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What we’re working on: better data sharing and reviewing paper documents across the MOT

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Horror stories, MOT Modernisation, MOT testing service, News and updates

MOT tester inspecting under carFor this blog post, I wanted to update you on how we’re sharing our data and what we’re using it for to improve road safety, alongside further updates and improvements to our safety recalls service. We’ll also go into more detail about going paperless and what this might mean for you. 

Sharing our data with partners 

Our aim is to make our data as open and as accessible as possible to improve road safety and MOT compliance. 

We are in the process of updating our bulk data service called trade API so that it enables us to transfer our data faster to our users. The current trade API  was never designed for the volumes of users it has and the success of our open data policy means it needs to be re-engineered to cope with user demand. 

There are a number of different versions of the API and these will be amalgamated into one so that all the features are available for all users. 

Furthermore, the new API will provide us with a platform to share different data in bulk such as test logs and test quality information but this will be a future piece of work. 

Cracking down on those without an MOT 

One of the key users of our data are the police. We have been supporting them on Operation Tutelage - which was originally set up to crack down on insurance evasion however they have also started to focus on those without a valid MOT. 

If the police find a vehicle driving on the road without an MOT, and they aren’t taking their vehicle for an MOT, they will send the motorist a nudge letter reminding them to get their vehicle tested. If this is ignored, they may be stopped by the police and be subject to a fine.  

We hope sharing this data will make it easier to crackdown on those who try and drive without a valid MOT. This will have the benefit of improving MOT compliance and improve the volume of tests you conduct. 

Continuing to improve our safety recalls service

MOT tester searching on a computer on the MOT testing service

Last month we announced some new improvements being made to make it easier for customers to see if they’ve got a safety recall on their vehicle. Working alongside vehicle manufacturers, we now have access to real-time data which means we can further improve our digital services.  

Changes to the MOT certificate and the MOT testing service (MTS) were introduced in July. This means that when motorists now receive their MOT certificate, it will also notify them of any outstanding safety recalls on their vehicle. The changes to MTS means you will get prompted when performing the MOT if the vehicle has an outstanding safety recall.  

Digital service improvements 

We’re updating the Check MOT history service so that a ‘pop up’ interrupt screen will show when someone enters the reg plate of a vehicle we know has an outstanding recall. Bringing this information to the forefront, rather than letting customers search themselves, should make it easier to stay safe and identify if the vehicle has an outstanding recall. 

We’re also improving the MOT reminder service, which provides motorists with an automatic reminder to tell them when their MOT is due. When we send the MOT prompt via text or email, we will also now alert users if their vehicle has an outstanding recall. 

Since bringing in the change to MTS and MOT certificates, we’d be interested to know how you’ve found this change, and whether it’s prompted more discussions about safety recalls with your customers.

Going paperless

We’ve been clear within our strategy and vision that over the next year, we want to massively reduce the amount of paper we use across the agency, and within our service. Part of this includes plans to provide a digital by default option for the MOT certificate.  

Moving to a digital MOT record will reduce the amount of paper used which is beneficial to the environment whilst also making it easier for customers to access their vehicle records and view the results, if they need to view the certificate they can. We are keen to devalue the certificate and encourage people to use our digital services to reduce paper and fraud. 

User research with customers 

Before we make any changes to the current process, we need to understand exactly how people use their certificate, why they think they need it and how they use the MOT history service – which is where a digital copy of the certificate is already stored.  

We’ve been carrying out user research with motorists, observing how they use the MOT history service and any barriers they face in accessing their digital certificate. The good news is that MOT history has performed well with participants, and we’re confident that with some small improvements the service is in the right place to help us move forward with digital certificates.

A review of paper across the MOT

To make moving to a digital certificate as easy as possible, we want to review our use of paper across the MOT scheme. We’re carrying out a review at the minute of all the paper we ask you to print, or store hard copies of, to see what is still needed and what can be done digitally.  

