Fewer than 3% of ATF Operators Association (ATFOA) members feel opening their authorised testing facility (ATF) was a ‘very good’ investment, Motortransport.co.uk can reveal.

A survey the association conducted in September, based on feedback from 70 ATF operators, asked respondents to choose which of six options best described their feelings about the time and investment involved in setting up their testing facility.

Just 2.9% said it was a very good investment and one they would go into again; with a further 12.9% describing it as a reasonable investment; just over 42% saying it was a reasonable investment with more potential if devolvement of the whole testing process was to take place; and almost 19% described it as a bad investment for now, but with the potential to improve, subject to devolvement.

A further 10% said they were unsure. None, however, opted for the worst available option – that opening an ATF had been an awful investment.

The ATFOA survey also asked members to rate the fairness on a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being the most unfair) of the three main measures Vosa announced in June in a contractual clampdown on ATF operators.

These were: cancelling provision of examiners if ATF utilisation was below expected levels; if the ATF cancelled booked test periods with fewer than seven days’ notice; or if they failed to fund their accounts in time to satisfy drawdowns by Vosa more than twice in a month. In all three cases, close to 60% of respondents gave the measures a rating of eight, nine or 10. A further 11% rated them as a six or seven.


Subsequently Vosa has appeared to to soften its position in regards certain aspects of the proposed clamp down.

ATFOA president and MD of Boleyn Recovery and Fleet Services Stephen Smith told MT he was not surprised by the responses. He said his members were “worried these additional rules, which we feel are outside the contract at the moment, will be written into the next generation of contracts as KPI measurements”.

Vosa had not provided a response as MT went to press.

Two respected road transport legal firms have suggested Vosa’s June contract clamp down would be beyond some aspects of the contract if enforced.