How MOT vehicle testing stations can meet standards and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) risk assessments ensure scheme compliance and best practice.
An authorised examiner is required to ensure their vehicle testing station (VTS) meets the standards set out in the MOT testing guide and inspection manuals and ‘requirements for authorisation’ to remain compliant with the MOT scheme.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carries out risk assessments and inspections on VTSs to make sure these standards are maintained and the needs of customers are being met.
You should conduct regular checks to ensure your VTS remains compliant at all times and not wait until DVSA carries out inspections.
When carrying out risk assessments on your VTS, DVSA will look for evidence of good practice in 4 areas.
Authorised examiners (AE) are, by law, fully responsible for ensuring that MOT testing at their VTS is carried out to the required standard and in the manner instructed by DVSA. The site assessor will look for evidence that the VTS is well managed, maintained and operated - and will risk score accordingly.
Vehicle testing station
The AE’s signature on the application for MOT authorisation (VT01) acknowledges that all statutory testing must be carried out at the premises, using only the equipment and facilities specified and without avoidable distraction or interruption. The site assessor will evaluate the operation of your VTS as part of their review.
The MOT scheme specifies mandatory roles, including tester, site manager (SM) and AE. The latter is responsible for all staff and ensure they are capable of fulfilling their role. Site assessors will gauge the knowledge of both the NT and AE during their evaluation.
Part of DVSA’s remit is to ensure that the customer experiences consistency of service when visiting a VTS. DVSA will assess the processes and management that you use to keep customers fully informed about the condition of their vehicle and in ensuring that the test outcome is correct. Additionally, the customer facilities will be checked during our visit.
Alongside the risk assessment, the DVSA assessors will conduct checks to ensure your VTS is complying with key sections of the MOT testing guide, including:
- security cards
- calibration of MOT equipment
- MOT test equipment
- notice boards
- viewing areas
Before, during and after risk assessment
Before a DVSA assessment takes place, a preparation check will be carried out that includes analysis of your MOT testing service reports, satisfactory activity history and disciplinary events history.
Items noted during a preparation check will be raised and discussed during the site assessment and could include incorrect test standards, shortcomings in the MOT testing procedures, disciplinary history. and it may also cover non-test areas such as poor administration.
The actual DVSA assessment covers 4 areas - the management part of the assessment includes:
- vehicle age
- AE details
- test fee discounts
- workload management
- scheme changes
- codes of practice
The vehicle testing station (VTS) part of the assessment includes:
- workplace throughput
- workshop appearance
- workshop equipment and calibration
- garage hand tools
The employees part of the assessment includes:
- staff retention
- quality management systems
- staff training
The customers part of the assessment includes:
- customer areas
- notices and public information
- vehicle documents and hand over
The DVSA assessor will provide written recommendations and advice to the AE regarding changes or improvements.
They may also require you to inform your local DVSA office of the measures taken to put right any items of non-compliance identified. This should be done in writing within 15 working days of the report being issued.
In addition, you will need to detail how you will make sure there will be no similar cause for concern in the future.
Self-assessment is a good way to ensure your VTS is meeting DVSA standards. The self-assessment covers the same areas as DVSA’s inspection.
The underlying principle is that if VTS regularly carry out fair and honest self-assessments to identify and act upon their shortcomings then this should reduce the discovery of non-compliance during official assessments.
Areas for a self-assessment review:
- management of a VTS