Time to test independent testing

Posted on: Friday, 22 March 2013 by Mike Webb

In its response to the Department for Transport's Motoring Services Strategy consultation, FTA has told Government it's time to finish what it started with the Testing Transformation Programme.

Independent or privatetesting of hgvs has been a hot topic in the industry for several years now, but for the first time in a Government document the suggestion was made that this could now be a real possibility. As well as committing to have as few government owned test stations as possible DfT's consultation on its Motoring Services Strategy also commits to exploring other options for the delivery of the annual test.

At its meeting in February, FTA's National Road Freight Council agreed that the time was now right for Government to investigate a mechanism to allow the hgv annual test to be examined by individuals not employed by VOSA or the Government. This could mean that a maintenance provider who owns an Authorised Testing Facility could get some of his staff accredited by VOSA to examine the annual test and submit the result to VOSA. Or it could even mean that an operator who performs his maintenance in-house could have staff accredited to examine the test.

Of course there remains concern over other less scrupulous operations being able to gain the ability to certify a vehicle as roadworthy, and also for a maintenance provider to be testing a vehicle that they have prepared; what we're describing as marking their own work.

FTA does not accept that the threat of losing your licence to test is so great no operator would risk it – sadly it’s not true of operator licensing for example. It is essential that an effective testing scheme is backed up by a rigorous compliance system to maintain standards and defend against the possibility of impropriety – this would ultimately become VOSA’s new role in the testing regime. We are keen to avoid comparisons with the MOT scheme; looking instead for comparisons with other, similar higher risk industries.

FTA members will be discussing how this can be achieved at its next round of Regional Freight Councils. For more information on Freight Councils and the opportunity to have your voice heard in one of the most influential trade associations in the country, click here.

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