Changes to OBS: how they affect driving instructors and businesses

Changes to OBS how they affect driving instructors and businesses

Earlier this year I updated you on our progress on what we are doing to tackle businesses who are buying large amounts of tests and selling them for a profit.  

The purpose of ‘book and manage your pupils’ test service’ was to allow you to register your preferences so that your pupils can see when you are available when they are booking their tests. 

Users can also use the service to book and swap tests on your pupil’s behalf.  

If you want to register for the ‘book and manage your pupils test booking’ service, you’ll need to contact DVSA. 

Following a sharp growth in businesses registering to use OBS and offering learners tests for an additional fee, we’ve seen: 

  • an increase (20%) in traffic to our Customer Service Centre (CSC)  
  • an increase in applications to use OBS per week 
  • an increase in failure to attend 

So, we have made the decision to update the terms and conditions for the users of the Online Business Service.  

From 2 pm today (9 January), our updated terms and conditions came into effect.   

In this post, I want to: 

  • tell you more about the new terms and conditions for OBS  
  • update you about our review of the test booking system 
  • explain the results of the survey we ran for businesses.  

Updating the terms and conditions of OBS 

The next time users of OBS log into the system, they will be required to sign the new terms and conditions to use the service going forward.  

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Most of what has been updated includes clauses that explains more clearly how to use the system. It also sets out enforceable actions we may take should businesses be found to be abusing the system.  

Our updated terms and conditions mean that users of the service will need to:  

  • agree to appropriate use of the service and not using it to make a profit 
  • confirm that you meet our eligibility criteria for the service 
  • make it clear to pupils if they charge (or have plans to charge) any additional administrative fees when booking tests for pupils 
  • agree to not use candidate details for reserving tests without their permission 

We believe that these updated terms and conditions provides a clear message on what is expected of OBS users. We also think that this would also allow legitimate businesses not linked to an ADI a method of access to use the system. 

 You can read the full terms and conditions on GOV.UK. These changes will also affect motorcycle and vocational trainer bookers.  

What happens if the terms and conditions are breached 

Should we find that users are misusing their accounts, we have put in place the right to take the following steps: 

  • First warning – You will receive a warning letter  
  • Second warning – You will be unable to make any new bookings for 3 months, but will be able to manage bookings (swap and cancel) already on the system 
  • Third warning – Your account will be closed, and you will be unable to use the system. 
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These suspensions will apply to any driving instructors linked to the business account.  

Using your feedback 

We know some ADIs, and businesses use the system to swap and change driving test appointments. As a result we recently surveyed ADIs and businesses who use the service to find out more about how they use it and get their views on ways we could improve it.  

In response to the business survey, we found that: 

  • 73.8% of you said that on average you use the service to book up to 100 tests a month 
  • 52.7% of you said that you use the service to swap up to 100 tests for another per month  
  • 44.9% of you said that setting a test swap limit for each organisation based on their monthly use would be effective in stopping abuse of the service.  

We decided to survey businesses specifically as we know that overall, they use the service more than independent driving instructors and 75% of businesses book more than 100 tests a month.  

We’re also exploring the possibility of introducing a function which would allow users to search for 2 booking reference numbers when swapping tests. This functionality would be available for both business users and ADIs. 

The full results of the survey can be found on GOV.UK.

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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0