for the motor vehicle industry, which covers MOT testing.

You can be given a prison sentence of up to 2 years and an unlimited fine for serious health and safety offences.

13. Apply to make changes to your site and equipment

You must apply to DVSA if you want to make physical changes to your site (including the layout).

This includes:

  • being able to test more vehicle classes
  • replacing or modifying fixed equipment that will change the approved dimensions or layout of your centre
  • changing the building or the layout of equipment

‘Like for like’ changes to fixed test equipment

You must tell DVSA about any ‘like for like’ changes to fixed test equipment.

  1. Go to the site’s page in the MOT testing service.

  2. Select Change testing equipment and add the details.

  3. Install and start using the equipment.

  4. DVSA will check the changes during the next site review.

You might not be given approval if the changes do not meet the requirements.


Understand your MOT centre’s risk rating

You’re responsible for managing your MOT centres’ risk ratings. To do this, you should:

  • monitor your risk ratings in the MOT testing service
  • fix any problems picked up at DVSA site reviews

14. Monitor your risk rating

DVSA uses a system to calculate the potential risk of every MOT tester and centre not meeting the required standards. This is called a risk rating.

If you have a high-risk rating it does not automatically mean anything’s wrong with your testing standard. You should check your processes and systems are working correctly and make changes if they are not.

You and your testers should regularly review this data. Look into any unusual differences, investigate any issues and record the outcome.

There are 3 risk ratings - red, amber and green. The ratings are the same for testers and centres.

Risk rating Type of risk What to do
Red Higher risk You must look into the reasons you’re rated as higher risk, make sure you test to the right standard and follow all the right processes.
Amber Medium risk You should look into the reasons you’re rated as medium risk, check that you test to the right standards and follow all the right processes.
Green Lower risk You should still check that you test to the right standard and follow the right processes.

MOT tester ratings

Each MOT tester has an individual risk rating. The risk rating is calculated by comparing their individual test information against the national averages.

MOT testers can see their risk rating by going to their profile on the MOT testing service. Only MOT testers can see their individual risk rating. It’s their choice whether or not to share this information with anyone.

MOT tester risk ratings are refreshed monthly. This will pick up any changes that happened in the previous month.

MOT centre rating

An MOT centre risk rating is calculated from:

  • the testers who are testing there
  • DVSA site reviews
  • disciplinary cases for your testers and your MOT centre

MOT centre risk ratings are refreshed monthly. This will pick up any changes that happened in the previous month. For example, the risk rating will be refreshed if an MOT tester joins or leaves the MOT centre.

Use your test quality reports to check information on your testers’ results.

You can get information on test activities and incidents from the MOT testing service. Go to your business profile page and select Event history.

15. Fix any problems picked up at DVSA site reviews

DVSA will carry out a site review (previously called a ‘site assessment’) of your MOT centre at least once every 3 years.

You’ll have more regular site visits if you have a red risk rating and your testing does not appear to be at the correct standards.

DVSA does not tell you when the visit or review will happen or give you notice.

What DVSA looks at during a site review

A DVSA examiner will check that all MOT centre details are correct including details of:

  • your limited company directors (sometimes called the authorised examiner principals or ‘AEPs’)
  • your authorised examiner designated manager or ‘AEDM’ details (the person responsible for MOT testing in your business)
  • your site manager details
  • all testers listed at the site and check they still work there

The examiner will also:

  • check that your premises and equipment meet the rules
  • look at your management and quality control processes
  • look at your staff’s test standards
  • carry out a test standard check, for example, they may re-inspect a vehicle

Site review result

You’ll get a notification in the MOT testing service when DVSA has recorded the result of the site review.

The result will tell you:

  • whether the review was satisfactory, if improvement is needed, or it was unsatisfactory
  • any advice the DVSA examiner is giving
  • what to do if you need to take action to fix any problems

Fix any issues that are found as soon as possible. In some cases, you must fix them immediately, for example, if a piece of mandatory test equipment has stopped working.

If you’re given an unsatisfactory outcome you have 15 days to reply to the vehicle examiner who carried out the visit. You have to tell them what actions you’ve taken to correct any issues.

Download a poster summary of these points

You can download a poster summarising the 15 points in this guide for quick reference.

Published 8 July 2019
Last updated 17 July 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated point 5 (have clear MOT test policies in place) to make it clearer that your policies should cover whether you allow your MOT testers to test their family and friends' vehicles, and if you do, how you'll manage the risk to make sure those tests are done to the right standard.
  2. First published.