Driving tests could soon be available from branches of Halfords under plans announced today by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning.
As well as using traditional driving test centres, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is looking at working with public and private sector partners to provide driving test premises in selected areas that don’t already have a local test centre.
The DSA began exploring a new approach to test delivery last year, offering tests from premises such as local authority buildings and leisure centres. In March this year the Agency announced plans to extend the scheme to 21 more locations, and invited proposals from businesses and other organisations.
The DSA has now selected Halfords plc as a preferred partner, and is also exploring partnerships with the Fire and Rescue Service and several universities. In one location the Agency also expects to sign an agreement with training company Mantra Learning Ltd.
Partners will allow the use of their premises at no cost to DSA, and tests will continue to be conducted by DSA examiners.
Penning, said: “It is vital that public services are as open and accessible as possible. This initiative is a great example of how working with partners in the public and private sectors can help to ensure that we offer people the best possible service wherever they live.
“Our aim is to provide all driving test candidates with a local service that is convenient as well as being cost effective.”
David Wild, Halfords ceo, said:“We want to help motorists wherever we can, so we look forward to working in partnership with the DSA to provide a first class service for drivers taking their tests.”
The scheme focuses on 21 locations, centred around five different areas across the country (Glasgow, Kettering, Manchester, Watford and Worcestershire). Testing from partner premises in these locations is expected to start from the autumn.
These arrangements apply to practical car tests; other types of test and theory test centres will not be affected.