Face coverings and Failed Driving Tests

Knowsley News made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Transport

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Dear Department for Transport,

How many people have failed their driving test for being exempt of wearing a face covering?

How many tests have been cancelled, due to examiners not wanting to sit with exempt drivers?

The Government refused to extend the theory test, despite most of the year being unavailable to book or take driving tests, why?

Will people have the cost reumbursed? If not, why not?

The online booking system fails to share mask exemptions, why is this?

In a mailshot, dated 17 July 2021, you stated:
"You must have told us if you have a good reason not to wear a face covering when you booked your test. If you did not tell us when you booked your test, you should go to... ".
Medical data is sensitive personal data, why "must" people tell you this information? It looks to be a discriminatory question, which could likely breach both GDPR & The Equality Act 2010.

In the same email you state:
"Your test will be cancelled if you come without a face covering and you did not say that you could not wear one in advance. "
Why has this bullying comment been added and how many tests have been cancelled as a result of this edict?

Have Impact Assessment's (AI's) been done, if so please provide a copy, if not, please explain why not?

Are there incidences where examiners have refused to sit with exempt drivers and/or is there a 'shortage' of examiners willing to sit with exempt drivers, meaning their tests have effectively been cancelled ad infinitum?

What qualifies a driving examiner?

Yours faithfully,

Tatt J
Knowsley News

foi@dvsa.gov.uk,

1 Attachment

Thank you for your email of 3 August, which I can confirm was passed to us
by the Department for Transport on 4 August. They have also forwarded your
further emails, chasing a response.

 

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we must reply not later than
the twentieth working day following the date of receipt. Our receipt date
was 4 August, which means we will reply by 2 September.

 

 

C Meynell | FOI Corporate Reputation Officer

Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, Tyneside House, Skinnerburn Road,
Newcastle Business Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE4 7AR

Phone:

email: [1][email address]

The best place to find government services and information is
[2]www.gov.uk

 

Follow us: [3]facebook.com/dvsagovuk  |  [4]youtube.com/dvsagovuk  | 
[5]twitter.com/dvsagovuk

 

References

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foi@dvsa.gov.uk,

4 Attachments

     

     

  Corporate Liaison Team              

The Axis Building   www.gov.uk/dvsa

112 Upper Parliament Street

NOTTINGHAM

NG1 6LP

 

 

Jay Tatt

by email: [FOI #778905 email]

 

our ref: IA/00861/21

 

1 September 2021

                                                                       

 

Dear Mr Tatt

 

Information requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA)

 

Further to your email of 3 August, I can confirm that we have handled your
request for information within the terms of the FoIA.

 

Your request and our response is as follows:

 

How many people have failed their driving test for being exempt of wearing
a face covering?

Our response: A driving test is assessed based on the test candidates
driving ability. If they meet the required standard, then they will pass
the test. A candidate will not fail a test because they are exempt from
wearing a face covering. However, a test may not go ahead if a candidate
turns up without a face covering and has not told us of any exemptions
beforehand.

 

How many tests have been cancelled, due to examiners not wanting to sit
with exempt drivers?

Our response:

 

We ask candidates to tell us if they cannot wear a face covering when they
book a test.  This allows us to match them with a volunteer driving
examiner (DE) who is willing to conduct tests for such candidates. This
ensures these candidates are not excluded from taking a driving test,
because we do not force DEs to conduct tests for candidates who cannot
wear a face covering.

 

The Government refused to extend the theory test, despite most of the year
being unavailable to book or take driving tests, why?

 

Our response:

 

The government has further considered the impact of the coronavirus
pandemic on the validity period of theory test certificates.

 

After careful consideration and in response to a recent petition the
government has decided not to extend theory test certificates for road
safety reasons. 

 

We understand this will be disappointing for some pupils, but it’s
essential that they have the most up-to-date road safety knowledge and
hazard perception skills at the critical point that they drive on their
own for the first time. 

 

Will people have the cost reumbursed? If not, why not?

 

Our response:

 

There are no current plans to provide funding or waive the charge of a
theory test for those whose theory test certificates have expired.
Candidates will have already received the service for which they paid. We
pay our contractor, Pearson, per theory test delivered. If candidates were
exempted from having to pay for a retake, then we and in turn other fee
payers would incur these costs. This would be unfair to fee payers who
would not benefit from the arrangement.

 

The online booking system fails to share mask exemptions, why is this?

 

Our response:

 

We do not hold any information on this as we have not received any reports
to suggest that this function is not working correctly.

 

Our Deployment team receive a daily report showing all the candidates that
have declared the exemption, they will then arrange the volunteer DE to
conduct the test.

In a mailshot, dated 17 July 2021, you stated:

"You must have told us if you have a good reason not to wear a face
covering when you booked your test. If you did not tell us when you booked
your test, you should go to... ".

Medical data is sensitive personal data, why "must" people tell you this
information? It looks to be a discriminatory question, which could likely
breach both GDPR & The Equality Act 2010.

