DVSA chief executive writes to all ADIs

Loveday Ryder’s letter covers DVSA communication during the pandemic, clearing the backlog of driving tests and the impact of the coronavirus on the industry.

DVSA chief executive Loveday Ryder has written to all ADIs and vocational driver trainers. In the letter she introduces herself and her professional background. The rest of the letter says:

I’m pleased we were able to share the proposed restart dates for services in England and Wales. We want to give you as much information as we can, as soon as we can, so we can help you plan to reopen your businesses and start teaching again.

We could not have done this without support and input from the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP). They gave us valuable feedback on the time needed between lessons and tests restarting. Based on this, we introduced a 10-day gap before tests restart to help make sure learners whose lessons and driving practice were disrupted by the pandemic have the opportunity to prepare for their test. 

In Scotland, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced details of the updated Strategic Framework for COVID-19 on 16 March. This included a timetable of when restrictions can start to be lifted in Scotland.

As part of this the First Minister of Scotland confirmed driving lessons could potentially restart on 26 April. We are working closely with the Scottish Government to agree restart dates for our services and will share these dates as soon as we can.

Impact of the pandemic on the driver training industry

The last 12 months have been extremely hard for everyone. And I know many of you, your families and the driving instructor community have been hit particularly hard. Some of you may have lost colleagues, be facing financial hardship or feeling isolated.

In DVSA, we’ve also lost colleagues. So it’s vital we make sure that the measures we put in place to restart testing will help keep you, your pupils and our examiners safe.

I want you to know we appreciate how difficult the past 12 months have been for you and your pupils. We’re incredibly aware of how the pandemic has impacted your businesses, lessons and pupils’ tests. We know how frustrated and disappointed your pupils feel. 

Our communications 

We know many of you felt unhappy with the way we have communicated with you during the pandemic. 

Despite our best efforts it has not always been possible to engage and communicate with you in the way we would want to. So, as part of our restart and recovery plan, we want to work with you to try and improve this.

We’ll do everything in our power to share clear information with you, as soon as we can, to keep you up-to-date on anything that will affect you, your businesses and your pupils.

I’m also really keen that you have the opportunity to:

  • Give feedback on our plans
  • Get involved in conversations with us
  • Help us develop and shape our recovery plan and our future products and services.

We will work with NASP and share more information on how you can get involved at a later date.

Recovery plan

There are currently 420,000 car tests in the backlog and the national average waiting time for a driving test is 17 weeks.  

We know this will pose challenges for everyone in the coming weeks.

We’ll do all we can to reduce the backlog safely and as quickly as possible to help the driver training industry recover. We plan to do this by testing as many people as we can, as soon as we can.

To help us do this, we’ve already run a successful recruitment campaign for driving examiners. We received over 5,000 applications and are now in the process of reviewing these applications and setting up interviews.

But this is only one of the actions we are taking to reduce the backlog. 

We’ve started to share our outline plans with NASP to get their feedback and views. We’ll share these plans with you as soon as we can.

Encouraging learners to pass first time

We also planning to run a campaign to encourage learners to take their test only when they are confident they can pass. This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the backlog of tests. 

You can help us by identifying your pupils who are ready for their test and those who need more support and practice. 

I hope you will support our efforts and work with us to make this campaign a success. 

We will share more information with you about the campaign after we’ve been able to confirm the restart dates in England, Scotland and Wales.

Keeping you updated

There are challenging times ahead for all of us. By working together, we can help to reduce the backlog, help your industry recover and help people stay safe on Britain’s roads.

We’ll share your feedback on our full recovery plan with you as soon as we’re able to.

I’ll write to you again after we’ve been able to confirm the restart dates in England, Scotland and Wales. To give you more information to help you and pupils prepare for the restart of lessons and tests.

9 thoughts on “DVSA chief executive writes to all ADIs”

  1. Encouraging learners to pass first time, that’s a new one on me, I don’t think there’s a instructor in the UK who worked prefer their students to pass on their 5th go !!.
    I always do my best to make sure their ready for their test but alot suffer from nerves , I remember one who was a natural and took 5 goes, nerves.


    I have just had a pupil contact me with her new test date, 17 AUGUST, originally late December cancelled, moved to end-March, obviously cancelled . Last year the DVSA seemed to have judged tests about right by moving them on block. are they no longer doing this as their is nothing in the statement?

  3. This is just the normal rubbish I expected, They treat and act like we are thick, and feedback to them will be filed in the shredder, 35 years to my knowledge they have said the same in different formats

  4. Clive Millar

    And I don’t think anything will change. When I first received this communication, from an incredibly named Loveday Ryder, I did think it was a hoax! There is nothing in Ms Ryder’s CV. re the driving profession . I expect much of the same, with little meaningful communication. Hope I’m wrong.

  5. A lot of words that don’t actually say anything. It’s worrying that the DVSA have our contact details, yet don’t know how to communicate with us. They speak with NASP, who also don’t communicate with driving instructors.

    I’ll wait to see what action is done before I get too excited.

  6. Mr Joseph Owusu

    We are looking forward to start teaching our pupils and to help them to prepare them for their driving test thanks

  7. Absolutely agree…. I only take pupils that should pass first time, but that doesn’t mean they do. Some of your best pupils can fail first time. Been doing the job 33 years and gave up predicting long ago.
    I regularly do mock tests and several of them before they take their test.
    While I’m here …. can I say ….let’s get tougher on the so called drivers already on the roads, as an instructor I fear for my pupils safety , far too many rule breakers out there, and as much as you try and warn your pupils and teach defensive driving they are still naive at the end of the day.
    Let’s do hefty fines…. in fact let’s just catch them and get them off the roads and make everyone’s life better.

  8. Leroy Francis

    Sounds like someone from outside the industry has moved into the top slot and is touching base with the workers who are already there. I hope this person listens to the people who have a life long experience and love of there work and makes use of their knowledge. I really hope this goes better than when outsiders got hold of AA Driving school.

  9. doing all they can ? so no overtime allowed! no communication, DVSA chief says 10,000 motorcycle tests outstanding I run a company that has 2 employees I have 163 tests outstanding going back to March 2020 still to sort and 340 people on a database. do the maths please based on that assumption alone, way off . And not 1 test avail for the entire opening period I am looking at test centres 150 miles away to try and help people get moving again

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