If there’s anything you think should be changed, or kept as paper, please let me know in the comments as I'd been keen to hear your thoughts. 

Digitising the training log

A big piece of work we’ve been looking into recently, linked to the paperless review, is the MOT training log. Currently, training logs are recorded in many ways across different sites. With no one standardised way to complete them and no centralised way to view them, it can be difficult for testers and AEs to stay on top of training logs. 

We’ve been carrying out research at several garages over the past few months to get a better understanding of how you store and use paper training logs. We've also been getting your thoughts on a digital version of your training log – from how it will work, to how long it takes to fill in and where it should be accessed on MTS. 

We'll let you know more about how this piece of work progresses, and when you can start expecting to use a digital record of your training. 

Making training relevant

Something that came up when we were testing the digital training logs were questions around the purpose of annual training and what is covered. I thought it might be useful to explain why we choose certain topics – but also to remind you that we want training to be as beneficial as possible. 

The topics are chosen through a combination of feedback from awarding organisations, vehicle examiners, training providers, and more. This is to ensure we’re providing the best possible training that is beneficial to you. The subjects are chosen for testers to find the information they need that will assist and help with the areas we have identified that there are problems with. 

Alongside the chosen topics, if you know from your test quality information that there’s a certain area highlighted on, it makes sense to look at this as part of your training for the year. That way you get the most benefit from doing the training, and it’s really relevant to the areas you might need more help on. 

We want your shocking MOT stories!

Finally, as it gets closer to Autumn, it’s important that we make our customers aware of how to use and look after their vehicles properly in the darker months. We’d love to hear some of the shocking things you’ve found on vehicles to raise awareness of avoidable mistakes when it comes to keeping a vehicle safe to drive on Britain’s roads. Please send us your photos and a brief of explanation of what was found to, We’ll be sharing these in a blog post over the next few months and on social media.

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  1. Comment by Nigel posted on

    I see that nobody has mentioned the recent events with the airline industry, whereby a SIMPLE clitch can cause so much of an issue, so surely we need a back-up system, which would obviosly be a paper trail. I understand technology has to move on, however the motor repair industry is still way behind other industries. I believe we should operate on a level which can benefit all rather than those who were taught computer based education. If you want to go computerised then surely why not put the MOT fee on line, then I am quite sure you will have a lot more happy vehicle test stations.(one fee for all).

  2. Comment by tom posted on

    Can you confirm if connected emission equipment use negates the need to retain mot emission data ether printed or electronic ?presumably this information can be retrieved by dvsa staff as needed?

  3. Comment by Paul posted on

    Two things;
    Firstly I agree with one of the other comments above about keeping the paper Mot certificate for the exact same reasons that he listed.

    Secondly regarding training & the things that are covered, when are you people gonna listen to what nearly all of the testers say & bring back classroom training like we had before. I like most hate this online training & find it quite stressful when the job itself without Mot's is bad enough, it makes you consider weather its worth the hassle being a tester most of the subjects are utter rubbish & when we come to do the annual assessment the allotted time is just not enough when you consider the fact we are having to switch between the testers manual & the testing guide etc.
    Its as though you get some sort of enjoyment out of watching us struggle to do it in the time.

  4. Comment by Mara Poole posted on

    Many of our customers are elderly and when they bring their vehicles in for MOT they come armed with a folder full of paperwork relating to their car/van. They still rely on paper documents to keep up to date with what is due and when so they can organise themselves. We hand over a copy of the MOT Certificate / failure sheet at the end of each test so customers actually feel as though they are getting something (albeit some pieces of paper) for their money. As the vast majority of our customers know very little about cars (why should they) they are reassured that they can simply show the appropriate paperwork to whoever carries out their repairs without having to try and explain anything. We use the MOT documentation as part of our customer service procedure, which as a small independent MOT Testing Station helps us compete in a busy and often cut-throat environment. The customer experience is just as important to us as the MOT Test itself. Going digital for absolutely everything is not the answer.

