We have grave concerns over the lack of ADI tests available. Due to the commercial market being reliant on the DVSA delivery of these tests, and the need for them to be inside legislative requirements, namely:

  • 2 years of passing the Part 1 test
  • Limited to 3 attempts
  • Training to be completed within a 6-month window of a trainee licence

there are PDIs across the country facing mental stress and financial loss without any support or resolution from the DVSA.

The DITC has written a letter (below) outlining the issues and calling for solutions – not excuses – that will ease or solve the situation.

This letter has been sent to:

  • Loveday Ryder CEO, DVSA
  • Mark Harper MP, Transport Secretary
  • Louise Harper MP, Shadow Transport Secretary
  • Baroness Vere
  • NASP (and its member associations – ADINJC, DIA, MSA GB)
  • Transport Committee
  • Our local MPs

If you are a trainer, trainee or concerned ADI you are also welcome to use this letter to highlight the issue with your MPs. The DITC will keep you informed of any relevant responses to this letter.

The letter reads as follows:

Subject: Urgent Concerns Regarding ADI Qualifying Tests and Trainee Instructors

As trainers of driving instructors, we are writing to express our deep concern regarding the lack of qualifying tests available for becoming an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). This issue has serious implications for trainee instructors, their livelihoods, and learner drivers.

The Problem:

Currently, ADI examiners are engaged in delivering learner driving tests, leaving insufficient availability for ADI tests. As a result, trainee instructors face significant challenges in completing their qualification process. Here are some key points:

1. Time Constraints: Trainee instructors have a limited window of two years from passing the Part 1 (theory) test to complete the entire ADI qualification process. This tight timeframe puts immense pressure on them to secure Part 2 and Part 3 test slots promptly. There are also  restrictions regarding the number of  trainee licences, hours of training required, timescales for this training and how it must be delivered to achieve this.

2. Limited Attempts: Trainees are allowed only three attempts at both Part 2 (driving ability) and Part 3 (instructional ability) tests. The scarcity of available test slots exacerbates this situation, hindering their progress and increases the stress involved in the training process.

3. Financial Burden: Many trainees invest substantial amounts—often thousands of pounds —to pursue their ADI qualification. The lack of test availability jeopardises their investment and professional aspirations.

Our Questions for you and the DfT:

We urge the Department for Transport (DfT) in their oversight of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to address this critical issue promptly. As stakeholders in the driver training industry, we seek answers to the following questions:

1. Duty of Care: What measures are the DVSA taking to fulfil its duty of care to those entering the ADI register? How does the DVSA plan to ensure that trainees have a fair opportunity to complete their qualification within the mandated time?

2. Impact on Livelihood: How does the DVSA intend to support trainee driving instructors and instructor training providers whose livelihoods are directly affected by the scarcity of ADI test slots? What provisions are in place to mitigate financial losses for these businesses?

3. Learner Disruption: What steps are the DVSA taking to prevent learner drivers from being let down due to delays caused by the shortage of ADI test availability? How will the DVSA address the impact on learner drivers’ progress though loss of instructors at key points in their learning journey?

4. Official Guidance: Currently we have PDIs complaining about the availability to the DVSA, and the response they receive is – We have moved staff to address the Learner waiting list so we cannot help. However, you must pass the tests within 2 years.

This provides no level of customer service or support to these trainees, their trainers (who are shut out of the process under GDPR barricades) or the learner drivers relying on their instructor. What should these trainees and trainers be doing to succeed?

5. Resolution Plan: Can the DVSA provide a transparent plan outlining how it intends to resolve the current shortage of ADI test slots? What actions are being taken to increase availability and streamline the testing process?

We appreciate your attention to this matter and kindly request that you raise these concerns with relevant MPs and ministers. The future of our industry and the quality of driver training depend on timely and equitable access to ADI qualification tests. Please note, we are aware that the standard practice is to send concerns to the DVSA CEO Loveday Ryder, however, she is the one failing to provide tests and resolutions, leaving this matter in need of attention at a higher level. We appreciate the incredibly difficult position the DVSA is in, in part due to government inaction regarding COVID, but that does not diminish this issue – in fact it contributes directly to it.

Thank you for your commitment to road safety and the well-being of both instructors and learners. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Chris Bensted & Ian Brett

Directors of The Driving Instructor and Trainers Collective (The DITC)

Posted by Chris Bensted

February 29, 2024

Categories: News