Initial response from DIA on the government’s position on returning to work

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. 

6 thoughts on “Initial response from DIA on the government’s position on returning to work”

  1. Avatar

    Having read your published review of the guidance, l find it interesting that there are no comments to it being published, along side it.
    As a self employed instuctor, having read the 50 page guidance and also Covid safety at work document.
    It appears as an association you seem that you are not wanting to put your head above the parapet.
    There is more than enough detail there.
    Work with good ventilation, sit side by side, face covering, hand sanitizer, keep vehicle surfaces clean, even wear gloves, risk assess all actions, before, during and after lessons.
    We are only going to be with pupils 2 or 3 per day.
    If a simpler policy was good at the height of the issues for examiners to conduct tests.
    The situation we now are being offered is to resume taking the above views and direction on board.
    I have seen multi drop drivers and passenger working together, I see police officers in vehicles two up, same with other services.
    I am interested in why your association is not offering advise to follow the guidance from the government now?
    Otherwise, nothing is going to be changing in the near future, if we are not going to be assessing how we can to restart work, we are all going to be unemployed.
    What are you waiting for?
    All the guidance given, is to assist when social 2 metre distancing cannot be maintained.
    I’m 60 years old I’m not the most fittest person anymore however, I’m sure I’m going to not take chances but follow the medical advise being given.
    Perhaps the association should also take the view that we should take the advise and safety assessment and resume working again.
    Adrian Kennedy.

    1. Avatar
      Nigel Phillips

      The Government Covid advice shown on this website is now out of date and needs to be updated and a newsletter emailed out to the members.

      The DIA has been wholly inadequate at this particular time.

  2. Avatar
    Nigel Phillips

    The DIA seems to be particularly quiet at the moment in terms of the Self Employed Grant with many trainers wondering whether it is going to be extended beyond May 2020.

    Other associations (such as taxi drivers) are lobbying for an extension to the grant in line with the PAYE furlough scheme.

    Is the DIA going to support its members by lobbying to get self employed Trainers the same deal as PAYE employees?

  3. Avatar

    The facts are, as the Govt is now starting to admit – There may be no vaccination in the near future – their certainly may not be a cure.
    So the DIA and the DVSA should simply say –

    As this seems to be an ongoing issue for many months, if not years we cannot tell you what is best in your circumstances.
    each instructor must make his/her own decision, When – and If – They want to return to lessons.
    Although not being able to fully social distance, Delivery drivers of heavier goods still go out in pairs, police officers can be paired in cars or multi person in vans, people are on buses and in taxis. Ventilation is key.

    You know your circumstances best, surrounding your health and your family health issues

    Take more than the usual precautions with pupils as the DIA have set out -Pupils Handwashing before getting in etc
    Try to limit lessons to an hour or 90 mins max with each pupil

    Fully anti bac and sanitise your car between each pupil

    Tell the student If they have symptoms of colds, flu, coughs etc cancel your lesson – even if its late notice, we won’t charge you as we normally would.

    Examiners are still to be used on a volunteer basis – As there circumstances allow – so waiting times will rise
    But ultimately…
    Everyone is different – Everyones financial and personal circumstances are different – Everyones health issues are different

    The DIA and DVSA cannot issue a definite response for each individual, they must choose for themselves and no other instructor should be critical of a decision and choice someone else makes.

    Just a personal thought 🙂

  4. Avatar
    Veronica Holden

    It is very difficult to make a good judgement as the government never mention driving lessons,I see theory tests can be booked from 1st June but driving tests still on hold till end of June or later. I have gone through all the safety advice, which is extensive ,and some relies on a pupil giving accurate response to how they feel. Apparently people can have Covid before displaying symptoms and young people are generally less ill ,so could just feel a bit off but pass it on. As lockdown is just easing we do not know if infection will surge again so for my part I will wait a few more weeks before I restart lessons. on a side issue I expect that many young people will be less able to pay as many get income from part time work in places that have been closed .

  5. Avatar
    Gordon Clark

    IMO, the numbers of people infected and the high death toll tells me that starting lessons would be very high risk, I’ve decided to wait even if it takes a further two months. I would not wish to put my family at risk. The UK has been slow to react to the spread of this nasty virus, and a second surge is highly probable. Many young people have failed to maintain social distancing further undermining the efforts of most of us to stay at home. It will be interesting to see how the industry performs in the future, taking in to consideration job losses and a shrinking customer base. This may be balanced by some older instructors giving up altogether.

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