Vehicle Inspectorate Evidence to the Environment,
Transport & Regional Affairs Committee
4.1 AIM AND
4.1.1 The Vehicle Inspectorate (VI) was
established as an Executive Agency on 1 August 1988. The Agency
is responsible, in conjunction with other authorities, for supporting
drivers, vehicle owners and operators in complying with vehicle
safety and environmental standards. This is achieved through various
activities which can be described as deterrent, educational and
advisory or enforcement.
4.1.2 VI currently employs 1,808 staff working
across England, Scotland and Wales in Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV)
testing stations (91), area enforcement offices (23) or in headquarters
offices. The main headquarters is in Bristol. The Agencies annual
turnover is £69 million (1999-2000). Over recent years VI
has worked to develop an integrated and involved organisation
with devolved responsibility to allow individual creativity and
4.1.3 VI supports three DETR objectives,
delivery of regulatory and other
transport services to the public;
reducing the impact of transport
on the environment; and
improving health and safety standards
by reducing risks from work, travel and the environment.
Agency Aim and Objectives
4.1.4 A change has been made to the previous
wording of VI's aim which was: "to contribute to the maintenance
and the improvement of road safety and environmental standards".
The underlined words have now been deleted and although only a
minor difference the revised wording is more proactive: "to
contribute to the improvement of road safety and environmental
standards".Delivery of VI's aim is achieved through four
To raise the compliance of the road
haulage and passenger transport industries with roadworthiness,
road traffic and environmental standardsthrough the delivery
of effective training, testing, advisory and enforcement services.
To improve the roadworthiness and
environmental acceptability of private motor vehiclesthrough
the delivery of effective MOT and Single Vehicle Approval (SVA)
To offer modernised and customer-friendly
servicesthrough the provision of easily accessible and
understandable services which minimise the burden on law abiding
operators and motorists; working closely with the DVO group and
other Government bodies to deliver joined up services.
To run an efficient, continually
developing and valued businessthrough the achievement of
our Trading Fund objectives; improvement in the effectiveness
and efficiency of our processes; beneficial investment in our
people, estate, equipment and information systems.
4.1.5 This set of objectives was devised
from April 2000 to fit better with the concept of service delivery
as described in the Modernising Government programme. VI's Business
Plan is now structured around these four business objectives with
individual staff objectives for each financial year linked back
to one or more of the four. This process helps staff to see more
clearly how their work fits into the bigger picture.
4.1.6 Improved delivery against VI's aim
and objectives is driven by five strategic themes introduced in
1999-2000. Through corporate planning, headline activities are
identified which enable progress in these areas. The themes are:
a greater educational and advisory
new developments (legislative changes
and selling into wider markets); and
sharper performance management.
4.1.7 Overall the direction of the organisation
is evolution from a perceived policing role delivering against
numbers of targets, to one which includes more of an education
and advisory culture delivering output with a greater focus on
effectiveness quality rather than quantity.
Management of the Agency
4.1.8 The Chief Executive, Maurice Newey,
has been in post since April 1998. He is responsible to the Secretary
of State for the day to day running and management, performance
and future development of the Agency within the terms of the Framework
Document. This document has been reviewed and updated in the past
year. Changes,which were of a minor nature, have been approved
by DETR (C) and the Treasury and signed off by the Minister. A
copy is included with the submitted reference documents.
4.1.9 VI's activities are managed through
five Directorates. These are detailed in the organisation chart
at appendix B, which also shows current Directors in post. The
structure was introduced during the 1997-98 financial year and
is based on elements of the Business Excellence Model. The change
of emphasis from the former functional structure (Testing/ Enforcement/
Corporate Services/CEO's office) was made to further improve customer
focus (from operations to the end user and from policy to the
department); and, to enable better communication, more cohesive
planning and clearer definition of roles and responsibilities.
It also allowed for the establishment of an HR director post without
increasing the number of senior grades. The restructuring improved
VI's effectiveness by providing a sharper focus on delivering
its main objectives.
4.1.10 Since 1995 VI have been developing
internal planning mechanisms to create a robust, integrated and
clearly understood process. The Corporate Plan sets the medium
to long term strategic direction for the organisation including
"enabling" action plans for taking the business forward.
