DVSA earned recognition trial: what operators need to know

Ashleigh Wight
September 29, 2017


The DVSA is encouraging operators with a high- level of compliance to sign up to a pilot of its earned recognition scheme, which is expected to be rolled out fully next year.

The voluntary scheme will see operators share performance information with the DVSA. In return, the DVSA will be less likely to stop their vehicles for inspection.

The pilot, which is currently taking place, will determine whether the scheme works for both the industry and the DVSA. However, the DVSA has conceded that it still needs more support from hauliers before it can go live.

What does an operator need to be considered for earned recognition?

As a starting point, an operator will need:

How to join the pilot

Operators must fill out an application form to join the trial. Email remote.compliance@vosa.gsi.gov.uk to request a form.

Commission an audit

Once their application is approved, operators must arrange an audit of the business’s processes and how they are managed.

The earned recognition audit will consider the operator’s compliance with:

  • O-licence requirements
  • Transport manager requirements
  • Vehicle standards
  • Drivers’ hours
  • Operational management
  • Driver management
  • Training and driver behaviour
  • Driver-related policies
  • Dangerous goods (if applicable)

Once complete, the operator and the DVSA will receive copies of the audit and the DVSA will check whether the business has met the requirements for earned recognition.


Which KPIs will be measured?

The DVSA will measure KPIs for the scheme over four-week periods, which start on a Monday and end on a Sunday. They are reported at the end of the four weeks and sent to the DVSA four weeks later.

There are two sets of KPIs – one for vehicle maintenance and one for driving activity.

Vehicle maintenance:



Complete set of safety inspection records


Safety inspection records are completed correctly, including all relevant sections and signed off as being roadworthy


Safety inspections are completed within the stated frequency


Driver defect reports where road safety related items have been reported are appropriately actioned


Vehicle and trailer MOT initial pass rates

95% (if you only have up to 20 vehicles in your fleet, the KPI is no more than one failure in 13 rolling measurement periods)




KPI (total number of infringements as a percentage of the total number of tachograph days)

An infringement recorded on the tachograph analysis that would attract a band 1 fixed penalty under current legislation


An infringement recorded on the tachograph analysis that would attract a band 2 fixed penalty under current legislation


An infringement recorded on the tachograph analysis that would attract a band 3 fixed penalty under current legislation


An infringement recorded on the tachograph analysis that would attract a band 4 fixed penalty under current legislation


Overall infringements - total number of infringements found


Working time - any infringement identified under current legislation


Unaccountable mileage - total unaccountable missing mileage

Any unexplained missing mileage will trigger an exception report

Repeat offenders - either regular or repeated infringements logged against a driver

When a driver commits offences in any 3 consecutive measurement periods

- any drivers’ hours infringement identified under current legislation



The operator will get an alert if any KPI is missed. But not by enough to send a trigger to the DVSA. Red alerts will be reported to the agency. The alerts are as follows:

Type of alert


When it’s triggered



Missing a KPI by less than 1% point



Missing a KPI by 1% point or more



Missing a KPI by 2% points or more

The benefits of joining the trial

Operators that sign up to the earned recognition trial will get automatic access to the scheme when it goes live, and their details will be published online to recognise their efforts.

Operators that take part in the final scheme will be able to prove they are an “exemplary operator” when tendering for contracts; will be less likely to have their vehicles targeted and DVSA staff visit their premises; have access to a DVSA earned recognition business manager; and will be able to use the earned recognition marque on their website.

Those that join the trial are being asked to refrain from saying they are taking part in any marketing or publicity to make sure the pilot is run fairly. Their vehicles may also be stopped during the trial as examiners will not know who is taking part in the trial.

About the Author


Ashleigh Wight

Ashleigh is a former news reporter for Commercial Motor and Motor Transport and currently the editor of OHW+ and HR and wellbeing editor at Personnel Today.

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