Driving Standards Agency Evidence to the
Environment, Transport & Regional Affairs Committee
3.1 AIM, KEY
3.1.1 The Driving Standards Agency (DSA)
was established as an executive agency in April 1990.
3.1.2 The Agency's primary aim is to promote
road safety in Great Britain through the advancement of driving
standards, in particular by testing drivers and driving instructors
fairly and efficiently. This flows from the Department's objective
to improve health and safety by reducing risks from work activity,
travel and the environment.
"Driver" and "driving" should
be read to include motorcycle riders and riding except where the
sense requires otherwise.
DETR Framework for the Future: three-year strategy,
3.1.3 The Agency's core activities are to:
conduct the statutory driving tests
for learner car, lorry and bus drivers and for learner motorcyclists,
operate the Register of Approved
Driving Instructors (ADIs),
supervise the statutory training
scheme for learner motorcyclists, and
administer the voluntary register
of large goods vehicle driving instructors.
3.1.4 The statutory framework for the first
three activities is set out in Appendix A. The Framework
Document, published in September 2000, is attached as document
3.1.5 The Sub-committee has previously considered
the work of the Agency as part of its inquiry into Young and Newly
Qualified Drivers: Standards and Training.
The Committee's 19th Report (paragraphs 28-33
refer specifically to "Access to the driving test")
3.1.6 A rolling medium term strategy for
the Agency is published in its Corporate Plana copy of
the 1999-2003 Corporate Plan, published in 1999, is attached as
3.1.7 The Government's Road Safety Strategy
documentTomorrow's roadssafer for everyone recognised
that improvements in driver training, testing and behaviour would
offer the prospect of significant reductions in deaths and injuries,
less vehicle damage and a healthier environment for all. DSA's
role has therefore been cast more broadly to help to deliver those
3.1.8 The strategy is reflected in DSA's
core objectives, as set out in the Framework Document:
provide a centre of excellence for
driver training and driving standards, ensuring high and consistent
standards in the assessment of drivers and driving instructors
in Great Britain;
provide high quality modernised services,
based on an understanding of customer needs, working closely with
other parts of Government, particularly the Driver and Vehicle
Operator (DVO) Group, to deliver joined-up services;
improve continually the efficiency
and effectiveness of the Agency's operations in accordance with
Government policy and best business practice;
achieve the annual fee and return
on capital employed (ROCE) targets;
ensure that everyone in DSA is developed
and trained with the skills they need to achieve the Agency's
3.1.9 Working towards the core objectives
year on year, the Agency sets annual objectives that are agreed
with Ministers and are published in a Business Plan. A copy of
the Business Plan 2000-01 is attached as document DSA3.
3.1.10 The Secretary of State approves the
3.1.11 An Advisory Board is appointed by
the Secretary of State. It meets at least three times a year.
The Chief Executive attends.
3.1.12 The Agency is managed by the Chief
Executive, who has appointed key senior managers to a Corporate
Management Team to assist him. An organisation chart showing the
Agency's management structure is at Appendix B.
3.1.13 The Agency has a staff of some 1,700,
the majority of whom are driving examiners, who work from over
400 practical driving test centres across Great Britain6. Executive
and administrative staff located at five Area Offices deal with
customer service, examiner deployment and local estate management
issues. There are two call centres that deal with applications
for practical tests. The Agency's headquarters is in Nottingham.
Changes to the Driving Test
3.1.14 Since July 1996, the driving test
has consisted of two partsa theory and a practical test.
Delivery of the theory test is contracted out to the private sector.
The initial contract was with Drive Safe.The theory test was originally
paper-based, but in January 2000 DSA introduced a new IT-based
test. This test is delivered on behalf of DSA by Prometric. There
are 158 theory test centres across Great Britain. Prometric's
headquarters and theory test call centre are in Salford, Manchester.
Transition between the two contractors was achieved successfully
without any major disruption in the service provided to candidates.
Volumes of Activity
3.1.15 In 1999-2000, the Agency carried
out almost 1.18 million car tests, 102,000 motorcycle tests, 57,500
lorry and bus tests, and over 1.12 million theory tests. In the
same period, 26,420 qualifying tests were conducted, leading to
the admission of 2,264 new driving instructors onto the ADI Register
and 6,544 ADIs were check tested to ensure they continued to meet
the required instructional standards. There are some 29,000 ADIs
on the Register.
