Headlines: July 8th, 1998

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has come up with another example of how computerisation can be used to make services more efficient without loss of standards to the consumer.

The Government has indicated that it wants to use IT as a tool to both drive up standards and give consumers more choice.

The DSA has surveyed driving test candidates in pilot areas and found that people are just as happy taking their theory test on computer as use a pencil and paper. There is also no change in people’s performance, using the new technique.

The agency plans to bring in computerised testing in January 2000. Tenders have already been invited to develop and run the service. The contractor will also organise booking tests, customer telephone support and running the test centres.

The trials were run in Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Runcorn, Swansea, Wood Green, and Belfast. More than 1500 candidates volunteered to take a computerised version of the test on top of their normal one. Passing either qualified them to go on to the practical test.

Bernard Herdan, DSA Chief Executive, said: “People are becoming increasingly used to interacting with computers and dealing with technology, for example through ‘hole in the wall’ cash machines and public information touch screen kiosks.”