MOT changes deadline approaches

Published:  01 May, 2018

With the updated MOT test due to go live from 20 May,  up to 4,000 garages may still be waiting for a new diesel smoke meter (DSM) or software update needed to conform to the new rules.

On 20 May, the new Roadworthiness Directive will update the MOT test. One of the most significant changes will be the stricter rules governing diesel emissions for some vehicles. This will involve testing vehicles to the manufacturer’s plate value if present, along with a lower default limit for newer vehicles. As a result, the examiner will be prompted to look for the plate value first, before using the default limits.

To conform to the new rules, garages will need to make sure their DSMs are able to test to the new limits. In most instances, this means either obtaining a software update to make existing equipment compliant, or in some cases purchasing entirely new equipment.

Speaking to Aftermarket, Garage Equipment Association (GEA) Chief Executive Dave Garratt said: “A lot of garages have been ordering updates, and a lot have been ordering new machines. There is quite a backlog as a result, and some garages who have ordered a new machine won't get it in time for 20 May. There's also some machines where the software update is only just becoming available.

“If a garage has ordered their machine or ordered their software, the majority will be ok, but there could be roughly 4,000 that may still be waiting on 20 May.  The Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) have already informed those businesses that providing they can show proof that they have ordered the machine or ordered the software update,  they will allow them to continue testing.

Dave adds: “As I speak to suppliers, they are surprising themselves that they are actually getting round quite quickly. Some always give you the worst case scenario because they don't want to over-promise.”

A list of DSMs that shows if they can be upgraded is available from the GEA website in the ‘Technical Library’ section:  www.gea.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/DSM-List-2.16.4.18.pdf

The DVSA does not believe the delays will cause significant issues. In the statement sent to garages, DVSA observed: “Although most of you are fully prepared for the changes to the MOT, some of you aren't able to upgrade the software on your equipment, or have new equipment installed, because of delays from the equipment manufacturers.”

On testing from 20 May, DVSA advised: “If you’re affected by the delay, you'll still be able to continue testing from 20 May 2018.We'll be issuing a workaround procedure for anyone affected soon, to explain the equipment models that it applies to and details of the procedures.

“If you haven’t contacted your manufacturer to arrange an upgrade or order new equipment, it’s important that you do. The workaround will only be usable for the equipment or software affected by the manufacturer’s delay.”

DVSA MOT Service Manager Neil Barlow added: “We are working with garages to ensure the new MOT tests can continue as normal when they are introduced on 20 May.”

Other changes include the phasing in of a new MOT certificate, new items to be checked during the test, and changes to the way defects are categorised. Meanwhile, cars over 40 years old are being exempted from the test.

Apart from the need to update equipment, the changes will mean that MOT testers need to undertake training as a matter of urgency, perhaps bringing it forward.

Stuart James, Director of the Independent Garage Association (IGA)  observed  “The changes brought about by EU Directive 2014/45 which introduces the ‘Categorisation of Defects’ as part of a new MOT Testing Manual as well as changes to the emission testing of diesels will present a number of challenges for MOT stations.

Stuart concludes: “As a result, we join with the DVSA in urging testers to consider taking their 2018/19 Annual Training and Assessment early this year to ensure that they are prepared for the very significant changes which come into force on 20 May.” [ends]

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  • Quality street  

    The MOT has gone through change over the past few years. There have been changes in the way the MOT tester and the MOT Centre Manager become eligible to operate a Vehicle Testing Station (VTS) through the qualifications that are available through various national and local training organisations,  through to the MOT tester having to manage their own Annual Training and the Annual Assessment.

    In combination with the revised MOT Inspection Manual (aligning to the European Directive) being implemented during May 2018, some confusion may exist in this ever changing sector.

    The VTS has several people roles that exist, one major role; the Authorised Examiner (AE) or Authorised Examiner Designated Manager (AEDM) being the person having the ultimate responsibility within the business.

    A new VTS and those  changing their approved status will need an AE/AEDM to hold the Level 3 Award in MOT Test Centre Management prior to the VTS becoming approved by DVSA. Most training providers will deliver the MOT Centre Manager qualification. Part of the qualification is that the person understands how to operate a Quality Management System (QMS) for the purposes of the VTS. This has been identified as an area that most people struggle with within the qualification.

    To implement an effective QMS program, the business must initially internally agree the standards that they set. The results are then collected and reported into the QMS. Any problem should have a corrective action. This should be written with an indication the people responsible to carry out the action along with a completion date. If the same problem repeats, then a plan should be developed to improve the situation, and put into action.

    The following highlights a few areas that where the QMS needs to focus.

    Training
    The AE should ensure all staff (employees and contractors) fully understand their responsibilities. This enables them to carry out their job accurately and remain compliant with the necessary requirements.

    The MOT tester should ensure that they meet the requirements of the MOT tester Annual Training and Annual Assessment. This year the annual training includes updating their knowledge of the MOT Inspection Manual which was introduced in May 2018. Most MOT testers will be familiar with the revisions and updates to the MOT Inspection Manual, either through specific training prior to the changes or reviewing the Inspection Manual during its implementation stages.