3.1.16 DSA was established as a Trading
Fund in 1997. A full description of the Agency's financial arrangements
and commitments under the terms of the Trading Fund Order is given
at Appendix C. The costs of operations are met through
fees set for individual services, which are reviewed annually.
A schedule of current fees is at AppendixD. A full financial
account is given in the Agency's Annual Report and Accountsa
copy of the 1999-2000 Report is attached as document DSA4.
3.1.17 The Agency has an annual turnover
of around £80 million. A financial summary for the years
1995-96 to 1999-2000 is given at Appendix E.
5 DETR, March 20006 Driver training and testing
are reserved matters under the devolution arrangements with the
Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. The Driver and Vehicle
Testing Agency undertake the equivalent functions in Northern
3.2.1 Targets are set for the timely and
efficient delivery of customer services, in particular for telephone
call response times and average waiting times for tests. These
targets are reviewed annually and, where appropriate, are redefined.
For example, the number of key targets for 2000-01 has been reduced
to aid clarity for customers and staff. The Agency will review
its approach to target setting again in 2001-02.
3.2.2 Performance against key targets set
in the Business Plan as reported in the Annual Report and Accounts:
|Quality and Service||
|1.percentage of candidates to be satisfied with overall level of service received
||80||99 theory 95 practical
|2.percentage of candidates to have theory test booking appointment at preferred centre within two weeks of preferred date
|3.national average waiting time for practical car test will not exceed x weeks
|4.practical test appointments will be available within 10 weeks at x per cent of permanent driving test centres
|5.DSA to keep x per cent of theory test appointments
|6.DSA to keep x per cent of practical test appointments in place 2 days prior to appointment date
|7.x per cent of incoming calls to booking centres will access call handling system without hearing engaged tone
|8.after routing through call handling x per cent of calls will be answered by a human voice in 20 seconds
|9.achieve x per cent return on capital employed
|10.average weighted fee increase no more than RPI
3.2.3 The Agency only achieved five of its nine key targets,
including a national average waiting time of under six weeks for
car practical tests. Those that were missed related to telephone
answering. The Sub-committee has severely criticised the Agency's
delivery of services during this period. That criticism has been
accepted, and the Agency has sought to make improvements.
3.2.4 In brief, the Agency experienced difficulties in
early 1999 when new IT systems were introduced and demand for
practical tests increased prior to the introduction of the enhanced
test in May that year. The IT systems proved unreliable, only
becoming fully functional in October 1999 though still not performing
sufficiently quickly or reliably to fulfil the performance target
of 99 per cent availability. The Agency has pressed the IT contract
provider to make the necessary improvements to deliver reliability
and availability, and has instigated claims for damages arising
from the system failures.
3.2.5 In addition, to reduce backlogs, extra staff were
recruited to conduct tests and to handle test applications.
3.2.6 The continuing problems with the booking system
meant that the Agency met only four of its nine key targets during
this period. But service delivery did improve throughout the year,
with additional examiners being deployed and greater reliability
delivered from the IT systemsby January 2000 the DTCS was
performing at an acceptable level for 97 per cent of the time.
Also, call centres were opened on Saturdays, giving candidates
a wider choice of when to call to make their test application.
These measures meant that the targets were not missed by a great
margin. Efforts continued to try achieve the required levels of
service from the DTCS, details are given in Appendix F
3.2.7 Unfortunately, also that year,the target for theory
test call answering was not achieved because the number of calls
and the average call length both increased in January 2000 when
the new IT-based test was introduced.
3.2.8 In response to a report on the Agency's service
by Pannell Kerr Forster (see section 3.7, below) and in agreement
with the DSA Advisory Board and Ministers, DSA has sharpened the
focus and reduced the number of its key targets to 10. The previous
range of practical test customer satisfaction targets have been
combined and extended to all customers; and a new efficiency target
has been added. The appointment availability target has been enhanced
and continues to be monitored with the telephone response target
and all other customer service targets. The two financial targets
for the year have been set to contribute to achieve a five year
average; make a 2 per cent return on capital employed and make
no increase in fees for statutory activities during 2000-01.