An annual Business Plan is extracted from the Corporate Plan and
is published to cover each financial year (April to March). A
summarised version is distributed to staff and a more comprehensive
internal version forms the basis of the business' electronic monthly
performance report. Action is in hand to have the Annual Plan
on VI's web-site from this year. A copy of the Business Plan 2000-01
is included with the reference documents.
4.1.11 Plans and processes are debated and
agreed with both DETR(C) through the Vehicle Inspectorate Advisory
Board (VIAB) and more recently involvement has extended to the
Driver,Vehicle and Operators (DVO) group. Close working with policy
customers in the Department is being improved through the recently
established Enforcement Support group. Internally the process
encourages involvement from both the top down and the bottom up
with the aim of ensuring joined-up thinking, owned prioritisation
and integrated budgeting. This year VI have introduced an electronic
planning database which allows the corporate plan to be a "living"
document easily updated by the responsible managers and widely
accessible within the organisation. Regular staff briefings also
assist improved awareness of process and plans.
4.1.12 The Agency became a Trading Fund
in 1991. The Government Trading Funds Act, as amended, requires
VI to manage the funded operations so that costs incurred in undertaking
all aspects of work are matched by the appropriate income received.
Appendix C details satisfactory financial performance against
this objective in the past five years.
4.1.13 Return on capital (ROC) and efficiency
targets are further measures reflecting the financial performance
of the business:
The ROC target of 6 per cent for
the period 1 April 1991 to 31 March 1998 was exceeded with the
actual rate of return equating to an average of 7.3 per cent.
The target for the period 1 April 1998 to 31 March 2003 is again
6 per cent and VI are on course to meet this.
Efficiency is measured through the
Agency's Aggregated Cost Efficiency Index (ACE). ACE looks at
changes in the unit costs of each Scheme. The outputs and costs
of the year are compared with those of the previous year (after
taking inflation into account). This information is then pulled
together in a single index for the Inspectorate. A cumulative
+29 per cent improvement in efficiency has been achieved since
VI became a Trading Fund in 1991,and +38 per cent since becoming
an Agency in 1988.
4.1.14 The Trading Fund accounts are published
in the Annual Report and Accounts each year as a House of Commons
paper.They are subject to an audit certificate by the Comptroller
and Auditor General. VI's accounts to date have received no qualification
to the audit opinion.
Major developments in the business
4.1.15 Over recent years, VI have managed
a number of significant changes in the business. These include
implementing legislation on HGV re-plating for new vehicle weights;
and PSV seat belt checks following new legislation in August 1998
in response to public concern. VI received good feedback from
the industry on the quality of guidance given; effectiveness was
reflected in the subsequent low fail rate. VI's testing role has
been expanded to include Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) testing,
whereby non-EU type-approved commercial imports, amateur-built
vehicles and personal imports are inspected and certified to ensure
they meet with UK vehicle regulations. Currently VI issue 15,000
certificates annually. Volumes are expected to rise substantially
in 2000-01 now that agreement has been reached on the lifting
of quotas and that older vehicles are to be included in the scheme.
Another major recent development is the project for computerisation
of MOT testing. This will create an MOT database, deliver electronically
MOT standard information to testers, provide and collect vehicle
and test information and issue test documentation. The PFI contract
was let in February 2000 having been the first significant procurement
project to pass scrutiny by the Treasury and Cabinet Office pre-contract
4.1.16 In support of a clear focus on improving
the Agency's effectiveness, a major IS strategy has been implemented.
The IS programme has meant a major change in working practices,
with the introduction of new IT-based information and recording
systems. Staff now use these systems at the roadside to obtain
operator and vehicle history data, to input the results of their
checks and to issue prohibitions (ie notices preventing vehicles
from being used until a defect has been rectified and the vehicle
inspectedprohibitions can be immediate (for very dangerous
items) or delayed allowing a variable period of time, dependent
on degree of risk prior to the prohibition coming into force).
