The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has said that modernisation of driver training is a priority and proposed changes to the Approved Driving Instructor qualification process.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Motor Schools Association in Northamptonshire, chief executive Rosemary Thew ruled out the idea of a cap on the Register of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs).
She said: “We will not place a cap on the number of ADIs joining the register even though we know it is what many instructors want.”
She continued: “We want to raise standards within the industry from pre-entry to check-test, but we also want to reduce the regulatory burden.”
She went on to discuss the current consultation process, in particular the possibility of charging for the check-test, advising that it “would be in line with the Government’s ‘user pays’ initiative”.
The new check-test intends to be a standard-based check and would stop the practice of allowing an examiner playing the role of a pupil.
Thew continued: “We want to see the pupil learning and to see the ADI spotting, rectifying and remedying driver errors. It is a risk-spotting exercise that aims to create good, respectful and safe drivers.”
Discussing Continuing Professional Development (CPD), which has been on the reform agenda for some time, Thew said that rather than a mandatory approach, she wanted to “encourage ADIs to show commitment” towards CPD, believing that the current test of continued fitness to give instruction performs an adequate part of that job.
The DSA also believes that compulsory CPD would put an excessive burden on small business, which accounts for a large sector of the driving school industry.
Thew went on to discuss business partnerships and the need to bring driver testing “closer to the customer” by providing a more flexible service to candidates.
There was also a heavy focus on discussing young drivers and an emphasise that the minister was determined to improve the flow of information to parents as well as young drivers, including a series of initiatives to look at post-test training.