3.2.9 Performance against these revised targets for the
period April-July is shown in the table below. Overall there have
been improvements compared with 1999-2000. Though the waiting
time target had not been achieved to the end of July; it was,
however, met for September. The Agency is taking steps to improve
performance in this area; some 80 additional driving examiners
have been recruited and will be deployed, following training,
from September. In addition, there is an ongoing recruitment campaign
to take on over 50 additional examiners by the end of this financial
year. It is intended to reach an average wait of five weeks before
the end of the year, to pave the way for improving the standard
of service in 2001. But the target of an overall average wait
of six weeks is unlikely to be met for the year.
3.2.10 Also, in recent months problems have arisen with
the administration of the theory test. These relate to the incorrect
marking of some test papers, and to the failure of checks and
procedures which should be undertaken to prevent underage candidates
from taking the test. Details of the problems and DSA's actions
to resolve them are given in Appendix G. It should be noted
that, despite those problems, the testing and booking IT systems
are stable and high levels of candidate satisfaction with the
theory test service continue to be recorded each month.
3.2.11 DSA did not make any fee increases for statutory
services for 2000-01.
3.2.12 Overall demand for statutory tests has been above
the planned levels for the year to August. The revised forecast
demand for car tests for the full year is now 1.22 million compared
with a planned level of 1.12 million. Similarly for motorcycle
tests the forecast annual demand is 110,000 compared to 101,000.
There is a slight shortfall in the forecast demand for lorry and
bus tests at 59,000 compared to a planned 62,000.
3.2.13 The differences shown in the table below for the
planned, current and forecast return on capital employed (ROCE)
target are a function of the additional fee revenues received
in respect of this increased demand. This figure is very volatile
because the surplus DSA plans for is quite small compared to the
Agency's turnover; a slight change in levels of activity will
have a proportionately larger effect on ROCE. For example, a 1
per cent increase in turnover could lead to a £400,000 increase
in profit and a 100 per cent increase in ROCE. Although the ROCE
for the year to date is high, the final outturn figure will be
considerably less due to the seasonal downturn in demand during
the winter months, and the Agency's pay award, which when made
will be effective from August.
|Performance against key targets: April-July
|Effiency and Finance|
|FinanceReturn on Capital Employed in year
|Efficiencyaverage examiner utilisation (80%)
|85% of all PT customers satisfied with level of service
|85% of all TT customers satisfied with level of service
|Theory test preferred test date/centre within 2 weeks (95%)
|Practical test national average for cars (6 weeks)
|Keep 99.5% of all theory test appointments
|Keep 99.5% of prac test appts in place 2 days prior
|after routing through call handling 90% of calls to TT booking offices answered in 20 seconds
|after routing through call handling 90% of calls to PT booking offices answered in 20 seconds
3.3 IMPROVEMENTS IN
3.3.1 DSA was one of the first recipients of the Charter
Mark in 1992, which rewards and encourages excellence in public
service. Although that award was not retained in 1995, the Agency
was successful in regaining the award in 1997. The Agency has
recently submitted an application to renew its Charter Mark in
3.3.2 The Agency meets the needs of a range of customers:
approved training bodies who provide the statutory
training course for learner riders;
pupils, and their parents, who receive the Agency's
Schools Programme of pre-driver education;
those persons who accompany learner drivers; and
the general public who benefit from safer roads.
3.3.3 The Agency seeks to ensure that all its customers
receive a prompt, efficient, fair and courteous service. Service
standards are explained in a leaflet available to customers (document
DSA5). Despite the recent poor performance of the Agency's
booking systems, overall customer satisfaction has remained high
practical driving test candidate satisfaction levels have increased
from 82 per cent in 1997 to 95 per cent, and theory test candidate
satisfaction levels reached 99 per cent, in 1999-2000.
3.3.4 Recent innovations to enhance the delivery of a
good service to customers include the introduction of national
telephone numbers for theory and driving test bookings, minicom
users and Welsh language speakers. All correspondence is dealt
with by a named member of staff and customers can make enquiries
and complaints by e-mail. DSA has a clear and simple complaints
procedure and has an Independent Complaints Adviser to review
customers' complaints that cannot be resolved to their satisfaction
by the Agency.
3.3.5 Dedicated customer service units in the Agency's
headquarters and Area Offices deal with enquiries and complaints.
This provides the public with a focused contact point, and enables
the Agency to deal more efficiently with correspondence. The Customer
Services Manager reports directly to the Chief Executive. Staff
are trained in customer care and their performance is appraised
through the annual staff reporting system.