  5. Comment by Paul posted on

    Would like the paper MOT inspection checklist sheet facility to remain, having the vehicle specific information as well as being able to make notes on it is very useful, essential when inspecting a vehicle then transferring the results onto the MTS and the tester has had a hard copy to refer back to.

  6. Comment by Ronnie posted on

    So under covid you gave every one a free mot for 6 months you should have seen the state of some car's I tested it won't get any better when you go to 2 years testing it will happen because we have not left the EU We are still following their directives

  7. Comment by john posted on

    Since computerisation many more cars are without valid mots, its because there is no visible reminder and often goes unnoticed until road tax is due.
    A windscreen reminder would help maybe a round perforated tear of disc/sticker in full view with mot and tax information is the best way forward ?

    • Replies to john>

      Comment by Neil Barlow posted on

      My guess is that cars being out of test may not primarily be because of the absence of windscreen stickers - and may be other factors, including deliberate choice of pushing out to be late (and save money). But we are doing work on trying to make this issue lessoned - and we have done quite a lot of work in making sure we do understand why this happens. So some of the answer will include (for example) the police using our data to catch those that choose not to comply, as well as educational prompts. I guess 'stickers' and the like could see a come-back - although when last tried for MOT it never worked too well!

  8. Comment by Barry Babister posted on

    ***Digitising the training log ***.

    MOT Juice has over 10,000 testers already completing a digital training log every month, not to mention a bunch of other cool stuff that they do as they train. I hope your DVSA API will allow the automated push of data into your system, and make it worthwhile.. unlike the old QC check system that was simply a box-ticking exercise

  9. Comment by Nigel Chapman (NT) posted on

    In my opinion the paper mot certificate should be kept as it assures people that do not have IT skills as in the more elderly customers

    • Replies to Nigel Chapman (NT)>

      Comment by Chris Price posted on

      Hi Nigel

      We aim to remove all the areas where the paper certificate is required, for example to tax a vehicle or to show a police officer, we have worked with those agencies so that they use the digital record. We know we have more work to do with users who struggle with IT, but we hope to can help them to get their MOT on time and ensure their vehicle is safe without the need to hold a paper certificate.

  10. Comment by Martin posted on

    All these improvements and you still have not made the mot we have to work with fit for purpose.
    If you have to ask what needs to be rectified then there is the problem.

    • Replies to Martin>

      Comment by Chris Price posted on

      Hi Martin

      I would welcome more feedback from you on what areas of the MOT or the digital services are not fit for purpose?
      We regularly speak to our users so that we can build a service that works for you, part of that process are blogs like this so we make everyone aware of the upcoming changes we are making to improve the service. Putting users first ensures we build balanced well thought through products that work for all.

      • Replies to Chris Price>

        Comment by Martin posted on

        Hello Chris
        Why are we still unable to fail one (1) shock absorber (singular) as in the mot scheme we can only fail shock absorbers (2) plural.
        Why do you insist a worn bush is now the same as
        deteriorated/bonding delaminated.
        Abbreviations used instead of the correct wording IE isn't,can't instead of is not and can not.
        Why are steering rack ends a none testable component as they have exactly the same effect on the steering as a worn track rod end but because of the wording/criteria in the mot scheme they can not be failed.
        Why were headlamp aim regulations relaxed when with the onset of LED lamps and associated dazzle problems they should have been left as they were.
        If you can supply answers to these it would be appreciated while I think of the other questions.

