1 Shortcomings in Testing and Operation
1 When shortcomings are found either in testing or in the operation of the MOT Testing Service DVSA will take action according to the circumstances.
For minor shortcomings this will usually consist of advice or counselling, but for more serious cases (or repeated minor shortcomings)
formal disciplinary action may be considered.
2 The Secretary of State has absolute discretion to notify persons that they shall cease to be Authorised Examiners (AE) and/or Testers.
These functions are carried out on behalf of the Secretary of State by DVSA.
3 This section provides guidance for all involved in MOT testing, whether as Testers, AEs or DVSA staff, on how this discretion will normally be
applied and:- a. explains the procedures normally to be followed when DVSA becomes aware that a Tester and/or AE may not be maintaining
the required standards necessary to ensure integrity of the MOT Service; and b. sets out the maximum level of disciplinary action that will
normally be applicable so as to ensure procedural consistency.
4 The section is not intended as a set of rules to be rigidly applied. DVSA uses a disciplinary points system to gauge the severity of shortcomings,
the total number of points is then used as a guide to the appropriate level of disciplinary action. In judging what course to follow in a particular
case or series of cases, DVSA will consider all known circumstances and may alter the level of action to reflect the circumstances.
5 DVSA reserves the right to modify, in light of experience, the points or actions indicated in this section. DVSA will tell you about such modifications
in Special Notices or by amending the pages of this Guide. Where the Guide does not cater for a specific shortcoming, points will be allocated in
line with those given to shortcomings of similar significance.
6 DVSA may publish details of Vehicle Testing Stations (VTS) who have been removed from the MOT Service following formal disciplinary action.
Details will be published after the appeal period has lapsed or the appeal has been determined.
2 Underlying Principles - General
1. Where a vehicle is re-examined after test, any action taken will be based on its likely condition at the time of test,
taking into account all known factors that could have changed the condition of the vehicle.
2. All judgements are based on the balance of probabilities. However, the Secretary of State does have considerable discretion about who may be
Testers or AEs and, while seeking always to adhere to the principles stated here, reserves the right to exercise that discretion as widely as seems
appropriate to the particular circumstances.
3. In deciding the appropriate course of action to be taken shortcomings that constitute a threat to road safety, having an impact on the environment
or likely to affect the integrity of the MOT scheme or DVSA will be treated with the utmost seriousness and carry more weight in the determination
of the final outcome.
4. The outcome of formal disciplinary action may take the form of: a. No further action; b. Advisory Warning Letter;
c. The issue of a Formal Warning (with or without additional training);
d. Cessation of a Tester’s approval or an AE’s authorisation in the form of either:
i. Short Term Cessation (for 28 calendar days with conditional return see I7.5c);
or ii. Cessation (for 2 or 5 years).
5. Where a problem is brought to DVSA's attention, either by a Tester who is being pressurised by an AE to test improperly or by an AE who is
unhappy with a Tester's performance, this will not normally count against the party reporting it. However, where an AE is unhappy with the
testing standards of a Tester the AE should consider stopping the Tester from testing pending the outcome of any action by DVSA.
6. Testers must be in a fit condition, both physically and mentally, to carry out testing to the required standard. A Tester taking medication
should read the instructions for its use and, if in doubt, not continue testing without their doctor’s confirmation that the medication will not
affect their ability to test. If a Tester is recovering from illness or injury he should test only if confirmed as fully fit to do so.
A Tester being on medication or recovering from illness will not normally be treated as mitigation for errors in testing.
7. The effectiveness of a Tester who is under severe emotional stress must also be suspect. If the stress is likely to affect the Tester's ability to
test they should not test. Similarly, Testers whose judgement may be affected by alcohol or other substances should not test. In either event,
these factors will not normally be regarded as mitigation, however, each case will be treated on the merits of the evidence available. AEs
should implement reasonable management controls to try to ensure that the Testers they use are in a fit condition to test.
3 Underlying Principles - Testers
1. The following principles relate to disciplinary action against Testers:
a. In cases involving Tester's judgement or minor procedural omissions or deviations from the testing system a Formal Warning will usually be issued on
the first offence that in DVSA's opinion justifies formal action;
b. Where there is one or more instances of more serious procedural omissions or deviations from the testing standards this may lead to a
Short Term Cessation;
c. Where there are instances of significant procedural omissions (e.g. major elements of the test missed), significant negligence or
significant malpractice, a single instance will usually lead to Cessation;
d. A single serious incident of substandard testing that could have a significant effect on road safety will usually lead to Cessation;
e. Cessation will usually be justified for a single case if the Tester is personally involved in an act which could also justify single offence cessation
for an AE;
f. Cessation will be justified if a Tester receives any conviction, as defined in Appendix 7 Convictions and Repute.
g. Cessation will be justified if a tester is deemed to no longer be of “good repute”, as defined in Appendix 7 Convictions and Repute.
h. A Tester who has been required to stop testing because of failure to complete required training or demonstration tests but who continues to
take part in testing, other than as an assistant, may have disciplinary action taken against them resulting in cessation.
i. Where disciplinary action has resulted in the issue of a Formal Warning or Short Term Cessation letter this may be taken into consideration
should further disciplinary action be contemplated. Such letters generally remain valid for 5 years from their date of issue, although this is reduced
to 2 years in circumstances detailed in Appendix 8.4D.
