Last year the DSA started looking at different approaches for drivers to take their practical test, the theory test centres will remain unchanged. This included offering driving tests from local authority buildings to leisure centres. In March 2012, they announced plans to extend the scheme to 21 more locations around five different areas across the country (Glasgow, Kettering, Manchester, Watford and Worcestershire)
One such business is Halfords which has been selected as a preferred partner, although other partnerships such as the Fire and Rescue Service and some universities are also being considered. Driving tests will continued to be conducted by DSA examiners but Halfords and other partners will allow the use of their premises at no cost to the DSA. So whilst they are not earning money directly from offering this service, Halfords may benefit from the extra footfall with up to 1,500 tests a year being taken at each store based on two examiners in each location.
Road Safety Minister, Mike Penning, said “It is vital that public services are as open and accessible as possible. This initiative is a great example of how working with partners in the public and private sectors can help to ensure that we offer people the best possible service wherever they live.”
David Wild, Halfords CEO, said “We want to help motorists wherever we can, so we look forward to working in partnership with the DSA to provide a first class service for drivers taking their tests. Halfords is already known as the place where you go for all your motoring needs and this offers us the opportunity to work with a Government department on a major initiative that fits perfectly with our commitment to be a ‘Friend of the Motorist’.”
Mr Penning went on to say “Our aim is to provide all driving test candidates with a local service that is convenient as well as being cost effective. Subject to working agreements being finalised and suitable premises with driving test routes being identified, driving tests should be delivered... from premises of these organisations in the near future," he added.
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