On December 11th, The Department for Transport unveiled its response to the consultation of proposed changes to the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) which they hope will help alleviate the driver shortage, but does it go far enough or just create a 2-tier system with little benefit?
The recommendations for proposed implementation in the summer include:
- Introducing a National Driver CPC (N-DCPC) specifically for driving lorries, buses, or coaches within the UK.
- Dividing training courses into 3.5-hour blocks instead of the current 7-hour structure to enhance flexibility.
- Expanding the amount of e-learning allowable from 7 hours to 12 hours.
It doesn’t go as far as introducing a periodic test in favour of the current requirement of 35 hours training over a 5-year period which would truly simplify the requirement, not only making requalification quicker and cheaper but would also demonstrate the driver has the required professional knowledge which the current system of training without testing does not. The Department for Transport have promised further consultation on this in 2024.
Proposals which would make it easier to return to driving are not expected to be included until sometime in 2025. Under the new rules Drivers who previously held a DCPC that has lapsed would be allowed to take 7 hours of training before returning to the sector and making the remaining 28 hours up within the first year.
Our Business Support Manager Jo Weir, added:
Given the driver shortage is not a new problem (we’ve been blogging about it for 10 years now) which was further compounded by Brexit and the pandemic, it could be argued that it shouldn’t have taken this long to do so little to address the problem.
It could also be argued that this is the government dipping its toe in the water at self-regulation and given that by introducing a National DCPC we have strayed away from European DCPC requirements, and created a 2 tier DCPC system, should we not have been bolder?
Unfortunately, with fragmented change coming at this pace, we fear the driver shortage is a topic that’s here to stay for some years yet. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
More on the changes here.