        • Replies to Martin>

          Comment by Chris Price posted on

          Hi Martin

          Answers below

          1.You are able to select a single shock absorber, I know the manual does state shock absorbers (plural), however when you select defective shock absorber you can then select any location either front or rear or nearside & offside.
          2.In Suspension section of the manual, information states 'Some rubber/synthetic bushes are designed to provide a comparatively high degree of compliance and are therefore likely to show some movement. You should only reject rubber or synthetic bushes when you can see serious deterioration of the bonding or flexible material.' Serious deterioration would have the same effect as worn.
          3.Language used in the manual is now common place and easier to read.
          4.Inner steering rack joints are not in themselves an MOT failure item. This is because the joint cannot be seen and the type of joint varies. Whatever type of joint it is, wear in these joints is not considered dangerous. In cases where wear in these inner joints is significant, then the vehicle is likely to have excessive free play at the steering wheel, which in itself is an MOT failure. If we compare the criteria for the outer track rod ball joints; excessive wear in these joints is a ‘major’ defect. Excessive wear is only considered to be a dangerous defect if the joint is so worn there is a serious risk of detachment. This cannot happen with wear in an inner ball joint.
          5.Modern headlamps are type approved with the flat line still being present, The aim requirements were relaxed in 2016, it did not alter the upper limit of the flat line to allow headlamps to dazzle. Information on the change can be found in our Matters of testing blog.

          • Replies to Chris Price>

            Comment by Martin posted on

            Hi Chris
            I appreciate your quick reply to my questions, to save time let us just agree to disagree.

          • Replies to Chris Price>

            Comment by Tom posted on

            Chris , Your obviously not an mot tester or mts system user .
            The failure for a single shock absorber is generated as
            "Shock absorbers has a serious fluid leak Nearside Rear"
            another example of a poor sentence and does nothing to help improve the image of mot testing.

  11. Comment by R Guy posted on

    Personally i think the annual assessment needs to be looked at in great detail and ammendments made accordingly.
    Some of the topics covered are completely ridiculous especially the administration side.

    • Replies to R Guy>

      Comment by Chris Price posted on

      Hi, we will soon be sending out a survey on training for both CPD and the annual assessment, so please look out for that and give us your views.
      However the training is designed to cover all aspects of the MOT both from inspecting the vehicle and making correct decision but also check how to effectively run and manage an MOT station, MOT testers form a key part of that which is why we test their knowledge.

  12. Comment by Tony Wood posted on

    Chris, Is anyone monitoring facebook marketplace? have found a number of adverts offering mots without the car being present.

    • Replies to Tony Wood>

      Comment by Chris Price posted on

      Hi Tony,

      Yes we are aware of this and our intelligence and enforcement teams are following up on these posts, so far we have found that most of them are scams that mean people pay money but do not get an MOT, however our counter fraud teams are digging deeper, anyone found to be selling MOT's in this way will be prosecuted.

    • Replies to Tony Wood>

      Comment by mercedes posted on

      same up here in scotland facebook / market place if someone looked at this it would not be hard too catch these dodgy mot stations/ testers out failed a volvo 2 weeks ago failed on the diesel test seen it mid week on the road still pouring out smoke but a fresh mot on it

  13. Comment by robin green posted on

    you are of course presuming that everybody will want to go onto the internet to check when their m.o.t. is due, I am assured that this is not the case, most people want a physical reminder of when their m.o,t. is due, i.e.. an m.o.t. 'certificate' whilst it may seem to make sense to people who spend most of their time on computers most of the working population due not have the time or energy to be forced to spend more of their time searching through more and more gumph on the internet

  14. Comment by James Dixon posted on

    For VTS's using connected DSM & EGA is there any plans to get rid of the paper copy of the results printout for tests that have passed the emissions? The results are stored on the machine for inspection purposes as well as the results been transferred to MTS

    • Replies to James Dixon>

      Comment by Chris Price posted on

      Hi James, we are in the process of reviewing the use and retention of paper across MOT, but yes for connected equipment and where the data is stored locally we will in the near future permit VTS's to not hold paper copies. Our vehicle examiners will still need to easily access the data either via MTS or locally on emissions machines.

      • Replies to Chris Price>

        Comment by Simon R posted on

        Unless I've missed a message/special notice about this we are already allowed to keep emission records digitally rather than a paper copy?
        The MOT testing guide under the section headed
        '5. Retention of documentation'
        States that
        Emissions records from all test results, including all BET tests, must include all relevant vehicle details. Digitally stored emissions records are acceptable if the data is readily retrievable upon request.
        This is copied and pasted from the testing guide
        If this is no longer the case please can someone from DVSA reply to this comment as we haven't kept paper copies for quite some while now?

