In the wake of last month’s article from the DVSA, in which Neil Barlow explored the issue of risk rating for testers, MOT Juice’s Barry Babister gives his interpretation of the changes.
In a recent ‘Matters of Testing’ blog, and the subsequent article in PMM, Neil gave us an insight into risk rating for testers: “As part of this work, we’re looking at risk rating testers, using data from the testing service and disciplinary history. Testers will be able to see their rating in their profile. The tester’s rating is personal to them and will not be displayed to site managers or authorised examiners (AEs). However, some AEs may choose to ask prospective employees to share it.”
But what does this really mean?
Well, from where I am sitting, it means that the DVSA can now use two major principles to help it clamp down on bad practice and bad testers. Method one has always been to look at bad MOT stations. The DVSA has been crunching all the electronic data that we submit daily for many years now, and it’s important to remember that the organisation has in-house teams of very clever ‘IT types’, responsible for analysing that data.
This has allowed the DVSA to look at trends and patterns at MOT stations, and identify those that are creating a risk to the MOT testing scheme. If you owned an MOT bay, this was important as you needed to protect your business. However, this has meant that for years, the testers have been somewhat insulated from the DVSA by their employer.
The boot is now on the other foot
As for the new method, method two is the new regime of looking at testers’ individual data; the DVSA will score each tester against the national average and perhaps more importantly, against their work colleagues.
So, what does this mean for the tester?
Well, simply put it means that you need to be the best tester in your garage when the DVSA Vehicle Examiner (VE) arrives. They will know the personal scores for each and every tester, which fail categories you are weak on, everything about your testing data, and which car you are logged onto or have just logged off of. So, imagine for a moment that you are a VE; which tester do you think you would single out? I am pretty sure that most would pick the tester with the highest risk score.
Every tester will have a risk score, which is often referred to as their RAG score (Red, Amber, Green), just like every MOT bay has a risk score. Currently, your colleagues can’t see your personal RAG score, but I bet every tester reading this wants to make sure that they are not the worst tester on site.
These new methods will mean that all testers will need to be the best, and constantly at the top of their game. Not only is it a matter of professional pride, but no one wants their work coming back to haunt them.
Either way, this is the start of a new era of responsibility and accountability where testers are no longer protected by their employer. Therefore, I would advise that testers take control of their professional responsibility.