Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (TEA 01)



  1.1.1  This evidence is submitted for the Select Committee inquiry into the work of the transport related executive agencies.

  1.1.2  This memorandum shows the close fit between DETR objectives and the work of the agencies. It also shows how the agencies themselves and the relationship with and between agencies plays a key role in taking forward the Modernising Government agenda.

  1.1.3  Chapters by each agency cover in turn the work of the Highways Agency (HA), Driving Standards Agency (DSA), Vehicle Inspectorate (VI),Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). A summary table on pages 6 and 7 gives an at-a-glance overview of key details.

  1.1.4  Copies of documents referred to have been passed to the Clerk to the Committee.


  1.2.1  The work of the agencies makes a major contribution to meeting and advancing four of the ten DETR group key objectives:

    —  Improve transport safety. The Road Safety Strategy (1) sets casualty reduction targets. By the year 2010 there will be a 40 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents. Over the same period there will be a 50 per cent reduction in deaths or serious injury suffered by children on our roads. Revitalising Health and Safety (2) sets targets to reduce work place accidents. Every one of the transport agencies has a direct role to play:

        —  Highways Agency investing to make roads safer;

        —  Driving Standards Agency raising levels of driver training and testing;

        —  Vehicle Inspectorate testing the safety of cars, lorries and buses;

        —  Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency enforcing driver and vehicle licensing requirements;

        —  Vehicle Certification Agency applying safety standards to new vehicle design approval.

        —  Maritime and Coastguard Agency enhance the maritime safety culture and minimise the risk of pollution at sea.

    —  Reduce traffic congestion: Transport 2010: The 10 Year Plan (3) sets the Highways Agency the challenge of reducing congestion on motorways and trunk roads through new investment to ease traffic pinch points and by provision of real-time information so road users can plan their way round trouble spots.

    —  Reduce impact of transportion the environment: The 10 Year Plan sets air quality improvement targetsfor 2010. To meet National Air Quality Strategy targets, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 per cent and move towards a 20 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The Vehicle Inspectorate oversee vehicle emission tests. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency play a part through graduated vehicle excise duty taking less tax from owners of vehicles that cause less harm to the environment. The Vehicle Certification Agency provide information about vehicle emissions on their web site. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency implement the international requirements into UK legislation and contribute to discussions on how to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from merchant ships.

    —  Provide customer focused services: A focus on setting, monitoring and meeting high standards of customer service is at the heart of the department/agency relationship. Agencies seek to learn from, meet or exceed best practice around the public service and beyond. They seek out and respond to customer views. To keep the pressure for customer service improvement alive, for example by appointing a Consumer Champion in each agency as well as in the central department. Where practical to extend the range of service in response to changing customer preference, for example e-mail access and longer opening hours. Agency managers are the experts on service delivery. Attention to customer service standards is at the heart of the department/agency relationship described below.


  1.3.1  The agencies play a key role in taking forward the Modernising Government agenda. As does the relationship between the department and the agencies.

Better Business Planning

  1.3.2  Every opportunity is taken to work together. To share knowledge and best practice. Dialogue takes place in:

    —  The Agency Management Group. The Permanent Secretary and his top management team meet agency chief executives quarterly.

    —  Sub-groups meet to discuss personnel, finance and information technology.

    —  Agency corporate plans are aligned with the departmental plan.

    —  Agencies send representatives to Consumer Champion and similar service wide initiative discussion groups.

    —  Four of the transport agency chief executives—DSA, VI, DVLA and VCA- sit on the driver and vehicle operator (DVO) strategy board. Chaired by a DETR director general, the strategy board provides focus and drive for modernised delivery and customer service throughout the agencies as a whole and on transport initiatives involves two or more agencies.

Driver and Vehicle Operator (DVO)Strategy Board

  1.3.3  The thrust of the DVO initiative is to bring about better service delivery from four of the transport agencies with an overlapping customer base.The focus is on the customer rather than provider. Alongside the Chief Executives on the Strategy Board sit two non-executive members, Ann Hemingway and Felix Dillon. The Board is supported by a small Task Force.

