The government advice to control COVID-19 is to stay alert. This means you should:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
The NHS will not be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.
If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.
Key worker training advice
Our current guidance is to only deliver in-car driver training to key workers preparing for an essential driving test.
There has been some confusion around the terms key and critical workers. DVSA is now using the terms key workers and emergency testing for key workers.
NASP advises that trainers should carefully evaluate the risks of on-road training at this time, and establish whether there is an essential need for such before taking on any new key worker pupil.
We remind trainers that they engage in in-vehicle training during this period entirely at their own discretion due to the risks involved.
The type of training NASP deems unessential, and should therefore be avoided includes:
- Learner and novice training of any non-key worker
- Learner and novice driver/rider training from scratch where the pupil is a key worker but does not have an essential need to drive at this time, ie they can use other modes of transport to commute and they are not required to drive for work. It is also unlikely that new learners would pass their test soon enough to be able to undertake a useful and safe driving role as a key worker at this time. It could also cause too much road risk to encourage novice drivers to rapidly gain a licence and undertake pressured occupational driving roles at this time
- Training or driver/rider development of a driver or rider who is not a key worker
- Training or driver development where the key worker (whether full licence holder, vocational licence holder etc) does not have an essential need to drive in their role (ie they are not driving for work or could commute using alternative forms of transport)
Training which could be deemed necessary at this time
- Key workers who have a practical emergency test confirmed with DVSA
- Key workers requiring new licences for essential front line roles, such as emergency response workers acquiring a first licence or needing licences in new categories
- Key workers needing driver or rider development in order to safely and competently drive or ride in different/new vehicles which they are unused to in the same licence category, ie delivery drivers
- Key workers needing driver or rider development to drive in a new, or increased, occupational context and whose driving risk may therefore be greater. This includes increased commuting to multiple work locations and increased driving/riding in contexts they are unused to such as motorway driving, driving after dark, rural roads, unfamiliar vehicles, UK familiarisation
Trainers should carefully consider the risks involved in delivering in-vehicle at this time, as they will be unable to socially distance.
NASP recommends trainers carry out a risk assessment of each pupil and their training requirements before beginning any on-road training.
Examples of key worker training which may be required at this time:
- A nurse or other frontline healthcare professional who is now required to work at different hospital locations, so needs to increase the amount of occupational driving they are doing, including using motorways (which they are unused to, and nervous of) and have enquired about some driver development in this respect.
- A community worker being required to take their CBT in order to be more agile in their work covering multiple locations in a city centre
- Someone who has been recruited as a delivery driver covering rural areas and wants more development using rural roads and after dark driving, given they will have mainly late shifts.
- A key worker new to the UK who is required to drive and needs some UK familiarisation training
Safe training practices
If you are supplying driver or rider training to key workers, please see our guidance below.
Call your pupils ahead of each lesson (even if you have seen them within the last couple of days).
- Ask them if they have any symptoms.
- Ask them if anyone they know, or have been in contact with, is showing symptoms.
- Ask them if they, or if anyone they have been in contact with, has travelled from a high-risk, infectious region.
Explain to them that you need to take a few extra precautionary measures during their lesson to keep them, and everyone safe.
- To wash their hands or use sanitiser gel just prior to getting into the car.
- To cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing – so a sleeve or tissue, not their hands.
- You’ll keep a window open for ventilation.
You also have some other housekeeping to do in order to help protect yourself and your client:
Before the client enters the vehicle, ensure that you have wiped over the following contact points:
Door handles (inside and out), window controls, seat adjusters, steering wheel and steering wheel height adjuster, parking brake, gear lever, indicator and wiper stalks and light controls with alcohol-based gel at the beginning and end of each training session. This would be good practice.
If you are unable to get the alcohol gel, then a bottle containing disinfectant, mixed with antibacterial soap and water and wiped over with kitchen paper and then dried with a separate sheet of kitchen paper would do. Ensure to discard the paper in the bin each time.
For motorcycle instructors
Check the ATB has contacted the client to ensure that they are turning up for training in a fit and healthy state. Make sure that all equipment is sanitised, such as gloves, helmets and their fastening straps, fuel taps, handlebars and grips, brake and clutch levers.
When you stop for breaks on the road, monitor the clients. Body temperature increases greatly in protective clothing when in challenging and unfamiliar environments, like when training. Check that any perspiration is not fever by asking the questions found on the NHS England website (this is updated regularly).
If re-fuelling, remove your protective gloves and put on disposable gloves supplied for diesel pumps. This stops you putting any contamination into your protective gloves and incubating it with sweaty hands. Sanitise the key.
If your clients develop signs of fever or other pertinent symptoms of COVID-19 during training, call NHS 111 immediately. Get advice on what to do with the casualty as they are not isolated and then get advice for yourself and the other clients in your party. Notify the ATB immediately, since all bikes may have to be recovered and further measures taken.
As a note of caution, the police are stopping people who are out in their cars to ask them what they are doing. This is because travel is only allowed when absolutely necessary and the police now have the power to fine people £30 for going out without good reason.
