Driver CPC reform in the works
Option could be put in place to pass test rather than sit through hours of training
Plans to reform the way Driver CPC (DCPC) training is worked are being consulted over.
The key changes include offering in parallel to the existing lengthy training format, which will be reformed, more flexibility with e-learning and a shorter ‘new periodic test’ intended to save employees time and companies up to £460 per test in early estimates. The proposal is part of the government’s plans to explore how to best improve DCPC to increase flexibility and choice for drivers to help safeguard road safety, and support the industry in retaining and recruiting staff.
The government believes reforms to training as well as the new cheaper and shorter periodic test will offer an accelerated route for former drivers to return to the sector more easily. It is hoped bus and coach driver numbers will be boosted through the proposed changes.
If implemented, reforms will establish a National DCPC for use in Great Britain and potentially Northern Ireland. The existing regime, the International DCPC, will remain for travel to, from or within the EU and will continue to be recognised for journeys within the UK.
The government notes the changes to the training regulations are now possible due to the UK leaving the EU, which mandated the requirement for drivers to take DCPC.
The move follows concerns raised by the bus, coach and HGV industries that in its current form the DCPC qualification is making it more difficult to retain and attract drivers to the sector, with high costs, poor flexibility and extended length of training among the main barriers to progress.
A proposed option that could be put in place is for drivers to pass a formal periodic test instead of attending courses in an effort to cut down on the hours spent training. The test could assess understanding of key safety and professional practices, a potential positive impact on safety. The new periodic test will be delivered by the DVSA and will continue to meet existing training standards.
The proposed changes will only impact drivers who are maintaining their DCPC or regaining it, having previously held one but let it lapse.
“This is a key priority for us as we continue to look for ways to tackle skills shortages in the transport sector” – RHA Managing Director, Richard Smith
RHA Managing Director, Richard Smith, said: “We welcome the news that DfT is consulting on proposed DCPC reform to offer more choice and flexibility for drivers. This is a key priority for us as we continue to look for ways to tackle skills shortages in the transport sector. We look forward to reflecting our members’ views in the weeks ahead.”
“We welcome the Department of Transport listening to bus and coach operators’ calls for a package of policies to improve driver recruitment and retention” – Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport
Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “We welcome the Department of Transport listening to bus and coach operators’ calls for a package of policies to improve driver recruitment and retention. The consultation to simplify the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence renewal process is a positive step and we will work with CPT members to develop our response.”
“Having a CPC which is more appropriate to the situation that many firms find themselves in potentially provides a way forward” – Peter Bradley, Managing Director of the UK Coach Operators
Peter Bradley, Managing Director of the UK Coach Operators, said. “This is welcome news. There are still many coach operators up and down the country looking for drivers and situation is only going to get worse as the summer approaches. Having a CPC which is more appropriate to the situation that many firms find themselves in potentially provides a way forward. We welcome the issuing of the consultation and will be responding on behalf of our members.”
- The consultation is open until 27 April and can be viewed here.