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MoT confusion ‘unacceptable’

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has been criticized by MPs over the problematic introduction of automatic test booking and its computerized MoT testing system.

A report from the Transport Select Committee labels “unacceptable” the confusion caused by its implementation and the uncertainties over billing. It warns that the lessons learned must be shared throughout the Department of Transport to ensure there is “no repetition of this qualified failure”.

Stephen Tetlow, VOSA’s chief executive, had told the committee that the benefits of computerization would be better service for motorists and improved monitoring of the MoT system. The technical problems experienced since it went live in April 2005 had been “rare and largely affected only a small number of test centres”, he added.

The committee heard contrasting evidence that the implementation had been “beset by problems”, but Tetlow dismissed this, adding that press coverage had created a negative impression.

VOSA is part of the Department of Transport’s Driver and Vehicle Operator Group (DVOG), which came in for criticism for falling standards of customer care.

“We are concerned that the DVOG and its constituent agencies seem to be highly focused on the cost savings available through the introduction of information technology-based solutions at the expense of customer service,” says the report.

Gwyneth Dunwood MP, committee chairman, says the evidence presented is not inspiring. “The department’s agencies are creaking. This cannot go on. The job they do is too important. If these agencies fail to get a grip on their affairs in the next 12 months then the department must take radical action to deliver a better service overall.”

Matthew Carrington, RMIF chief executive, hopes the report will prompt closer liaison between the agencies and businesses. He adds: “Many of our MoT station members have suffered considerably. Delays and implementation problems have been rife, and apologies from VOSA were neither freely forthcoming nor well communicated.”

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