4 Underlying Principles - Authorised Examiners
1. The following principles relate to disciplinary action against AEs:
a. Cessation will be considered where any individual involved in an Authorisation receives any conviction, as defined in Appendix 7 Convictions
b. Cessation will be considered where any individual in an Authorisation is deemed to no longer be of “good repute”, as defined in
Appendix 7 Convictions and Repute.
c. Except in the case of very serious infringements that DVSA consider to justify single offence cessation action, an AE will normally have been
issued with a Formal Warning and given the opportunity to correct failings, before the subsequent offences under consideration lead to the
cessation of Authorisation. Appendix 8.1 indicates the type of case usually considered to be very serious.
d. Where offences are serious enough to justify consideration for cessation, with the exception of single offence cessation, Short Term Cessation
(with or without training) action will normally be considered in the first instance.
e. Where single offence cessation is considered, DVSA will take care to ensure that the offence justifies such serious action having regard to the
risk to road safety and/or the repute of the MOT Service.
f. Normally, the points counted against an AE will be no less than those counted against the Tester for the same fault unless there is clear evidence
of deceit by the Tester and the AE has not been remiss in the application of management controls and quality assurance. Tester shortcomings
brought to DVSA's attention by an AE as a result of management quality checks will not normally be counted against the AE.
g. Where disciplinary action has resulted in the issue of a Formal Warning or Short Term Cessation letter, this may be taken into consideration
should further disciplinary action be contemplated. Such letters generally remain valid for 5 years from their date of issue, although this is reduced
to 2 years in circumstances detailed in Appendix 8.4.D.
2. The following principles relate to disciplinary action against Multi site AEs:
a. In considering cases involving AEs who operate at more than 1 site, each site will be treated separately in the first instance. If the repute of the
MOT Service is considered to have suffered through the actions of the AE, DVSA has the right to issue a Notice of Cessation to the AE regarding all
of the Authorised Examiners’ sites. If a specific site is subject to cessation for disciplinary reasons then no further sites will be authorised in the
same catchment area within the period of cessation. Regardless of whether any individual sites are subject to Notices of Cessation, DVSA may review
the overall effectiveness of that AE's management system. If it appears to DVSA that there are problems affecting a significant proportion of sites
DVSA may ask for an action plan to be prepared and implemented to improve the group performance. If problems continue, DVSA may consider
granting no further Authorisations until the record of the remaining parts of the group has improved or, in severe cases issuing Notices of Cessation
to part or all of the group. In considering the overall performance of the group, convictions relating to non-VTS sites within the group may also be
taken into consideration.
b. Where an Authorised Examiner has been shown on the balance of probabilities to be culpable of misdemeanours affecting all sites
(e.g. deliberate failure of minor items to encourage trade) and the resulting accumulated disciplinary points are sufficient to warrant
disciplinary action all sites may be issued with Notices of Cessation.
5 Disciplinary Action - How it Can Arise
Here are some examples of typical circumstances that can lead to disciplinary action against a Tester or AE - it is not an exhaustive list of
all possible circumstances.
a. A justified complaint where defects have been found on a vehicle previously given a test certificate; this is known as an 'inverted appeal'.*
b. A justified appeal against refusal to issue a test certificate; this is known as a 'statutory appeal'.
c. A re-examination of a recently tested vehicle by DVSA revealing an incorrect pass/fail decision.*
d. An observed test where a vehicle (with or without induced defects) is submitted for examination by a ‘mystery shopper’ (a person posing
as a customer) in order to check the Tester’s testing methods and/or standards (a ‘mystery shopper’ test) and those methods or standards appear
to be inadequate/incorrect.
e. An unobserved test with induced defects. This provides for leaving the vehicle at the VTS and collecting it later that day in order to check the
Tester’s testing methods and/or standards. Generally this is used to target sites where there are perceived standards issues or other
enforcement methods are impracticable.
f. An observed test when DVSA has asked for test procedures to be demonstrated by a Tester and these procedures have proved unsatisfactory.
g. The recognition by DVSA of a deficiency in the operation of the MOT Service at a VTS.
h. Other more involved investigations in cases where DVSA believe there may be significant abuses, which may include covert surveillance of
sites offering MOT tests or at sites where potentially testable vehicles are present.
i. Data analysis and/or intelligence may have triggered investigations leading to identification of a deficiency.
j. Involvement in offering a service that undermines MOT test standards and/or the integrity of the MOT testing service, such as removing or
bypassing Emission control equipment or the “clocking” of odometer instruments. *
Note: Serious corrosion will not normally be considered to warrant disciplinary action, for the application of incorrect testing standards,
if it was reported more than three months after the original test. In the case of other defects, disciplinary action is unlikely to be considered if
the fault was reported more than 28 days after the original test.