Key worker register
We have set up a key worker register to allow trainers carrying out essential training to validate their work, gain certification to display in their car and receive important training and guidance on working safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Registration, training and certification is entirely voluntary and trainers are not obliged to join the register, or use these resources. They are being provided as a helpful, advisory and professional development resource for the industry during this unprecedented period of crisis and change.
DVSA STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR CRITICAL WORKER TESTS DURING COVID 19
These are available to read on the NASP website at www.n-a-s-p.co.uk
Driver and rider trainer guidance
Our current position is outlined below:
Statement from NASP (National Associations Strategic Partnership) which comprises the ADINJC, DIA and MSA GB 23.3.2020
At an extremely difficult and worrying time for us all, taking into account the government public health advice regarding social distancing and trying to control and delay the spread of the COVID-19 virus, NASP would urge all instructors to stop delivering driving lessons, if you have not already done so, with the exception of teaching key workers where necessary.
We fully appreciate the worry of financial loss that this brings, but we consider it is not possible for us to comply with current social distancing measures whilst teaching in a car.
We realise that any decision regarding your business is ultimately your own to make, but hope that this announcement might help those of you with uncertainty about the appropriate course of action to take in these unprecedented circumstances. We will keep you updated as times go on and if the situation changes, please keep checking the NASP website for current updates and advice.
Driving tests suspended for up to three months – tests for critical workers to continue and be prioritised
DVSA is suspending driving tests for up to three months from 21 March as there is extended contact between candidates and examiners in vehicles. Motorcycle tests are also being suspended.
- Car driving tests
- Motorcycle tests
- ADI tests and checks
- Lorry, coach and bus driving tests
DVSA has put in place plans to provide emergency driving tests for people who provide essential services.
In addition, all theory tests have been cancelled until 8 May 2020 and refunds will be issued.
If your test has been suspended with less than three days’ notice, you and your pupils will be able to claim out-of-pocket expenses.
The Chancellor has announced a Self Employed Income Support Scheme. This is a taxable grant of up to 80% of your monthly income, capped at £2,500 per month. Those eligible can claim the grant and also still continue to do business. To make the scheme fair, only those who have trading profits of up to £50,000 are eligible. Only those who have filed a 2019 tax return will be eligible.
These grants will be available at the start of June – you will apparently receive three months at once at this time.
The self-employed grant will be paid monthly and for an initial three-month period. The Chancellor will consider an extension if necessary
If you have only completed tax returns over one year, your eligibility will be assessed on that.
If you have three years’ returns, or more, your grant will be assessed on the average of those.
This scheme will be managed by HMRC and payments will be made by them to your designated bank account.
Income tax payments, due in April, will be deferred to January 2021.
The July deadline for self-assessment is deferred to January.
The self employed will also have access to a Business Interruption Loan.
Other measures to help small businesses
- A range of grants and loans will be available to small businesses across the UK
- Employers can apply for grants via HMRC to help cover employee salaries – the Chancellor has said the government will pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 a month.
- Business rates have been cut
- VAT payments will be deferred for the next quarter
The government has set up a special website giving lots of information and guidance about the support available. More details on measures to help small businesses is available here
Other measures to help the self-employed
- You can apply for Universal Credit now – minimum income floor suspended for self employed, so can claim universal credit
- Self-employed workers will have quicker and easier access to benefit support during the coronavirus pandemic
- Working Tax credits allowance will be increased by £1000
Financial hardship resources
- Lenders will offer a three-month payment holidays for mortgages
- Tenants will be given extra financial support – the Chancellor pledged £1bn of support for renters
- Housing benefit minimum increased to 30% of market rent
- Landlords cannot evict tenants for three months
- Universal credit allowance increased by £1,000
HMRC Helpline: 0800 0159 559 (a lot of the benefits and business support will be channeled through HMRC)
Business advice and financial concerns
The National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) has offered the following guidance for driver and rider trainers:
Try not to panic. Easy to say, but set aside some time, sit down calmly with a clear head and look at your business. There will be a way through this if it becomes difficult, you are planning ahead and it hasn’t actually happened yet.
Look at your variable costs in the business you have control over, can any of those cost be cut back for a short time?
Do not stick your head in the sand. If you’re looking at bills coming in and you’re not going to be able to cover them, contact the companies concerned. Be proactive – businesses are all in this situation together and it is in the interest of everyone to work together. For example; can they help by extending the time you have to pay?
Can you cut back on your day-to-day living costs? You know you best and know what you could cut back on if needs be.
Unfortunately this situation will get worse before it gets better, so our advice would be to immediately cut down on your outgoings.
Preventing spread of infection
Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Avoid direct contact with fuel pumps and/or air pressure pumps at the petrol station, and also pay and display ticket machines. If your car is going in/coming out of a garage, others will have been using the controls, so make sure you throughly disinfect. Avoid handling cash and get a contactless payment system or use bank transfers.
With thanks to colleagues within NASP and DVSA for their contributions to this information. We will continue to exchange advice and information with these partners to help get as much guidance out to the industry as possible.
Last updated: Tuesday 5 May 2020, 09:20