3.3.6 DSA works with relevant experts when developing
new services to ensure that minority interests and candidates
with special needs are catered for. In particular, the advent
of the IT-based theory test has enabled the Agency to provide
the test translated into 15 non-English languages, an audio track
to accompany the test for those with reading difficulties, plus
on-screen signing for deaf candidates. The main advantage stemming
from the IT-basis of the new theory test is that all candidates
receive their result on the same day that they take the test.
3.3.7 One of the key commitments of the Modernising Government
agenda is to make it easier for people to get access to public
services. The Agency is committed to reviewing its services against
the Cabinet Office criteria and identifying areas for improvement.
For example, DSA is reviewing its office hours. Research undertaken
by the DVO group and the People's Panel suggests that although
customers would like to see longer opening hours, they do not
favour 24 hour access, seven days a week. These results will inform
the Agency's review process.
3.3.8 The Modernising Government White Paper contained
a commitment to provide citizens with the option of booking driving
and theory tests online by 20027. Plans are underway to utilise
the Government portal to deliver online access to the Driving
Charter. In addition, DSA is exploring delivery channels for online
booking, initially of theory tests. This will be a key development,
increasing the methods by which a test could be booked and improving
the speed of the transaction.
3.3.9 The Government is committed to providing public
services that respond to users' needs rather than being arranged
for the providers' convenience, whilst maintaining and improving
upon quality and efficiency. In keeping with this approach, DSA
undertakes regular customer satisfaction surveys and hosts local
and national customer focus groups. These are used to monitor
satisfaction with existing services and to seek views on possible
3.3.10 Customers are advised of service developments
and policy changes through the Agency's various publications,
its magazine for instructors and road safety interestsDespatch,
its website and by notices in test centres.
3.4 IMPACT OF
SHARED DVO APPROACH
3.4.1 The Driver and Vehicle Operator Group (DVO) was
established in January 1999 to improve co-ordination and delivery
of joined-up services to drivers, vehicle owners, operators and
other customers, whilst improving road safety and the environment,
and enhancing customer protection. The Chief Executive sits on
the DVO strategy board and has also seconded a senior manager
to the Task Force.
3.4.2 DSA is active in helping to deliver several of
the key DVO projects including providing clearer information and
easier access to all our customers through linked websites and
call centres, as well as publishing guides to services responding
to customers' life episodes, such as learning to drive a car.
The specific projects on which DSA has made a leading contribution
managing initial market research into the way
services were currently supplied to the public by the individual
DVO Agencies, and how a more co-ordinated, "joined-up"
approach might lead to improvements;
setting up the "Driving and Vehicles"
page for inclusion in public telephone directories, which lists
the relevant contact numbers for the DVO agencies. This will provide
customers with a "life episode" method to find the number
exploiting the Agency's publications expertise
in producing a book and website to give advice on "Owning
a car"; and
with DVLA, to develop a proposal for the automatic
issue of a full driving licence following a successful driving
test. This project has resources committed from the Capital Modernisation
Fund, and if successful will also improve the collection of data
about candidates' performance during the test, which will inform
further measures to improve road safety.
3.4.3 Other DVO activities where DSA has made, or is
making, a substantial contribution include:
preparing the Learning to Drive "life
event" on UKonline; and
producing a video for new drivers entitled "Licensed
to Drive", which will explain the challenges facing them
in terms of developing their driving skills, in purchasing and
maintaining a vehicle, and in ensuring that they have the correct
insurance and other necessary documentation.
3.5 MODERNISING THE
3.5.1 The Agency has fully embraced the Modernising Government
agenda. A Modernising Government Action Plan has been created,
copy at Appendix H. Staff were involved through a series
of conferences held during Spring 2000. The Plan covers the full
range of DSA activity, but the four main areas of concentration
are: better business planning, staff development and training,
developing a better deal for staff, including reward, and improving
3.5.2 Better business planning was one of the key areas
for action identified in the "Civil Service for the 21st
Century" programme. Better business planning should ultimately
lead to the cultural change needed to create a more shared sense
of purpose and values.
3.5.3 DSA has adopted a cross-governmental approach to
business planning to ensure that individual services are linked
or merged, as thought appropriate. This is being addressed through
many different channels, including:
closer planning with our DVO and DETR counterparts;
considering policy decisions in the wider context,
eg DETR, DVO;
promoting development and delivery of joined up
services to the customers of the DVO Group;
business process re-engineering reviews;
better quality service reviews;
benchmarking with other organisations and sharing
best practice; and
using evidence and research in policymaking and
better focus on long term goals to achieve more realistic planning.