6 Points Evaluation and Possible Action
1. Shortcomings found are scored under a points system; the points for particular shortcomings (and for credits) are set out in the appendices
listed below. Shortcomings not listed are allocated the same scores as others of similar seriousness.
Single Offence Cessation 8.1
Incorrect test standards 8.2
Incorrect test methods 8.3
Incorrect operation of MOT Service 8.4
Action after Initial Assessment of Points
2. The course of action to be taken by DVSA will be determined by DVSA's initial assessment of the number of points scored. A low score may lead
to advice (see paragraph 4 below) being given to the Tester and/or AE, whereas a higher score may result in DVSA considering formal disciplinary action.
In the later instance the case will be reviewed by DVSA to determine whether starting the formal disciplinary procedure is justified; if it is not,
appropriate advice may be issued to the AE and/or Tester.
3. At the end of this section is a flow-chart showing the normal chain of events from the finding of shortcomings to the point at which action
4. If the points score from a visit or occurrence is below the level shown in the chart at the end of this section, advice will normally be given.
It is not part of the formal disciplinary system and would not be considered directly in any future formal disciplinary action. However,
it can be taken into account in considering the significance of mitigation offered in a formal disciplinary case arising within 5 years of the advice
being given. For any advice to be used in this way it must be given in writing and this will normally be via a copy of the Vehicle Examiner’s report.
5. Formal disciplinary action will normally be initiated if the points score from a visit or occurrence is at or above the level shown in the chart at
the end of this section.
7 Formal Disciplinary Procedure
1. Except in the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 13 and 14 of this sub-section, if formal disciplinary action is to be considered, a letter
(referred to as a Contemplated Disciplinary letter) will be sent to each of those parties against whom action is being considered.
The letter will be accompanied by copies of all documentary evidence that is being considered such as Vehicle Examiner's reports or
photographs, and will invite written representations to be made about the case within 15 working days of the date of the letter.
In addition, if the maximum level of sanction indicated is cessation, the Contemplated Disciplinary letter will note any previous
Formal Warnings and Short Term Cessation letters which will be considered in deciding what action DVSA will take. Representations may also be made
about these previous cases as specified in the Contemplated Disciplinary Letter.
2. Once the deadline is passed, DVSA will consider the action to be taken. All representations made by, or on behalf of, the Tester or AE will be studied,
together with the evidence and photographs sent along with the Contemplated Disciplinary letter. Should any new evidence (other than clarification or
confirmation of previous evidence) be considered by DVSA, the Tester or AE will be given the opportunity to comment on it.
3. The case will then be re-scored in light of all the evidence offered.
4. DVSA will review the evidence and representations on any previous Formal Warnings and/or Short Term Cessation letters that are being considered.
Any further representations that have been made on those cases that have not previously been formally reviewed and any new additional evidence
about previous cases that have been formally reviewed will be considered, and points already awarded for them may be reduced by DVSA if
Normal Level of Action
5. Where a case is judged serious enough to justify formal action, one of the following options will be chosen:
a. A Formal Warning, a warning which will be taken into account in the event of future formal disciplinary action. A Formal Warning may be
accompanied by a recommendation for additional training.
b. A Formal Warning as in ‘a’ above but with a requirement to successfully complete additional training. The notice will also tell the Tester or AE that
if they do not complete and record evidence of the training they will be prevented from testing from a date specified. That date will normally be 35
working days after the date of the notice. Once the training has been successfully completed, testing rights will be restored. The case will still count as
a Formal Warning should any future disciplinary action be considered.
c. A Tester’s approval or AE’s authorisation will cease in the form of either a:
i. Short Term Cessation, for a period of 28 calendar days;
ii. Cessation, for a period of 2 or 5 years. Testers and AEs will be notified of the final decision in writing along with any condition attached to the
outcome. 6 Where the outcome is either form of cessation a Tester or AE must reapply to be accepted back into the MOT Service.
• A Tester must demonstrate they meet the acceptable criteria for becoming a Tester as specified in section E2 of the MOT Testing Guide. In addition
they must also complete the required training and complete a practical demonstration.