Such a significant change, and the challenges of using new technology
in the harsh roadside environment, has brought with it many challenges
which have progressively been met. The systems have already started
to help improve consistency in VI's enforcement activities with
work now being done to improve the systems to help increase staff
Business Performance Management
4.1.17 To maintain a balanced delivery of
performance across the business and to ensure issues are addressed
in an integrated way, VI utilises a balanced scorecard system.
VI's balanced scorecard consists of the following quadrants: excellent
services to our customers (within government and external); sound
financial performance; continuing improvement of internal management;
and, investment for the future. The balanced scorecard technique
guards against meeting short/medium term measures (service and
financial) to the detriment of the more long term measures (improved
internal management and investment) which will keep the organisation
healthy and better able to cope with change.
4.1.18 Regular performance reports (monthly/quarterly)
keep VI managers and Directors informed on progress against the
plans through an exception reporting process. Similar reports
allow DETR(C) and the VI Advisory Board to monitor in-year performance
while public reporting of our performance is through the publication
of the Annual Report and audited Accounts. A successful development
of performance reporting has been the Effectiveness Report which
was first published to cover 1995-96. It provides more detailed
results and analysis on activities undertaken in the year and
a fuller assessment commentary than previously achieved through
the sole Annual report and Accounts. The report was well received
and is now published annually, although the content and layout
have been revised following customer feedback.
4.2.1 In 1995-96 VI planned a move away
from 11 targets which predominantly focused on counting activity
rather than effect. Work began on developing a set of strategic
targets that more meaningfully embraced the aim to improve road
safety and environmental standards allowing a more sensible focus
on our effectiveness. At the same time the new measures gave VI
greater flexibility to allocate resources to achieve targets.
A balanced view
4.2.2 With the introduction of the Balanced
Scorecard in 1996-97, performance reporting was expanded to cover
not only delivery of customer requirements and financial measures
but also delivery of work which ensures the longer-term viability
of the organisation. Over the years these measures have included
customer surveys; increased staff awareness and satisfaction;
achievement of Investors in People (IiP); implementation of a
major Information Systems (IS) strategy; and more recently the
setting up and running of the MOT Computerisation project.
4.2.3 VI's workforce has a real vocation
for the improvement of road safety and environmental protection.
Having appropriate performance measures is crucial in enabling
staff to identify ways of improving effectiveness and is essential
in providing the right motivation. Development of performance
measures has to ensure that staff can see that the targets will
truly lead to improvements in these areas. For example, enhancement
of assessing quality and effectiveness has been delivered by moving
from straight counting of the number of prohibitions and prosecutions
to a points system. Detection and follow-up action relating to
offences of greater severity results in a higher number of points
and encourages staff to give investigation of these offences a
higher priority. The result is more attention focused on serious
Assessing value added
4.2.4 As a next step in the development
of performance measurement, the concept of "Performance Gain"
(PG) is being explored. PG aims to measure where VI has been more
or less effective in using its resources to improve road safety
and environmental standards from one year to the next. It does
this by linking outcomes from different activities to their potential
impact on safety and allocating a score appropriate to that impact
(whether it be of a deterrent, education and advisory or enforcement
nature).The intention is that VI would be set a score to achieve
across its activities and that the agreed outcome values would
encourage staff to pursue the most effective activities within
the constraints of resources available (subject to any statutory
minima which must be deliveredfor example EU Regulations
require a minimum number of tachograph chart inspections). In
this way PG is able to measure year-on-year change in both effectiveness
4.2.5 PG is currently being piloted in 5
of the 23 enforcement areas and work is in hand to assess its
potential across the rest of the business. Ideally it will provide
a satisfactory mechanism to not only promote effectiveness but
also satisfactorily measure efficiency. This will allow the replacement
of the current ACE efficiency target which has outlived its usefulness
as a measure.
4.2.6 Looking further ahead, VI intend to
identify aspirational targets for demonstrable improvements in
overall road safety and environmental standards. As part of this
process VI have undertaken random compliance surveys at the roadside
to obtain a true picture of the state of the HGV and PSV vehicle
fleets and the level of compliance of drivers and operators with
the law. These checks then provide a baseline against which VI
compare the effectiveness of targeting and show year-on-year improvement
in standards. VI is not the only agency that might influence overall
standards, eg police enforcement will have an impact. VI are looking
at how to establish aspirational targets, linking reductions in
accidents and offences to improvements in road safety while recognising
that VI does not have full control over these outcomes.