3.5.4 In recognition of its importance, Staff Development
is now one of the five Core Objectives in the 200001 Business
Plan. In support of this, DSA has:
committed to change the training and development
culture and environment to meet the needs of staff in all disciplines.
This is to be achieved by redeveloping our Training Centre at
Cardington, and by widening the range, and raising the quality,
introduced a major Management Development Programme
via a contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers;
started development work on a programme of diversity
training for introduction as soon as possible. This will include
an element within the Management Development Programme but also
address Diversity Awareness for all;
improved initial training for Examiner Management
Grades as a result of the performance improvement project;
introduced the "Open Learning Venture"
in 1999 to promote Lifelong Learning.
A BETTER DEAL
3.5.5 The Agency has embarked on a programme of review
to ensure our terms and conditions of service reflect current
best practice. Following a thorough pay and grading review, revised
arrangements that will make staff reward systems fairer and more
effective are being developed. These are consistent with the recommendations
of the Makinson review8 and are currently the subject of negotiation.
DSA also plans for a comprehensive review of the performance management,
development and appraisal system in line with the Bichard report9.
This will take place over the next 12 months.
3.5.6 The Agency has developed a three year Diversity
Action Plan with challenging targets for 2002 (document DSA6).
This supports the aim of ensuring that the Agency has a more diverse
workforce and begins to better reflect the community we serve.
DSA has also set up a diversity Whitley sub-group, a diversity
working party and created a network of harassment advisers.
3.5.7 DSA achieved Investors in People (IiP) accreditation
in July 2000. The Assessment report recognised the progress that
the Agency had made in achieving the accreditation, citing good
practice in the Agency's training arrangements, in particular
the new Management Development Programme. The Agency has opted
for a post-recognition review in 18 months' time.
3.6 IMPROVING ROAD
3.6.1 The Government's Road Safety Strategy introduced
a new 40 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or
seriously injured in road accidents by 2010 compared with the
average for 1994-98. DSA will contribute to a 40 per cent reduction
in riders and drivers killed or seriously injured, in the age
group up to 24 years, over the same timescale.
3.6.2 To achieve these improvements, the Agency's role
is to be expanded beyond its core functions of delivering driver
testing, and of supervising driving and riding instructors. DSA's
expanded remit includes:
delivering pre-driver road safety education in
schools. DSA already has a highly commended education package
for 15-17 year olds about the driving test and the wider issues
of safe driving. funding in DETR's SR2000 will enable 1,500 visits
to schools and colleges during 2000-01 reaching 85,000 students,
to increase to 4,500 visits in 2002-03;
developing training syllabuses and logbook schemes
for different classes of learner driver;
improving the register of car driving instructors,
and developing equivalent registers for other classes of instructor;
promoting higher standards of driver training
both pre- and post-test;
assessing the standards of professional drivers
and assisting their employers to achieve high safety standards;
developing the range of publications and other
publicity material designed to promote safe driving for life;
promoting the sustainable development agenda within
providing a source of expertise and advice on
road safety policy in the field of driver training, testing and
behaviour on the road.
3.6.3 Examples of how this expanded role will be fulfilled
include the expansion of Agency's non-statutory testing of taxi
drivers, that it currently provides to local authorities, and
driver quality assessments for bus companies.
3.6.4 Progress towards achieving the overall casualty
reduction targets, including the DSA's target, will be reviewed
annually against the accident statistics produced by the Department.
The Road Safety Advisory Panel will monitor and evaluate progress
on the Strategy, with formal reviews every three years.
3.6.5 DSA reported to the Sub-committee's earlier inquiry,
that it had introduced enhanced practical tests for learner car
drivers and learner motorcyclists in May 1999. The main changes
were to lengthen the period of the test so that more driving could
be assessed and a threshold of driving faults was set. Initially
the new test saw pass rates fall to 41 per cent, but as candidates
and their instructors adjusted to the new standards, the number
of successful candidates increased. The overall pass rate for
the practical car driving test in 1999-2000 was 43.8 per cent,
compared with 45.9 per cent in 1998-99.
