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Scheme talk with Neil Barlow

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Head of MOT Scheme and Modernisation, Neil Barlow, is a man faced with many opportunities and challenges when it comes to the future of the MOT and modernising the scheme. We took the opportunity to sit down with Neil to find out a bit about him, his role, and what lies ahead.

What does your job involve?

My primary role is the Head of the MOT scheme. At the moment there is a particular focus on how we use new IT to support and modernise the scheme.

Where do you see your role taking the MOT scheme?

As we’re changing and improving our IT, we now have an opportunity to review the scheme and work out how we can improve the quality of the MOT service.

Can you tell us a bit about your career history?

I joined Department for Transport (DfT) 20 years ago as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer and have worked in a number of areas of DfT. Most recently I have been Head of Enforcement Policy for VOSA.

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently there is a lot of focus on the new IT (for 2014/15). We have a new development partner – Kainos – who have just joined us to work on developing the new software. We will be looking to get some prototypes of software out to the trade and to get some early feedback. In fact some of the trade have already been involved, which we really appreciate. This is an exciting opportunity to make sure that we have software that helps us do MOTs to the right quality. It will give garages a lot of flexibility about what type of computer they use and where they do the management work - which won’t always have to be done near to the point of test.

Lastly, what are you focusing on next?

We are also looking at the future of the scheme to make sure that we are developing IT that will work for the future as well as for now. It is challenging work, but it also offers some exciting opportunities for doing things differently. The focus here is really around making sure that the MOT is consistently at the right standard and to give the car using public the service they expect. We need to stay focussed on this in everything we do, including training, how we provide information, compliance activities, authorisations and more. It’s a big piece of work. As things develop we will work with representatives of the trade both through our existing groups and outside of them, which means we can get some robust input.

For any questions or feedback about MOT Modernisation, please email us at

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