4.2.7 For the past two years seven key targets
have covered: Effectiveness; Throughput; Customer Focus; Finance
(ROC); Efficiency (ACE); Internal Management; and, Investment.
While these key targets are now of a more strategic nature and
can remain fairly constant, each one is supported by a number
of key measures which if necessary, can be amended annually to
meet changing Ministerial priorities. The key targets are further
supported by a wider package of performance indicators which provide
a more complete picture of performance across the business. Public
Service Agreement (PSA) targets are embedded within the key targets
and performance indicators.
4.2.8 A key target summary below shows the
comparative annual performance over the period 1 April 1998 to
31 March 2000. Overall the last two years have been particularly
challenging for VI with IS implementation and specialist staff
recruitment difficulties impacting on our ability to meet completely
each of the targets.Although performance has been affected by
the introduction of IS systems at the roadside (which has required
extra retrieving and recording of information), this has to be
balanced against an improvement in targeting and an increase in
the number of successful prosecutions. As IS systems are further
bedded in, increased benefits to the organisation are anticipated
through the improved use of intelligence and data. This factor
together with improved recruitment at the beginning of this financial
year, allow an increased confidence in the ability to meet all
targets, with a marked growth in effectiveness.
Delivery against Key Targets in 1998-1999 and
|Key target 1:Effectiveness
|To meet the quality and general effectiveness levelsas specified in the Business Plan measures setfor 1999/2000
||Achieved 5 of 6 set measures
||Achieved 12 of 14 set measures
One measure missed by 1 per cent though performance in this
area improving by 11 per cent on prior year. As new ways of working
together with improved use of intelligence and data have an increasing
impact, VI anticipate steady improvement.
|Key target 2:Throughput
|To meet the requirements on levels and types|
of activity laid down in the Memorandum
of Agreement on each Road Transport
Enforcement Scheme as agreed with the Department
of the Environment, Transport and Regions
outputs on 2 of 3
Achieved 3 of 3
Achieved 16 of 22
Plan to overcome delivery difficulties in 2000-01 as recruitment
shortfall is reduced and IS systems bed in. The number of "key"measures
reduced year to ensure clearer focus on priorities and greater
flexibility in deployment of resource so VI continue move away
from delivering many specified activities to delivering more effective
outcomes in road safety terms.
|Key target 3: Customer Focus
|To continue to improve customer focus across VI|
through the implementation of initiatives in line with Better
Government and government direct policies
|Although the specific wording and supporting measures of this key target are amended annually, such an approach providesfor a clear remit to continually improve customer service but with a clear focus on current priorities in each year. Apart from the detailed measures we were required to meet specific to this year, a range of ongoing activities was undertaken throughout the organisation ensuring we listened, and responded to customer needs.
|Key target 4: Financial (ROC)
|To break even while achieving an average 6% real rate of return on capital, over the period 1 April 1998 to 31 March 2003
|1999-2000 is second year in five year period over which this target is to be delivered. Outturn for 1 April 1991 to 31 March 1998 was an average of 7.3 per cent against a 6 per cent target.
|Key target 5:Efficiency
|To achieve an Aggregated Cost Efficiency (ACE)
|The continued impact of the IS programme implementation coupled with planned changes to the SVA scheme not coming in as anticipated, were the main factors that constrained ability to deliver further efficiency gains. Cumulative to-date performance is nevertheless +35.8 per cent since becoming an Agency in 1988. The target set for 2000-01 is +1 per cent.
|Key target 6: Internal Management
|To improve staff awareness and satisfaction as measured|
through the annual survey and assessment against the Investors in
7 January 2000
|This key target acts as a proxy measure for continually improving internal management. Over the past three years performance under this key target has delivered against improving staff awareness and satisfaction culminating in successful assessment against the IiP standard in January 2000.
|Key target 7: Investment
|To secure the long term development of the|
implementation of the Information Systems (IS) Strategy; and
progression of the MOT Computerisation project
|VI continue to make significant progress in these major projects which will help to deliver a more modernised and effective organisation keeping pace with changing technology and delivering more integrated services.