  1.3.4  One DVO led project has been to identify and process-map 76 transactions where a customer has to deal with more than one part of the DVO, for example the personal import of a vehicle. By changing internal procedures we can make life easier for the customer. In some cases change will take time to plan or investment will be required.

  1.3.5  The DVO initiative is an innovative example of Modernising Government. Approaching two years into this collaborative approach a review of progress is about to begin.

Performance Management

  1.3.6  Each agency is managed through key targets set by the Minister. The Minister receives advice from an advisory board discussion. Advisory boards have external appointees. The chief executive is a full member and executive directors attend. In this way the Minister receives balanced advice weighing the views of (often fee paying) customers, views on behalf of taxpayers and from the agency service provider.

  1.3.7  Once set it is the exclusive responsibility of the agency to meet targets and deliver service standards. The advisory board monitors and advises. Targets and performance are published in each agency annual report and accounts.

  1.3.8  The relationship between each agency and DETR(C) is set out in a published framework document.


1.  A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone July 1998
2.  A New Deal for Trunk RoadsJuly 1998
3.  Sustainable Distribution Strategy March 1999
4.  Tomorrow's Roads: Safer for Everyone March 2000
5.  Revitalising Health and SafetyJune 2000
6.  Transport 2010: The 10 Year Plan July 2000


  Highways Agency Driving Standards


Vehicle Inspectorate
AimContribute to sustainable development by maintaining, operating and improving the trunk road network in support of the Government's integrated transport and land use planning policies. Promote road safety in Great Britain through the advancement of driving standards, in particular by testing drivers and driving instructors fairly and efficiently. Contribute to the improvement of road safety and environmental standards by raising compliance by the road haulage, passenger transport industries and private motor vehicles with roadworthiness standards.
Annual total budget£1641 million £78.7million£69.2 million.
of which:Annual operating/running costs £85million£73 million £64.9 million
Sources of income Theory and practical test fees. Approved Driving Instructor registration fees. Payment for training publications. Minor payments from DETR(C) towards specific projects. Lorry and bus annual test fees. A portion of private vehicle MoT test fee. Payment for training courses, publications and videos. Payment from DETR(C) for enforcement services.
Funding statusVoted by Parliament (managed through gross running cost control) Trading FundTrading Fund
LocationsHQ in London. 9 area offices. HQ in Nottingham. 5 area offices. 2 call centres. 158 theory test centres. Over 400 practical test centres. HQ in Bristol. 91 testing stations nationwide. 23 area enforcement offices.
Staff numbers17071700 1808


  Driver and Vehicle

Licensing Agency

Vehicle Certification


Maritime and

Coastguard Agency

AimFacilitate road safety and general law enforcement bymaintaining registers of drivers and vehicles. Collect Vehicle Excise Duty. UK authority for ensuring vehicles and parts have been designed and constructed to meet national and internationally agreed standards of safety and environmental protection. Develop, promote and enforce high standards of marine safety.

Minimise loss of life amongst seafarers and coastal users.

Respond to maritime emergencies 24 hours a day.

Minimise risk of pollution to marine environment from ships and where pollution occurs minimise impact on UK interests.

Annual total budget£5215 million[1] £5.55 million£98.7 million
of which:Annual operating/running costs £229 million£5.4 million £44million
Sources of incomeVehicle first registration and driving licence fees. Fees from sale and transfer of cherished marks. Out-of-court settlements and court costs. Fee income from approval activity fully covers costs. Ship survey fees. Seafarers' examination and certification fees. Reimbursement for clearing offshore pollution.
Funding statusVoted by Parliament (managed through demand-financing regime) Voted by Parliament (managed through net running cost control) Voted by Parliament (managed through gross running cost control)
LocationsHQ in Swansea. 40 local offices. HQ in Bristol. Test centre inNuneaton. Sales offices in Detroit, USA and Nagoya, Japan. HQ in Southampton. 33 main stations.
Staff numbers477387 1045

1   Mostly vehicle excise duty passed to the Consolidated Fund. Back

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