3.6.6 Analysis of test performance data would suggest
that very few candidates are failing purely on an accumulation
of driving faults. The extension of the driving time, which allows
examiners to test candidates on a wider variety of roads, has
had the greatest impact on pass rates. This would suggest that
candidates are inadequately prepared and find it difficult to
maintain a consistent standard. Research by the Transport Research
Laboratory into candidates' performance on test, due to report
later this year, will influence a decision whether to reduce the
driving fault threshold.
3.6.7 The Committee's earlier report signalled their
support for the introduction of a hazard perception test. In light
of research undertaken for the Department, DSA is developing a
moving-image hazard perception test for introduction in Autumn
2002. It will come after the Theory Test, but at the same testing
event, and is likely to comprise 15 moving image video clips each
lasting approximately one minute. A candidate will have to prove
competence in both the theory and the hazard perception elements
of the test to gain a pass.
3.6.8 The new Hazard Perception Test is designed to contribute
to the Road Safety Strategy targets by improving new and young
drivers' ability to perceive a hazard as it develops.
3.6.9 The Committee also expressed support for PassPlus,
the post-test training scheme for newly qualified drivers, and
recommended that more should be done to encourage new drivers
to undertake such training. Takeup of the scheme continues to
grow, though total numbers remain low. DSA, with the PassPlus
management board is considering ways to encourage further takeup.
One example of how the DVO project is having an impact, is that
the video "Licensed to Drive", which is currently
in production, will feature PassPlus. It is proposed that the
video will be distributed to all successful car test candidates.
3.7 MAJOR REVIEWS
3.7.1 In 1999, DSA commissioned Pannell Kerr Forster
(PKF) to carry out the regular five year review and evaluation
of performance required by Cabinet Office guidance, as well as
to provide advice on the future direction for the Agency.
3.7.2 PKF took evidence from ADI representatives, customer
focus groups and surveys, plus DETR, the DVO Group and DSA itself.
They commented that in the last five years DSA had undergone a
number of fundamental changes including two restructuring exercises,
the move to a Trading Fund, the introduction of the theory test,
enhancements to the practical tests, and the development and implementation
of major changes to IT systems. It was noted that DSA had consistently
met its financial targets during this time.
3.7.3 Their Report (copy at document DSA7) identified
a number of lessons that could be drawn from the problems encountered
in undertaking those changes. In particular, it recommended that
DSA should add to its IT and project management expertise, and
revisit the IT Strategy to maximise the potential for joined-up
delivery of services, exploiting the opportunities offered by
membership of the DVO Group. It also suggested that, compared
with other Agencies, DSA had a large number of targets. PKF recommended
that this number be reduced so that targets could be more easily
communicated and provide a greater focus for staff.
3.7.4 DSA has considered how these recommendations can
be taken forward. An action plan is shown at Appendix I
3.7.5 Internal Audit is currently provided by DETR, however
the provision of this service is currently under review. The Internal
Audit for 1999-2000 highlighted no major areas of concern. The
Annual Report and Accounts were unqualified and the National Audit
Office's management letter did not raise any major issues.
3.7.6 The Public Services Productivity Panel conducted
an independent assessment of customer service delivery in DSA,
DVLA and the Highways Agency. Their report in January 2000 (document
DSA8) commented on the Agency's innovative approach to funding
improvements in its services through sponsorship. In reviewing
the DSA's approach to market research, particularly customer satisfaction
surveys, the report stated that the Consumers' Association found
the surveys to be carried out in an effective way, which elicited
useful information that is acted upon. The report suggested, however,
that the response rate to such surveys might be improved by making
the questionnaire less complicated. Whilst the overall response
rate for candidate surveys exceeds the "accepted average
response rates for [postal] satisfaction surveys of 25%"
as set out in guidance issued by the Modernising Public Services
Group, the Agency is keen to improve it further. To that end,
questionnaires have been redesigned, and a prize-draw incentive
to encourage responses has been introduced.
3.8 CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
3.8.1 The Agency recognises the value of sharing best
practice, encouraged in Modernising Government, and is:
benchmarking the estate. Internal benchmarking
one driving test centre against another. External benchmarking
office accommodation across government buildings nationally via
Property Advisors for the Civil Estate (PACE), and DSA belongs
to the Occupiers Property Databank (OPD)the largest benchmarking
club in Europe;
reviewing the self assessment score measured by
the European Foundation for Quality Management Excellence Model;
implementing process improvement through process
mapping and benchmarking;
joining in Business Process Re-engineering reviews
across the DVO group; and
developing and carrying out a five year programme
of Better Quality Service Reviews.
