Yesterday evening we were briefed as a nation regarding the next steps in the fight against coronavirus.
I know some today are still confused as to how last night’s announcement impacts them professionally. Statements such as ‘those people who cannot work from home should go to work’ coupled with messages about continuing to follow the social distancing measures (which we know are impossible for ADIs to follow – less so for rider trainers) do not exactly shed a clear light on how trainers should proceed from this point.
However some feel that this is the green light to resume on-road training, others are clear that they will not be returning immediately.
DVSA, as did many other government agencies, met last night to discuss their response to the Government’s plan to move to the next phase of their roadmap. As soon as we are briefed as to their plans, and whatever guidance they plan to give to trainers, we will of course update you.
However, I feel it is prudent to caution that any formal communication may take a few days to be agreed and released as the Government’s overall plans have first to be debated in Parliament, and any further developments from there considered by each area of Government. As Tier One consultative stakeholders we will of course be the first in the industry to be informed by DVSA.
What I can say right now is that any decision to return to on-road training needs to be carefully evaluated and all the risks considered and weighted accordingly. Any decision you make is at your own discretion and risk. DIA cannot tell you to train, or not to train.
What we can do however is be pragmatic and accept that some will be evaluating when they return to work more seriously from this moment forward, and that some will resume training in the next few days and weeks. Being pragmatic means offering advice and guidance on the risks associated with delivering training at this time, how to evaluate them and how to manage them.
To aid decision-making in this respect we are producing a risk assessment framework for members, which will help to carefully evaluate the individual risks by type of pupil, training scenario etc, giving them a risk rating, offering our advice on whether to train or not in each scenario, how to manage risk in each scenario and what risk mitigants and safe training protocols need to be in place overall to resume training.
We hope to publish that risk assessment in the next 48 hours. That will be accompanied by the updating of, and wider release of, our Safe Training Protocols guidance, online course and theory test. Originally these resources were created for those specifically training key workers. As trainers more widely consider when they will return to training on road, it is sensible we share these resources more widely.
There will also be a special webinar on this subject on Thursday this week at 11am. Similarly NASP will be working together to deliver wider guidance for the industry at large.
What I will say firmly, especially on being forwarded some messages already being sent to ADIs by franchises and training providers this morning, is that no one should feel coerced into returning to training at this time. I fully respect the stress this crisis has placed on many businesses in this sector, and the need to have a plan in place to return the business to an operational and income generating state as soon as is prudent to do so. But individual trainers must be supported in their decision-making and helped to make a full assessment in terms of their individual decision – and they should not suffer from any undue prejudice should they decide not to return to work now, or in the near future.
Trainers who wish to return to in-vehicle training should be given full opportunity to evaluate the risks. They should receive full and proper training, guidance and support and encouraged to employ a dynamic risk assessment approach in every instance of training. Shortcuts now could lead to a risk to someone’s health – either the trainers, pupils, a member of their family, or a risk to the wider population in terms of the spread of the virus.
As individual trainers, franchise operators and training organisations utilising driver trainers please know you can come to DIA for advice, guidance and training at this time. We are here to support safe decision making – whether that be to train or not to train.
Watch this space for further updates on any official government guidance pertaining to our sector and in the meantime keep in touch with any concerns or queries you may have – and overall stay safe.