Tuesday, 25 August 2015

DVSA celebrates 500th ATF opening as chief exec bows out . . .


DVSA celebrates 500th ATF opening as chief exec bows out

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The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced the opening of the 500th site in its authorised testing facility (ATF) scheme, at the County Durham premises of truck and van dealer Chatfields.

The ATF was officially opened on 2 July by DVSA chief executive Alastair Peoples, who presented Chatfields with a certificate to mark the occasion.

The proliferation of new ATF sites across the country since the scheme launched in 2010 has meant that almost 93 per cent of all DVSA testing for trucks, coaches and buses is now carried out at private sites – as opposed to the agency’s own depleting network of test stations.

While ATFs are privately owned, the testing itself is still carried out by vehicle examiners employed by the DVSA. But trade associations including the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) have called on the government to allow privately-employed examiners to carry out annual tests, as with the MoT for smaller vehicles, in order to increase flexibility.

“We are really honoured and pleased to be the 500th ATF,” said Chatfields’ national franchise director Wayne Edwards. “We believe this is a fantastic business proposition for our customers and ourselves in the north east.”

“I feel extremely proud of DVSA’s ATF strategy and of how successful it’s been,” added Alastair Peoples. “I am delighted to be here today and celebrate adding yet another ATF to our increasing network.

“I know local operators and drivers in the County Durham area will quickly see the benefits of having a greater choice of where they can have their vehicles tested.

“ATF customers from across the country tell me they have seen savings on fuel costs, vehicle down-time, lower CO2 emissions and improved first-time pass rates, and I expect to hear similar feedback from operators and drivers using this facility.”

The ATF scheme will be seen as one of Peoples’ key legacies as DVSA chief executive. He is to retire from the civil service in October, following more than six years at the head of the enforcement agency and its predecessor, the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA).

Prior to this he had been operations director and deputy chief executive at VOSA, as well as operations director at what is now the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA), the equivalent enforcement body in Northern Ireland.

On announcing his retirement in June, Peoples said: “Being chief executive of DVSA has been hugely rewarding and I’m proud of what has been achieved in the relatively short time since the agency was created.

“Thanks to the combined efforts of so many passionate and committed managers and staff, the agency is now firmly established and the work of integration and transformation is well underway. Single trading fund status is now in place and work has begun on a five-year strategy for the agency.

“We’re delivering efficiencies and passing savings onto our customers… we’ve ceased testing at a further 17 goods vehicle testing stations and moved out of 20 driving test centres as part of our commitment to reducing government estate…

“With these solid foundations in place, I am confident that this is the right time for the agency to prepare for a change of leadership.”

Peoples’ role will be taken on by Paul Satoor, deputy chief executive, until a permanent replacement is in post.

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