3.8.2 DSA recognises the previous difficulties it has
encountered with introducing major IT projects. It is taking steps
to improve its expertise in managing such projects in the future.
Particular measures taken include:
appointment of an IT Director (this is in line
with the commendations of the PKF report);
re-organisation of IT functions within the Agency
and the creation of a new IT projects group to oversee and advise
on the progress of IT projects;
establishing a new IT focus specifically on IT
strategy and issues, both within DSA and DVO, and also in delivery
of the e-government agenda;
participation in a review alongside DVLA and other
DVO agencies looking for opportunities for strategic joining-up
of IT data and/or systems;
engaging in a programme of upgrade of staff skillsin
particular DSA has introduced arrangement for training on Prince
2 project management in line with the Cabinet Office report of
"Successful Projects"; and
reviewing and restructuring a number of ongoing
projects to ensure a better fit with Prince 2 principles, including
increased involvement of users in specification and ownership
3.8.3 The Agency will be producing a Procurement and
Contract Management strategy with the aim of maximising value
for money for the Agency in the purchase of goods and services
and ensuring that unnecessary transaction costs are removed from
its systems. DSA will continue to encourage professionalism and
purchasing best practice by promoting informal and formal training
opportunities. DSA will continue to work towards greater collaboration
with DVO Agencies, the Central Department and other government
departments in order to achieve volume savings through joint arrangements.
3.8.4 The Agency plans to review its staff resource utilisation.
In 1999-2000, a best practice review of supervising examiner working
arrangements was undertaken. During 2000-01, DSA will spread best
practice to achieve consistent, effective, and efficient management
of examiner resources throughout the Agency's examiner workforce.
A new monitoring system will be developed to support the development
of best practice models.
3.8.5 The Agency will also review its existing property
estate with a view to minimising the vacant space carried. A new
target to reduce 48 per cent of all vacant space, against a 1
April 2000 baseline over a five year period, has been set. This
will be achieved by handing back unused space to major occupiers
(where buildings are shared with other government departments),
relocating to smaller premises or combining driving test centres
where possible, and either disposing of the freehold interest
or returning the property to the landlord. This review will also
consider the possibilities for further sharing or co-locating
functions within the DVO group. For example, most lorry and bus
driving tests are currently conducted from Vehicle Inspectorate
3.8.6 In cases where the Agency is considering closing
or relocating a Driving Test facility outside of the immediate
vicinity, it has developed a public consultation process to enable
the strength of local feeling to be properly assessed and for
all views and options to be fully considered.
3.8.7 The consultation process is based on the Cabinet
Office advice and looks to involve local Approved Driving Instructors,
their National Associations, local MPs and members of the Scottish
and Welsh Assemblies, Local Authorities and other interested parties.
Detailed assessments of the public consultations are forwarded
to Ministers before final decisions on the future of Driving Test
Centres are made.
3.8.8 DSA will also consider the implications for the
test centres of laden testing for lorries and vehicle and trailer
combinations, and off-road testing for motorcyclists flowing from
amendments to the EC 2nd Driving Licence Directive. It is expected
these amendments will be published this Autumn.
Statutory Framework of the Agency's Work
DSA senior management structure chart
DSA financial arrangements as a Trading Fund
Schedule of fees charged for DSA services
Financial summary for years 1995-56 1999-2000
Performance of the Agency's driving test booking
Management of Prometric's theory test systems
Modernising Government Action Plan
Schedule of PKF recommendations and proposed
Document DSA1 Framework Document 2000
Document DSA2 Corporate Plan
Document DSA3 Business Plan 2000-01
Document DSA4 Annual Report and Accounts
Document DSA5 DSA Customer Charter leaflet
Document DSA6 Diversity Action Plan
Document DSA7 PKF Report
Document DSA8 PSPP Report
7 Chapter 5 of the Modernising Government White Paper, Cm
4310, March 1999.8 "Incentives for Change" by John Makinson
of the Public Services Productivity Panel (1999).9 Performance
Management: Civil Service ReformA Report to the Meeting
of Permanent Heads of Departments, Sunningdale 30 September-1