The DVSA’s head of enforcement has hinted that the agency’s flagship earned recognition scheme could go live this year, despite the organisation’s chief executive previously appearing to rule this out.

Speaking at the Microlise Transport Conference, Gordon Macdonald said the scheme, which was intended to have already been launched, was again being piloted with operators.

The pilot will run until autumn of this year. “We envisage going live at some point in autumn,” Macdonald said.

At this point, OCRS will be updated and the DVSA will publish earned recognition lists, changes to the DVSA roadside process will be changed, and operators in the pilot will move to accredited status, he said.

Earned recognition should, in theory, allow the DVSA to target the cowboys in the industry, leaving compliant operators that share data with the agency to get on with their day-to-day jobs unburdened by multiple roadside checks.

Macdonald said while it had garnered interest from many larger operators, the scheme should benefit the entirety of the transport industry, large and small.

Initially 68% of delegates at Microlise said they saw value in applying for earned recognition (19% did not), something that rose slightly when they were asked again after the presentation.

Quizzed on if they thought their transport management systems were ready for earned recognition, delegates replied: 29% don’t know; 30% fully ready; 30% partially, driver activities; and 11% partially, vehicle maintenance.

In March, DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn’s said in the agency’s business plans that the scheme was underway and would “be rolled out next year”.

His comments followed reports that the agency had delayed the introduction of the scheme while it ironed out bugs, suggesting a 2018 introduction.

A freedom of information response received in April revealed the DVSA had spent to date a little over £231,000 researching and developing its flagship earned recognition programme.

Earning you recognition

At application an operator would need to demonstrate that the compliance levels required by the scheme had been met; that KPIs are being achieved and that there has been no adverse disciplinary with the traffic commissioners in the past two years. Following an application being accepted, the operator would need to attain an independent compliance systems audit from a DVSA-approved provider. They would then be accredited with earned recognition status and move into the monitoring phase of the scheme (both electronic systems for driver and maintenance KPIs would then be monitored by DVSA). As long as no compliance issues were thrown up, the operator would supply a periodic audit every two years to the agency.