    The AE should also ensure that the MOT testers that carry out tests at the VTS, are compliant with the requirements. Failure to do so will result in the MOT tester unable to test vehicles. It should be noted that some MOT testers that have not met the requirements have taken many weeks to become reinstated as an MOT tester as a result of non compliance which could reduce business income.

    At present there is no requirement for the MOT Centre Manager to comply with the updating of their MOT knowledge but this could change in the near future.

    Procedures
    The AE should ensure that everyone involved in the MOT testing process within their business has access to key information, especially focusing on MOT test logs and MOT Test Quality Information (TQI).

    TQI can be accessed by both the AE and also the MOT tester, reviewing the MOT test data applicable to their role. The data can indicate both strengths and weaknesses with the MOT testers and the VTS, it is therefore important that this data is regularly reviewed to identify any anomalies within the data and implement an ‘action plan’ to correct any deficiencies, therefore both the MOT tester and the AE have a responsibility in this area.

    MOT TQI was highlighted as a requirement for the MOT tester annual training/annual assessment. It is therefore suggested that the MOT Centre Manager also updates their knowledge on Test Quality Information (TQI) and also MOT test logs.

    The AE should ensure that the relevant people know procedures for the reporting of equipment defects/problems, the equipment maintenance and any equipment calibration requirements within the specified dates as indicated by the MOT Testing Guide. The AE must ensure that any appropriate records (calibration certificates) are kept and the records are held securely.
    The AE should always ensure that the equipment is maintained and calibrated correctly, if a problem is detected (yes things do go wrong) preferable before a breakdown occurs then a clear process should be identified and the rectification of the equipment recorded.

    Assurance
    The MOT tests which are carried out at the VTS must always have the correct result, the security of data, information and passwords are maintained which will lead to the reduction in risk of MOT fraudulent activity. The protection of data used in the MOT process needs to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was also introduced in May 2018 replacing the Data Protect Action (DPA) that previously covered the data. The AE has a duty to ensure this has been complied with.
    The process should also include a Quality Control process of the MOT tester to ensure that they produce satisfactory results, and to identify any future weaknesses in their MOT test procedures.

    The MOT Testing Guide (updated earlier this year) indicates that a QC check needs to be performed on an MOT tester every two months. Best practice would indicate that the QC process is completed on each MOT tester more frequently such as every month. The QC check should be recorded and kept in-line with the requirements. The QC report should indicate the strengths and weaknesses of each individual (not just indicating the MOT tester is OK) with an ‘action plan’ (further training etc) on how to reduce the weaknesses. The next month Quality Control report should then indicate how the MOT tester has performed against the ‘action plan’. This could help to reduce the VTS risk score, improving MOT tester performance but also increase business performance.
    Performing and recording quality control checks within an MOT business can be time consuming and often gets forgotten. The person carrying out the MOT QC must be carried out by an approved DVSA MOT tester. The QC can be achieved within the MOT testing team providing more than one MOT tester is engaged (one MOT Tester is nominated as the QC) or alternatively a service that an outside agency could provide. A Vehicle Testing Station with only one MOT tester could have a reciprocal arrangement with a nearby similar business by carrying out the QC check on each other.

    Improvement
    An effective QMS used within the VTS should identify any weaknesses that could put the station at risk. Once a weakness has been identified the business should develop an action plan to improve within the area of weakness. This will typically lead to an improvement.

    All these points will help to achieve a low VTS risk score. The MOT centre manager should read and understand the various documents provided free by the DVSA on how to carry out a VTS risk assessment and to hopefully reduce the VTS risk score.
    The AE can find out more on the qualification by contacting a recognised training provider delivering the MOT Centre Manager Qualification, this will help them better understand the requirements of a Vehicle Testing Station and the various MOT Testing documents and standards associated with MOT testing. Many of these requirements have been revised over the last few years, and it is a requirement for the AE to constantly update their knowledge to remain current. Remember the MOT Testing Guide was revised in early 2018 and many AEs do not have knowledge of the new requirements.

  • Annual training is sadly not enough 

    Every MOT tester is doing their annual MOT tester exam, and every tester should be doing their annual training which should match the syllabus supplied by DVSA each year.

    These days of compliance there is sadly more to be done if you want to remain on the compliant side of the DVSA’s thinking. With a revised Sixth Edition Testing Guide there is plenty to read up on, and oh yes there is just the matter of the new Testing Manual from May 2018. What the DVSA are saying is that we all need to make sure we are fully aware of scheme changes.

    Section 6 of the DVSA Guide to MOT Risk Reduction covers tester competence and integrity. In this section, we can see the DVSA starting to underline the need for CPD outside of the Annual Training syllabus, and the need for evidence of ongoing training. In fairness to the DVSA, they do state ‘evidence of’, so if we are not recording our CPD we will start to fall foul of the rules and open ourselves up to scrutiny by DVSA.

    Let’s keep going. The Site Assessment Risk Scoring Guide asks if there is there evidence of a regular staff training/improvement programme.It asks for records of regular, staff training covering:


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