4.2.9 Appendix F provides detail on measures supporting
key targets. Further information on performance is provided in
VI's Annual Report and Accounts 1999-2000, VI's Effectiveness
Report 1999-2000 and the Evaluation Report 2000; all of which
are provided as reference documents.
4.3 CUSTOMER SERVICE
4.3.1 VI has a wide range of customers both for services
to individuals and operators such as the testing of vehicles at
VI test stations and for services to wider society such as enforcement
and regulatory activities. Customers include:
The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport
and the Regions;
The Traffic Commissioners;
The Haulage and Public Service Vehicle Industry;
Listening to customers
4.3.2 VI strive to improve services and to respond to
changing needs of our various customers. Close contact is maintained
with the trade associations representing vehicle operators and
Authorised Examiners. VI also hold meetings with them twice a
year on HGV and PSV testing and enforcement. At these meetings
officials and members of the associations discuss any matters
of concern, initiatives and changes to legislation or DETR policy.
A package of customer surveys at national and local level has
provided useful feedback in the past. The effort to gather feed
back is being extended through customer focus groups and similar
work by the recently appointed "Consumer Champion",
who will ensure that customers' views are fed into the planning
process to ensure VI take positive action to improve services.
The 1995-99 evaluation report noted that the Agency has become
more customer focused by seeking customers views on their needs
and on VI's performance. Customer feedback has been positive,
indicating that VI is viewed as a professional and responsive
organisation undertaking enforcement that is improving in its
Improved service delivery
4.3.3 As a result of listening to customer needs, VI
have made a wide range of improvements in service delivery including:
more flexible opening hours (appropriate to local
improved testing administration (slot booking,
central call number, customer accounts);
voluntary vehicle checks; and
"designated premises" (DP) testing.
4.3.4 VI have authorised designated premises (DPs),
private owned test bays where VI testers undertake annual tests.
This helps fleet operators. In 1991, the Inspectorate introduced
testing at HGV operators' premises, a facility offered to PSV
operators since 1982. By 1994-95 six only HGV DPs had been established.
To take forward the Secretary of State's goal of a significant
expansion of the scheme, VI and the Department reviewed conditions
of appointment with a view to reducing them to a minimum needed
to guarantee a proper test in a safe environment. The review proved
to be a success. 20 DPs were operating by mid-1995-96 and the
target of 80 by the end of that year. This target was comfortably
met and the number of DPs and the proportion of HGV tests carried
out in them has continued to increase. The number of DPs stands
at 265 PSV and 117 HGV sites (some offering a dual HGV/PSV service).
While the DP facility increases the convenience for operators
it also increases the burden on VI as facilities and efficiency
at these sites is not as purpose-built as at VI test stations.
10 per cent of HGV and 40 per cent of PSV tests are now done at
4.3.5 VI aims to fulfil obligations under the Service
First Initiative by enforcing improved service to our customers
by working to published standards. These set out responsibilities,
standards of operational performance and standards of general
behaviour towards customers. This charter statement "The
Service We Give You" was revised in October 1999 reflecting
a change in service standards for central government and again
in March this year to clarify aspects of VI's MOT work. It combines
all of our customer service standards and appeals and complaints
procedures into one booklet and replaces the six separate codes
of practice previously in force. A copy of this leaflet is in
our reference documents. VI's test manuals and in-service vehicle
standards so that operators know what is expected of them when
a vehicle comes in for test or is checked at the roadside. These
documents will soon be available on the VI web site.
4.3.6 VI encourages teams in the business to apply for
Chartermarks as a way of recognising our commitment to improving
customer standard. Support is given to teams to help them achieve
this standard by providing practical help, advice and guidelines.