• An AE must demonstrate they meet the current Requirements for Authorisation and their AEDM must attend an MOT Managers course. In the case of a
Short Term Cessation this may take the form of a declaration confirming the authorisation remains unchanged and the AEDM may have to attend an MOT
Managers course if they have not done so in the previous 2 years.
Note: DVSA will accept an application at any time after the issue of the Notice of Cessation in respect to a Short Term Cessation. Testing may only
resume after the 28 day cessation period and once these conditions have been met.
7. The maximum level of sanction normally considered appropriate for any particular points score is set out in the following appendices:
Authorised Examiners 8.7
8. If the maximum level of sanction indicated is cessation, credits will be given for certain positive steps taken to ensure satisfactory testing standards
and positive evidence of satisfactory testing. These credits are set out in Appendix 8.5. Credit points will not normally be considered in cases where
single offence cessation is appropriate.
9. Additionally, in the case of an AE, if evidence is offered of the operation of a qualitycontrol or quality management regime significantly better than
the minimum acceptable to DVSA, this will be taken into consideration and could lead to a reduction in the level of sanction taken. Notice of Cessation
10. Where cessation is the outcome of formal disciplinary action this will normally become effective 35 working days after the issue of a
Notice of Cessation.
In the case of Cessation for 2 or 5 years this period may be reduced (i.e. the notice has early effect) should DVSA believe there to be a serious
risk to road safety.
11. For a Tester the notice period before cessation becomes effective may be reduced to;
a. 10 working days if the particular case justifies more than 100 points after any credits have been taken into account; or
b. 1 day if the particular case justifies 500 points or more.
12. For an AE the notice period before cessation becomes effective may be reduced to;
a. 10 working days if the particular case justifies 200 points or more after any credits have been considered and previous Formal Warnings and/or Short
Term Cessations justifying a total of 140 points or more are still valid;
b. 1 day if the case being considered justifies single offence cessation under Appendix 8.1, paragraphs A1; A2 (where the conviction is for a
very serious offence in connection with the MOT Service or motor trade); A3d, A4e or A4f.
13. Cessation may be implemented with 1 days’ notice (without DVSA first issuing the normal Contemplated Disciplinary letter or considering any
representation) in a few very serious cases that DVSA sees as representing a very significant risk to road safety or the integrity of the MOT Service.
14. Cessations in relation to convictions or repute, as defined in Appendix 7 Convictions and Repute will normally be implemented for:
a. The AE, 28 days after the DVSA have been notified.
b. A Tester, with immediate effect.
Period of cessation for Testers
15. When a Tester ceases to be approved for disciplinary reasons, this will normally be for:
• 28 calendar days in the case of Short-Term Cessation, or
• 2 years, the period may be extended to 5 years where the cessation results from serious fraud, dishonesty or gross negligence under Appendix 8.1.
• An Indefinite period, where cessation has been actioned in relation to conviction or repute, as defined in Appendix 7 Convictions and Repute.
Period of cessation for Authorised Examiners
16. When an AE has ceased to be authorised for disciplinary reasons this will normally be for:
• 28 calendar days in the case of Short-Term Cessation,
• 5 years, although this is reduced to 2 years in circumstances detailed in Appendix 8.4.D and apply to the legal entity which is the AE
(see Section B1 paragraph 5) and also to the individuals mentioned in Section B3 paragraph 7.
• An indefinite period, where cessation has been actioned in relation to conviction or repute, as defined in Appendix 7 Convictions and Repute.
8 Appeals against Cessation.
1. Testers who have ceased to be approved and AEs who have ceased to be authorised following disciplinary action may appeal against the action
to the Secretary of State.
2. An AE or Tester wishing to lodge such an appeal must do so in writing, as soon as possible and no later than 14 days after the date of the
Notice of Cessation, via the DVSA Office that notified the decision. Cessation will take effect on the date notified even if the appeal is still
under consideration. The Secretary of State has delegated the decision on such appeals to the Chief Executive of DVSA who is supported by a
wholly independent section.
3. An appellant may ask for an informal hearing, guidance on which can be found in Appendix 8.8.
9 Formal Warning Review
There is currently no statutory right for a Tester or AE to appeal against the issue of a Formal Warning at the time it is issued however,
there is a non-statutory provision for a Tester or AE to request a review of a Formal Warning.
If a Tester or AE believes that the issue of a current Formal Warning was unjustified, and/or the disciplinary points allocation was excessive
he may request a review of the decision.
A Tester or AE wishing to request such a review must do so in writing - no later than 14 days after the date of issue of the Formal Warning letter
– via the DVSA Office that issued the Formal Warning. The Formal Warning will be independently reviewed by the DVSA MOT Appeals Section.
Where cessation is contemplated and previous Formal Warnings cited, Testers and AEs may make representations about all cited Formal Warnings,
irrespective of those that have already been formally reviewed.