May 23, 2019
I recently came across two owner-operators of MOT Vehicle Testing Stations that expressed confusion and worry over their DVSA VTS RAG Score being in the red.
They were confused about how their RAG Risk Score was calculated and worried that they were in the red and did not know how they could reduce it.
This is a common scenario and in this blog I have tried to address to following concerns that many VTS owners and managers have been expressing.
Your Risk Score is calculated from a combination of the following.
Unfortunately, it is not known the proportion of each of the elements that will be taken to make up the overall score for the VTS. It is our opinion it will be weighted towards the testers.
The testers who are testing at your VTS whose individual risk rating is calculated by comparing their test information to national averages.
The further from the national average the tester’s information is the higher the risk rating.
It is also calculated form the results of any unsatisfactory inspections or incidents.
Risk Assessment inspection by the Vehicle Examiner (VE) on behalf of the DVSA which will look for evidence of good practice in the following 4 areas
The site assessor will look for evidence that the VTS is well managed, maintained and operated – and will risk score accordingly.
The site assessor will evaluate the operation of your VTS as part of their review.
Site assessors will gauge the knowledge of both the NT and AE during their evaluation.
DVSA will assess the processes and management that you use to keep customers fully informed about the condition of their vehicle and in ensuring that the test outcome is correct. Additionally, the customer facilities will be checked during our visit.
The outcome of any unsatisfactory visits or incidents in the past that have resulted in action from the DVSA
Basically, improving your testers and VTS’s ability to deliver the correct outcome of an MOT test.
Implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) can significantly improve the management of your VTS and therefore reduce your risk score in the eyes of the DVSA.
“AE’s benefit from having a quality management system (QM) at each of their VTS’s.
The type of QM approach adopted by an AE should help to ensure that testing standards and good management practices are in place.”
DVSA – MOT Risk Reduction Guide – updated 22 Nov 2017
A QMS is a set of policies, processes and procedures required for planning, execution and improvement in the core business area of an organisation.
Essentially a method or system for ensuring that your VTS is compliant to the DVSA requirements and your staff are qualified and have the resources to deliver the correct outcome of an MOT and get more effective and efficient over time.
A QMS can help you break things down into more manageable chunks and provide structure and routine around the processes you undertake every day.
This in turn will provide you with the reassurance that things that need to get done are actually getting done.
You will have a step by step process through which you can record what happens at your VTS, decide what needs to be improved to satisfy DVSA standards, identify which elements need to change by how much and what you need to do to bring things up to standard.
Your business and staff will become more effective at delivering the correct outcome of an MOT for the client and the standards of your VTS and how it is managed will improve.
As your business is performing MOT tests it is advised that any QMS you use should cover the 6 areas as listed in this graphic.
Original Graphic sourced from the DVSA blog Matters of Testing
You should have policies on recruitment, employment and probation and, of course discipline should you find quality standards are not up to scratch.
A statement on how you hire. The guiding principles or values you apply to the recruitment process as well as the values you are looking for in a candidate.
Who does what in the recruitment process, who places the ads and where, who decides which candidates to interview and why, who conducts the interview, what is the interview scoring procedure, who makes the final decision and on which criteria is that decision based.
Clearly state what are the benchmark standards the new recruit needs to achieve and in what time period. What happens if these standards are not met? Is the new worker required to attend or complete any training or particular tasks?
Linked to disciplinary procedures for employee misconduct this is a policy specifically about quality standards not being met in the application of procedures designed to give the correct outcome of an MOT test. A statement that lays out what happens at each stage and how the procedure escalates if things don’t improve.
Ensure that all testers and staff are up to date with what your expectations and their responsibilities are. Help them to perform their job to the correct standard and keep them compliant with training and annual assessment rules.
Clearly communicate what good training looks like and make sure they know how much training needs to be done, how it needs to be recorded and what they are responsible for.
How much training do you require a tester to complete and in what time period, how should it be recorded, what is your expectation regards Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
Training undertaken through the MOT year is preferable to a complete block of training taken at one go. Where should fit into the routine for the tester.
You should have a clear set of procedures communicated so all staff have knowledge and access to their Test Logs and Test Quality Information (TQI) as well as other procedures applied in the safe and efficient running of a VTS.
General ‘house’ policies for your VTS such as health and safety including fire safety, first aid, security of the premises etc as well as access to testing guides and other essential MOT related information.
Clear procedures on how to access test logs, how often and how to make meaning of the logs themselves. What areas of improvement can be gleaned from analysis of the logs?
Similarly, for TQI. How do the testers access their TQI, how often and what conclusions can be drawn for the data leading to action to promote improvements such as extra training and coaching?
Part of the QMS should cover procedures for the maintenance and calibration of equipment and tools, how and where records are kept and what to do should a breakdown or loss occur.
It is imperative that equipment is maintained and calibrated on a regular basis across the MOT bay and within any garage.
A diary of maintenance and calibration schedules should form part of a QMS as well as a procedure for ensuring completion on time.
One place to keep all records is a sensible choice. That could be a lockable filing cabinet with clearly ladled files for each item of equipment or an electronic filing system.
Whose responsibility is it to report broken or missing items and to whom?
What should be done once the report has been made?
Who is responsible to ensure equipment is repaired or replaced?
What should be done if a vital piece of equipment is not available to the MOT test?
All these questions need to be answered and staff made aware of the policy their responsibilities.
The process of making sure everyone adheres to quality standards and the correct out come of an MOT is delivered.
It also covers security of the MOT system such as passwords and tester cards and minimising the risk of MOT fraud.
The checks on quality can be performed by an outside contractor, within your team or even through a partnership with another garage or a combination of all three.
The important things is to have the checks in place, record and analyse the results to identify areas of improvement.
A regular exercise to ensure each tester is performing the MOT test to standard and that the correct outcome of the test is assured.
Discrepancies uncovered during the QC checks should be addressed and remedial action taken. Records should be kept.
It is advised that more QC checks should be undertaken in proportion to the number of MOTs performed (once every two months for each tester completing 2 or 3 tests per day, once per month if more testes are delivered) and in cases of poor results of QC checks (even once a week if necessary) until standards pick up to the required level.
Extremely important in calculation of the Risk score for a VTS, regular site audits covering all areas of the VTS will make a huge impact on reducing risk.
A good site audit process is an honest appraisal of the condition of the VTS itself, identification with clear action points of what needs to be done to improve and follow up to ensure any remedial action recommended has actually been put in place. A site audit process is only as good as the effort and honesty that is put into it.
You must keep your data, passwords, MOT testing security card secure. You also need to ensure all the testers are aware of the need for this and how they can achieve this. Clear policies to cover data policy, password generation and storage and how to keep the security card safe and certainly not leave it lying around form and essential part of an MOT QMS
A QMS will help ensure a routine of continuous improvement becomes part of the company culture at your VTS. A process whereby all staff look for improvements in what they are doing can soon become a habit across the whole VTS which will inevitably result in a reduction of the VTS risk rating.
It will also, if each tester applies it to their own work and responsibilities, result in an improvement of their own risk score which in turn will benefit the VTS’s risk score.