Driving examiner (United Kingdom)
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In the United Kingdom, driving examiners are civil servants employed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in Great Britain and by the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland for the purpose of conducting the practical element of driving tests.
Outside the military, haulage and private bus companies who employ delegated examiners who test their own drivers, driving examiners are the only people who are authorised to conduct driving tests and issue the certificate required for obtaining a full driving licence in the UK. Driving examiners do not conduct the theory tests as these take place in an office environment, supervised by administrative staff.
There are over 1,600 driving examiners in the UK, working at over 400 test centres.
Driving examiners may be full or part-time, conducting anything from 35 tests a week (full-time) down to 14 tests a week (the current part-time minimum). Overtime is available when there is demand, which is more or less constant in all but the quietest of locations.
Not counting trainees, there are three grades of driving examiner - Driving Examiner (DE), Local Driving Test Manager (LDTM) and Area Operations Manager (AOM). Test centres are grouped into sectors and headed by a LDTM. The AOM's head large geographical areas of test centres.
There is also one Chief Examiner for the whole country, although the chief examiner is not also the head of the DVSA, as there are also several layers of non-examiner management and executive staff employed there.
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All driving examiners start as (only) car examiners, since car tests represent by far and away the highest demand.
The most common additional vehicle tested for is the motorcycle. The current motorcycle test involves off-road testing so candidates normally have to go to a purpose built testing centre (this is under review). The DVSA tests for every vehicle that a licence can be issued for, however, so examiners exist to cover everything from the moped to large goods vehicles.
Beyond what are known as the "L" tests (ordinary driving tests for any given vehicle), driving examiners also conduct various special tests including the extended driving test for banned drivers to re-qualify, the various tests required for Approved Driving Instructors to qualify as such, and the extended test required for prospective examiners.
Recruitment, selection and training
The DVSA recruits driving examiners by national campaign as and when it needs more.
A prospective driving examiner must have held a full car licence for more than four years with no more than three penalty points on it at the time of application. If the candidate is successful at the application form stage, he/she will be asked to take an online situational judgement test; if successful here, he/she will be invited for a Role Play Assessment at Cardington. If the candidate passes this, he/she will then be invited to take an extended driving test. The driving test involves a drive over a specially chosen route of about 20 to 25 miles. It will usually involve both urban and rural areas and will include driving on a dual carriageway and motorway (if within local area). Candidates are expected to drive at a speed consistent with the road and traffic conditions and without committing any serious faults.
If the candidate passes and if there is a vacant post in a location at which he/she is able to work, then only at this stage will he/she be employed. The new examiner spends two weeks at the test centre at which he/she will be employed, then three to five weeks at one of the regional training centres, which are located around the country. This used to be within the DVSA's training and development centre in Cardington. As part of the training course, the candidate is expected to retake the theory and hazard perception tests. These are the same as the 'L'tests but with higher scores needed to pass. After that, the candidate will be given the rank of DE and assigned to a test centre.
- Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
- United Kingdom driving test
- Public and Commercial Services Union
- Public and Commercial Services Union website