Operators have told the DVSA its earned recognition scheme will only work if it does not abuse the privilege of handling highly sensitive data.

The enforcement agency has delayed the programme’s introduction while it irons out problems relating to its technical feasibility.

It is now thought that another pilot lasting six months will be launched at The CV Show next month, meaning that a full scale rollout may not be possible until 2018.

But concerns about the scheme’s cost and benefits remain unresolved and there is also considerable unease about voluntarily handing the DVSA compliance data.

Former senior traffic commissioner Philip Brown described the system as “great” but cautioned: “Earned recognition as a concept makes sense for operators who are certain that they are 100% compliant.

"At present, it is a fact that minimal non-compliance can lead to a vehicle examiner or traffic examiner filing an adverse report on an operator to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.

“Operator licensing is based upon trust. In my view, it is only when operators can trust DVSA enforcement officers to provide help and advice on a consistent basis rather than concentrate upon enforcement, that there is likely to be widespread support for earned recognition amongst the industry.”

FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham said there was “anticipation” in the industry for earned recognition but that members would rather the DVSA got it right than on time.

He said: “It would be a poor outcome if they launch it and everyone says no, it’s not really for us. That would be a bit embarrassing for the DVSA.

“The justification for this is it’s all about allowing them to ease off compliant operators and go chase the cowboys and that has overwhelming support from our members, right across the board.”

Hookham said the system had to be easy to use with tangible benefits and he added: “Because DVSA will have access to a lot more information then they currently get at the roadside, the big thing they need to resolve is that they don’t abuse that privilege and spent a lot of time chasing up relatively minor infringements.

“That’s quite a challenge for the DVSA.”

The DVSA said its scheme was not delayed but that it did not yet have a launch date.

A spokesman added that any reference to IT suppliers in its announcements was “not about ‘problems’. It is a reference that participating operators will need to use IT suppliers to share its data with DVSA.”

DVSA is due to provide those attending the Microlise Transport Conference in May and update on the earned recognition project.