A number of VI's test stations and training school applied since
1995, with 7 being successful
4.3.7 VI's role in conducting the annual MOT test for
HGVs and PSVs assists in improving compliance. In terms of delivering
regulation and improving road safety and environmental standards,
VI have introduced the use of laptop PCs by roadside examiners
that gives access to a range of information. This improves the
consistency of standard in VI examiner decisions about vehicle
and traffic legislation requirements. VI are developing targeting
systems to concentrate on likely offenders and to operate with
a light touch in relation to compliant operators. In 1997 VI established
an intelligence unit to liaise with other enforcement agencies
within the UK and abroad, to collate information gathered within
VI and to undertake major investigations. This has already resulted
in the successful prosecution of a number of drivers and operators
for systematic abuse of driver hours legislation and other offences.
Greater education and advisory role
4.3.8 VI are actively changing focus towards the promotion
of compliance rather than using the traditional, disciplinary
approach to testing and enforcement. VI are boosting their educational
and advisory role to enable operators, drivers and others to be
compliant. The Agency have reviewed and revised training courses
and have been successful in increasing take up by operators of
voluntary use of VI facilities to undergo a variety of vehicle
tests to reassure themselves that they are complying with legal
requirements. VI undertake seminars and provide videos and leaflets
to help people understand the various rules they must meet and
we are looking to do more of this. They have set up an MOT enquiry
line so that testers can obtain technical advice on testing procedures.
In 1998 VI launched "Matters of Testing", a quarterly
newsletter providing information to MOT test stations and answering
questions. This publication has been extremely well received by
the trade. VI believe that facilitating compliance at source is
the most effective way of improving road safety and environmental
standards. This can only be achieved by educating customers in
their legal obligations.
Electronic service delivery
4.3.9 VI has fully embraced the Modernising Government
aim of taking the customer's view-point and offering seamless,
easy-to-use services. The computerisation of MOT testing is a
major project demonstrating this. Roll out of this system is due
to start in mid-2002. MOT computerisation will be a key step towards
electronic vehicle licensing. VI are also undertaking a number
of other initiatives linked to electronic provision of services.
In addition to an increasingly comprehensive range of information
about the work of VI being available on the web-site, electronic
copies of HGV, PSV and MOT test and guidance manuals are being
made available free of charge. Services to be made available in
the Autumn include online access to search for details of vehicle
recalls since 1995 and details of local MOT garages. A pilot scheme
to accept credit card payments for the online sale of publications,
videos and CDs is also to be launched by the year-end. For the
future, the planning, development and delivery of a service to
support online booking of HGV and PSV tests by operators will
be another major step forward.
4.4 DVO STRATEGIC APPROACH
4.4.1 The Chief Executive's membership of the DVO Strategy
Board provides the focus for VI to identify new initiatives for
joint action with other DVO agencies to improve customer services
and effectiveness. In particular the Strategy Board provides sponsorship
for a range of important cross-cutting developments such as the
process of reviewing life events and the potential for joint delivery
through IS/IT solutions. Apart from the Chief Executive's membership
of the Strategy Board, a senior member of staff has been secondment
to the DVO task force since June 1998.
4.4.2 VI is very active in cross-DVO initiatives including
carrying out a wide range of enforcement activities on behalf
of other DVO agencies. VI is working with DVO partners to extend
the range of training opportunities provided to vehicle owners
and operators. One example is VI looking with DSA at whether to
link drivers hours information with the driving theory test. VI
has one of the largest training organisations in the country.
It has therefore taken the lead for a joined-up approach to DVO
training activity. The HR Director is also part of the group identifying
and moving forward secondment and work shadowing opportunities
within the DVO. VI is taking a lead role in the DVO process review
4.4.3 Delivery of the Modernising Government agenda involves
tackling service issues in a seamless way across government and
looking at activities from the customer's point of view. In other
words, VI should not look at the activity VI undertakes in isolation,
but at the customer's total service need, only one part of which
might involve VI. VI has, for some time, been taking a wider view
of its role. VI is taking a lead role in the DVO process review
group looking at the potential to improve services by taking the
customer's standpoint. VI are involved in the project to simplify
the personal import of a vehicle, one outcome from the process
Integrated Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
4.4.4 VI is also heavily involved in the DVO IT group
which is looking at how technology can help the DVO to improve
our service to customers and our enforcement effectiveness. In
our preparations for the re-let of our IS contract VI have identified
the need for links between ourselves and other DVO agencies which
need to be covered by the new contract if the Agency are (subject
to data protection legislation) to improve service quality and
effectiveness. VI are working with TAN to make the best use of
their planned new computer systems with similar aims in mind.
