DVSA Earned Recognition scheme delayed

Chris Tindall
March 2, 2017

A delay in the introduction of the earned recognition scheme has raised questions about the cost and benefit to operators of handing over sensitive data to the DVSA.

The enforcement agency aimed to have set up the programme by the final quarter of the 2016/17 financial year, but it is understood to have been dogged by technical problems and delays in finding approved auditors for the application process.

There have also been concerns that earned recognition only benefits large companies at the expense of smaller operators and would not target foreign hauliers.

Earned recognition was envisaged by the DVSA as a way to target dwindling resources on operators posing the greatest risk to road safety.

Companies would be rewarded with fewer compliance checks if they gave the agency access to tachograph and maintenance data.

There was a trial last year, but the DVSA admitted another six-month pilot must take place before earned recognition is launched – potentially pushing the date back into 2018.

Sources close to the scheme said the agency is struggling with the speed at which technology is developing, especially over the past year.

“It’s not been particularly easy for the DVSA or those trying to work with it because there are challenges in what it is trying to do,” said one source.

“To be fair to it, it’s not its core business; it is an enforcement agency. The project is probably not what it originally envisaged.”

Philip Brown, the former senior traffic commissioner and now a consultant solicitor for AMD in Bristol, said it was “a great system” but that the DVSA had to overcome trust issues before earned recognition would work.

“The industry must guard against a system where providing compliance data to the DVSA leads to those whose compliance is less than 100% becoming easy targets for enforcement action, while the seriously non-compliant remain untouched,” he said.

Laura Newton, solicitor at Rothera Sharp, said the DVSA was informed at a public event last year that smaller operators would not benefit, and that the agency appeared surprised.

“The key performance indicators were fine for larger firms but for smaller businesses, it wasn’t workable,” she said.

“A single infringement or failure could see them out of scope for earned recognition for a considerable time as it is usually about percentage compliance rate. There wasn’t any option previously for different parameters for different-sized operators.

RHA policy director Jack Semple said it would continue working with the DVSA on earned recognition, but added: “The costs and benefits of the programme for the haulage industry and for road safety are unclear, as is the extent of value added over the risk rating system, OCRS.”

A DVSA spokesman denied that the scheme had been delayed, but said it did not yet have a launch date. “We want to await the outcome of the pilot.”

The spokesman added that any reference to IT suppliers in its announcements was “not about problems, but that participating operators will need to use IT suppliers to share data with the DVSA.”


>>>CM's guide to earned recognition

About the Author


Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and quickly realised there was enough going on to keep him busy for a very long time. He’s covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning, Brexit and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lack of safe and secure lorry parks and he helped secure the release of a lorry driver in a Polish jail due to misuse of the European Arrest Warrant.

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