        • Replies to Simon R>

          Comment by Chris Price posted on

          Hi Simon

          No this is all still policy and we have made no changes to that, however we know that people still do retain lots of paper, so we do plan to carry out a further review or where we use paper in the scheme.
          The question from James was about connected emissions testers and we do plan to expand the above to connected machines so that test stations do not need to retains paper copies.

          • Replies to Chris Price>

            Comment by Simon R posted on

            Hi Chris, thanks for your reply. So just to confirm if we are using a connected emissions tester we still need to print and retain a copy of the result even if the machine stores a copy on the hard drive digitally? The testing guide doesn’t mention different rules for connected and non-connected emissions equipment

        • Replies to Simon R>

          Comment by Andrew MacCreadie posted on

          My understanding is that DSM's and EGA's that store the data is an acceptable form of storage but currently the MTS is not. Although the data on MTS is retrievable by DVSA staff, at this time I don't believe that testers can access historic connected equipment data. (if it is possible then I have not seen any links in this respect)

  15. Comment by Frank Welham posted on

    When taking our annual assessment test why do the test setting bodies not tell you which question / questions you get wrong, as this is how you learn by your mistakes and are very unlikely to forget the ones you’ve got wrong again!

    • Replies to Frank Welham>

      Comment by Chris Price posted on

      Hi Frank

      The assessment follows industry standards and is the same as when you take any other test or exam.
      When you fall short during the assessment we encourage you to revise or speak to the awarding organisation you took the assessment with who will be able to help.

      • Replies to Chris Price>

        Comment by Martin posted on

        Hi Chris I have never taken an exam where you were not given an explanation of where you were wrong.
        As it is at the moment promotes frustration not understanding which is counter productive.
        DVSA seem to forget that in the early days of computerisation that we were told the system has taken into account that it will be used by people who are not computer literate.
        Perhaps you ought to make common sense a priority and not industry standards.
        You will get a better quality of tester and not testers with a grievance.

  16. Comment by David cant posted on

    In our testing station a lot of our customers are older people and they rely on the paper certificate to know when their mot expires ,going completely digital is based on the assumption that everyone has a computer or access to similar devices and to know how to navigate them ,they find a certain security in having a hard copy ….just my opinion !

  17. Comment by Andy Turbefield posted on

    Making the training record digital will provide a more consistent method for AE’s to check a tester’s learning. The sooner we implement this the better.

    • Replies to Andy Turbefield>

      Comment by Chris Price posted on

      Thanks Andy we are aiming to bring this in by the end of the year.

  18. Comment by Michael Fullbrook posted on

    I have noticed a number of ATFs passing vehicles at MOT with the RBT paperwork stating Insufficient Load on an axle. Should this be accepted, especially from a DVSA inspector?

    • Replies to Michael Fullbrook>

      Comment by Chris Price posted on

      Hi Michael

      HGVs and Trailers are normally required to be laden for the brake test, ideally 65% of their design weight. The RBT measures the imposed weight and highlights when this figure is not achieved.

      Some vehicles due to their design, construction or use may not always be able to be loaded, or achieve 65% of their design weight, in these circumstances inspectors can conduct a brake test and the printout will record the vehicle was not laden.

      • Replies to Chris Price>

        Comment by Michael Fullbrook posted on

        Hi Chris,

        Our refrigerated food delivery trucks have not been classed as exempt from laden brake tests and we have them carried out as normal during our PMIs. It seems the DVSA inspectors do not hold up to our high standards.

        • Replies to Michael Fullbrook>

          Comment by Neil Barlow posted on

          Happy to pick up via e-mail Michael. This article is about light vehicle MOT - but happy for you to drop us an e-mail on this HGV issue and we can look into. Thanks.