Mistakes to avoid in a DVSA desk-based assessment

As increasingly more desk-based assessments are being requested by the DVSA, our latest blog looks at the common mistakes that are made and ensures you don’t get tripped up.

1.      Firstly, don’t ignore the guidance.  It’s easy to jump straight into compiling all the evidence and answering the questions, however, familiarise yourself with the documentation, stop and take the time to read and understand it before you jump straight in and answer.

2.      Make sure you engage.  If you are running a busy haulage, bus or coach business, it can be tempting to put a DVSA desk based assessment on the back burner.  You usually only have 7 or 14 days to respond to a DVSA desk-based assessment which includes completing a detailed REO1 questionnaire form and gathering and sending off your records to the DVSA Examiner.

The records they will want to see usually include the following:

  • vehicle maintenance records, including regular safety inspections, wheel re-torque logs and driver defect reports;

  • tachograph raw data and infringement reports of drivers hours;

  • training (including refresher courses) and disciplinary records;

  • driver licence checks

You do not want to be in the position of sending these in late or not at all.

This can lead to a DVSA visit to your premises or a referral directly to the Traffic Commissioner.

As soon as you receive a DVSA desk-based assessment request you should contact the DVSA officer and agree on a timetable which to provide all the required documents.

3.      Do your homework, before you send in all of your records, you should check through them and look for any areas that may need explaining.

For example, if you have a gap in your preventative maintenance inspection intervals, but this was because the vehicle was off the road. Then this explanation should be provided to the DVSA during the assessment.

Otherwise, it may just look like one of your vehicles had a late inspection without good reason.

Likewise, if your tachograph records suggest that one of your vehicles was used on the road without a driver card in, but it was with your garage for a road test on that day, then it is your responsibility to prove this.

4.      Don’t cut corners.  At the end of a DVSA desk-based assessment, the Traffic Examiner or Vehicle Examiner will send you a summary of any problems that they have found and ask you to provide an explanation.

It is your chance to give assurances that the problems found have been dealt with and will not be repeated.

This is another opportunity to avoid the matter escalating to a Traffic Commissioner’s Public Inquiry.

Remember, the report to the Traffic Commissioner means they will usually be able to see your response to the desk-based assessment. This means that it is important to get it right.

This is another reason why many operators get specialist help when responding to this part of the desk-based assessment.

5.      Finally, if you get a DVSA desk-based assessment request, consider seeking advice.  For some A* Operators, the assessment won’t cause a problem, however, some of the questions in the REO1 questionnaire may cause you problems. Perhaps you are unable to find or just do not keep the records that they have asked for.

If you’re looking for guidance on the assessments, please reach out to our award-winning team on hello@teamlogico.co.uk, we’re here to help.