DVSA Information / Bulletins
Update on short notice cancellations in England, Scotland and Wales
From Wednesday 22 June, DVSA is changing its approach to the short notice cancellation of theory and practical tests for candidates with COVID-19.
DVSA will no longer automatically rearrange or refund practical, or theory tests cancelled within the 3-day short notice cancellation window if your pupil tells us they have COVID-19.
Your pupils will need to continue to follow government guidance if they do have COVID-19 symptoms.
Our standard short notice cancellation period was temporarily stopped during the pandemic to allow your pupils who tested positive for COVID-19 to automatically rearrange or refund their practical or theory test.
We are now using our standard short notice cancellation process due to illness, in line with the government’s plan for lifting remaining restrictions for living with COVID-19.
Your pupil will lose their test fee if they cancel or change their theory or practical test in England, Scotland and Wales within the short notice cancellation period unless they:
are ill or injured – such as if they have COVID-19
are affected by a bereavement
need to take an exam
have had their driving licence stolen
Tests changed within the short notice period
If your pupil needs to change their test within the short notice cancellation period for any of the reasons above they should first rearrange their practical or theory test date on GOV.UK.
They will need to pay again for their rearranged test but will get a refund for their original test booking if their application is successful.
They will then need to follow our standard process for short notice cancellations to apply for a refund of their test fee. They must include evidence with their application.
Details of how to do this and what evidence will be accepted will be published on GOV.UK.
Practical test candidates whose application is successful will be contacted by our customer service centre to rearrange their test for the earliest possible test date.
We are contacting all candidates with a practical or theory test booked to let them know about this change.
If you have booked a test for your pupil, please can you let them know about these changes.
Changing the short notice cancellation period
The length of the short notice cancellation period for practical tests is part of a consultation to improve the availability of driving tests. We will let you know if the length of the period changes.
Changing a driving test
To help stop the exploitation of our booking service by companies profiting from selling practical driving tests we have reduced the number of times an appointment can be changed from 10 to the pre-pandemic limit of 6.
If your pupil need to make more changes after that, they will now have to cancel the test and rebook it.
Driving test bookings: cracking down on companies exploiting learner drivers
You may have seen recent media reports about companies that do not employ driving instructors profiting from selling practical driving tests.
This has been done by companies often using bots and exploiting the service set up for you to book and manage driving tests for your pupils.
Many of these companies are charging more than the test booking fee of £62 for a car driving test. We want to prevent a social divide between those who can and cannot afford to use these services.
We are aware of the potential risks of unofficial companies and some driving instructors who are profiting from the booking system and exploiting learner drivers. We have developed a plan to help prevent this.
Cracking down on companies exploiting learner drivers
Loveday Ryder, DVSA Chief Executive, said:
“We’ve already put in place measures to monitor and prevent bots from accessing our systems while also strengthening our firewall to tackle the issue.
“We will work tirelessly to crack down on companies that are exploiting learner drivers.
“We’ve closed the system to new registrations and will rapidly close down accounts that do not belong to driving instructors and driving schools. We’ll also be taking further steps to make sure all future accounts are linked to driving instructors and those with training businesses.”
What we’ve done so far
So far we have:
stopped accepting new automatic online registrations to use the service - any new applications must be made by email, where they’ll be thoroughly checked by DVSA - we’ll update GOV.UK with the new process soon
stopped accepting any new registrations from companies who do not directly employ a driving instructor
started removing any registrations not linked to driving instructors
reduced the number of times a driving test appointment can be changed from 10 to the pre-pandemic limit of 6 - if you need to make more changes after that, you or your pupil will have to cancel the test and rebook it - this takes effect from tomorrow (Thursday 2 June)
What we’ll do next
We will change the terms and conditions for using the service to make it clear you’re not allowed to use it to make a profit from making and managing driving test bookings. We’ll share more information about this next week.
The number of tests available on our booking service will not be affected by these changes. These measures will not have a negative impact on the waiting times for a practical test.
Nick Taylor, the ADI Registrar, is also reviewing the ‘fit and proper’ criteria to make it clear that profiting from driving test bookings is not considered fit and proper behaviour.