The Agency already work very closely with TAN in the regulation
of operators and with DVLA on VED and driver licence offences
using manual links and are looking to identify both process improvements
and more effective electronic processes to help us deliver greater
DVO thinking becomes an integral part of moving forward
4.4.5 In looking at our activities VI now, as a matter
of course, take a much broader view and consider whether there
is scope for VI to deliver services on behalf of the DVO or to
make use of expertise held by other DVO organisations. The DVO
concept is spreading within VI and is welcomed by staff throughout
the organisation who are, as mentioned elsewhere, keen to use
every avenue open to them to improve road safety and environmental
4.5 MODERNISING GOVERNMENT
4.5.1 VI has developed an action plan to implement commitments
of the Civil Service Reform element of the Modernising Government
agenda which relate directly to staff. Key VI initiatives set
Better business planning
4.5.2 VI has invested time and effort into developing
robust planning as discussed in paragraphs 4.1.10 and 4.1.11.
The Agency's inclusive approach to business planning can be demonstrated
by the achievement of the Investors in People accreditation. This
pulls together the needs of the organisation and the aspirations
of the individual. The IiP assessment report noted that "there
was comprehensive evidence of a full planning process generating
medium term and annual business plans which are circulated in
detailed and in summary forms throughout the organisation."
Valuing Public Service
4.5.3 Mackeson and Bichard recommend approaches to performance
management which VI are already some way down the road to meeting.
Following the design and implementation of a five year pay strategy
in 1995,VI abolished long pay spines with unobtainable maxima,
in favour of a "rate for the job" concept which is benchmarked
against the employment market.
4.5.4 VI has developed and is currently working toward
implementing a further pay strategy this financial year. This
will modernise VI's performance and reward systems linking pay
progression to demonstration of competence and using a non consolidated
performance bonus scheme. Business needs will be used to define
grading structure and market related pay will be benchmarked.
In addition there will be a phased roll-out of 360 degree appraisals
(already present in parts of VI) and linkages between productivity,
performance, appraisal and pay will be explored.
4.5.5 The HR Strategy also encompasses: flexible working
hours; long Service Awards; non consolidated bonus for "exceptional"
performance; "preparing for retirement" courses for
employees and partners (includes range of advice on health, finance,
interests); and, financial support to enable carers to attend
Dramatic Improvement in Diversity
4.5.6 In aiming to maximise diversity, VI seeks to be
a more attractive employer, by taking advantage of all potential
opportunities available. A step in the right direction was made
with the recent attainment of the Two Ticks (positive about disabled
people) award in recognition of the commitment to encourage all
employees to develop to their full potential. However, due to
the nature of our work, VI still have further scope to improve
the representation of women and ethnic minorities in the organisation.
4.5.7 The diversity action plan includes: review of qualification
and experience policies to ensure that they meet business needs
and do not discriminate against individuals, (so allowing us to
recruit the best person for the job); training on staff appraisals
and recruitment; diversity awareness for all staff; establishment
of a working group of employees from ethnic backgrounds to evaluate
best practice; and, the development of positive action initiatives.
4.5.8 VI's action plan for equality proofing has been
developed with the Commission for Racial Equality and they have
set up a partnership with CEED (Centre for Employment and Enterprise
Development) to create placement training opportunities. Once
established the Diversity Awareness Programme will be benchmarked
for best practice.
Bringing on Talent
4.5.9 VI recognises the value in promoting the interchange
of individuals between departments and other organisations to
widen staff experience and to actively encourage staff in the
attainment of marketable qualifications. A management training
programme has been developed in modular form and is to be extended
to include management development and core HR competencies for
performance management. Following a recent review of continuous
professional development needs in the organisation a framework
is now in place that will keep technical and enforcement staff
up to date with the information they need to do their jobs.
Investors in People (IiP)
4.5.10 IiP accreditation, achieved in December 1999,
recognises equal treatment of employees in relation to training
and development. VI put in place a robust and well resourced team
to ensure best practice against the IiP standard. With the development
of the new standard which puts greater emphasis on outputs, VI
has developed a network of facilitators to deliver continuous
improvement across this widely spread organisation. Again this
supports and helps to deliver effective personnel management and
is part of the plan for re-accreditation. VI is developing additional
part-time facilitators to implement the latest IiP Action Plan
and other Organisational Development initiatives.
A better deal for staff
4.5.11 A commitment to work towards partnership with
the Trade Unions is beginning to achieve integrated working practices
and is supportive of the grading and pay review. VI has also effected
good mechanisms to achieve two way communication with both unionised
and non union staff. The background of total quality culture within
VI allows and promotes empowerment where staff are able and willing
to participate in organisational improvement.
4.6 MAJOR REVIEWS
4.6.1 An evaluation of performance 1995-99 identified
improvements VI had already made and areas where further improvements
should be addressed. This is shown in more detail in the management
summary at appendix G. Overall it concluded that VI had successfully
demonstrated benefits from becoming an agency, in particular;
improved effectiveness and efficiency;
sharpened delivery and customer focus;
improved MoT service to the public;
met road safety and environmental objectives;
contributed to better road safety.
National Audit Office Study of Emission Testing
4.6.2 NAO undertake studies of VI activities from time
to time. Their latest study covered vehicle emissions testing
and looked at the effectiveness of emissions testing both at annual
test and at the roadside. Their report was published in May 1999
and considered by the Public Accounts Committee in January 2000.
The report concluded that emissions testing plays an important
role in the control of polluting emissions both by requiring polluting
vehicles to be repaired and by the deterrent effect of these checks.
A number of helpful recommendations to improve the consistency
of testing by VI and the private sector (MOT garages) were made
all of which have been, or are in the process of being, implemented.
The NAO also suggested looking at the feasibility of remote sensing
techniques to detect pollutants and this is currently being investigated.
4.7 CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
4.7.1 VI is a keen advocate of the "Total Quality"
management technique which was first introduced into the business
in 1993 and involves building continuous improvement into the
organisation's culture. A number of local continuous improvement
teams (CITs) and organisation-wide corrective action teams (CATs)
are under way at any one time to address both operational and
4.7.2 VI continuously look for ways to improve effectiveness
and to make a real improvement to road safety and environmental
standards, fair competition and, particularly in relation to the
MOT scheme, to consumer protection. VI continually re-appraise
activities through both scheme and operational reviews and through
an internal audit programme to check that unnecessary regulation
is eliminated, that customer needs and wants are identified and
addressed and that the most effective services and regulatory
activities are undertaken. These reviews are, in line with the
Modernising Government agenda, currently being built into a programme
of Better Quality Service reviews.
Meeting new challenges
4.7.3 The government's road casualty reduction targets
for 2010 also challenge all relevant organisations to find ways
of reducing the number of accidents and the severity of their
outcome. Many of VI's activities contribute to the achievement
of these targets and have led to changes in our priorities. Driver
fatigue is thought to be a major contributor to accidents. Speed
is undoubtedly a factor in the severity of accidents and speeding
heavy lorries and coaches are a particular hazard. VI has procured
specialised test equipment capable of checking that tachographs
and speed limiters are correctly set and have not been tampered
4.7.4 VI's move to a greater emphasis on educational
and advisory activities is aimed at improving compliance at source
(for example by providing easy-to-understand information in paper
and video formats, by visiting operators to pose and answer questions
on regulatory requirements). This culture shift will assist in
delivering better vehicle and driver standards.
4.7.5 VI are increasingly looking to develop links with
other enforcement agencies to close loopholes through which illegal
operators manage to continue to operate. As part of the DVO review,
VI are looking to see how they can (within the requirements of
the data protection legislation) share data and improve our targeting.
VI are increasingly sharing data with European Union colleagues
which is helping us to tackle operators who have chosen to "flag
out" (register as an operator in another country) to ensure
that these operators are in fact registered and are abiding by