 

In the same email you state:

"Your test will be cancelled if you come without a face covering and you
did not say that you could not wear one in advance. "

Why has this bullying comment been added and how many tests have been
cancelled as a result of this edict?

 

Our response:

 

We continue to follow Government guidelines to prevent the spread of the
coronavirus. On 20 July the following information was updated following
the Governments lifting of restrictions:

When you should wear a face covering

 

From 19 July 2021, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear face
coverings in indoor settings or on public transport.

Lifting restrictions does not mean the risks from COVID-19 have
disappeared, but at this new phase of the pandemic response we are moving
to an approach that enables personal risk-based judgements.

While no situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect
ourselves and others around us.

We expect and recommend that members of the public continue to wear face
coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with
people you don’t normally meet. For example, on public transport.

You should use your judgement in deciding where you should wear one.
Businesses, including transport operators, can also ask their employees
and customers to wear face coverings. You should check with operators of
services, venues, and settings that you use.

You can find this information on GOV.UK, [1]here.

I am sure you will appreciate that practical driving tests are carried out
in enclosed spaces therefore we believe that our decision to continue to
ask test candidates to wear a face covering, unless they have a valid
reason not to, is the correct decision at present.

Have Impact Assessment's (AI's) been done, if so please provide a copy, if
not, please explain why not?

 

Our response:

 

Please see annex A attached

 

Are there incidences where examiners have refused to sit with exempt
drivers  and/or is there a 'shortage' of examiners willing to sit with
exempt drivers, meaning their tests have effectively been cancelled ad
infinitum?

 

Our response: As explained above, a report is generated on a daily basis
and our deployment team will arrange a volunteer examiner who is happy to
conduct a test with a candidate who is exempt from wearing a face
covering.

What qualifies a driving examiner?

 

Our response:

 

Your question is unclear as to what information you were trying find out,
so we have answered this based on the requirements to become a driving
examiner.

 

Please see annex B attached.

 

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can ask
for an internal review to be conducted by our Information Management and
Security Team by emailing: [2][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Corporate Reputation Team

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

The Axis Building, 112 Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham, NG1 6LP

 

Helping you stay safe on Britain’s roads.

Find out more about government services at [3]www.gov.uk/dvsa.

Follow us: [4]facebook.com/dvsagovuk  |  [5]youtube.com/dvsagovuk  | 
[6]twitter.com/dvsagovuk

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.gov.uk/dvsa
4. http://www.facebook.com/dvsagovuk
5. http://www.youtube.com/dvsagovuk
6. https://twitter.com/DVSAgovuk

Dear Department for Transport,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Transport's handling of my FOI request 'Face coverings and Failed Driving Tests'.

Can you clarify that the paranoia of Examiners supercedes the progress of candidates' ability to sit an actual driving test?

Provide evidence of transmission that a mask wearing examiner has been infected by a non-mask wearing test candidate.

Agree that Examiners are allowed to Directly Discriminate against test candidates, driven by arbitrary fears.

That the DoT therefore also discriminates against exempt people.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

Knowsley News

information.handling,

1 Attachment

our ref: IA/00861/21

 

Good Afternoon Mr Tatt,

 

I hope this email finds you well.

 

I am emailing from the Information Management Security & Data team in DVSA
regarding your email below requesting an internal review of the response
that was given on 01 September 2021.

 

Your additional questions will be handled by our FOI team as a new
request.

 

I am emailing to clarify your complaint, and what form the original
response you are challenging for an internal review? Once this has been
clarified, I will be able to take this request forward and provide you
with an accurate reply.

 

Kind regards,

 

Lucy Hartless  | Deputising Information Risk Manager
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency | The Axis Building, 112 Upper
Parliament Street, Nottingham, NG1 6LP
[mobile number]

[1]DVSA_3298_DIGI_AW

Find out more about government services at [2]www.gov.uk/dvsa

Follow us: [3]facebook.com/dvsagovuk  |  [4]youtube.com/dvsagovuk 
|  [5]twitter.com/dvsagovuk

IMS&D will create a working environment that promotes openness and
respect, through constructive feedback, whilst maintaining integrity, and
recognising confidentiality where appropriate. 

 

From: Knowsley News <[6][FOI #778905 email]>

Sent: 13 October 2021 13:25

To: FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT <[7][email address]>

Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Face
coverings and Failed Driving Tests

 

Dear Department for Transport,

 

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.

 

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Transport's
handling of my FOI request 'Face coverings and Failed Driving Tests'.

 

Can you clarify that the paranoia of Examiners supercedes the progress of
candidates' ability to sit an actual driving test?

 

Provide evidence of transmission that a mask wearing examiner has been
infected by a non-mask wearing test candidate.

 

Agree that Examiners are allowed to Directly Discriminate against test
candidates, driven by arbitrary fears.

 

That the DoT therefore also discriminates against exempt people.

 

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[8]https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www....

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Knowsley News

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[9][FOI #778905 email]

 

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:

[10]https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www....

 

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:

[11]https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www....

 

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
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show quoted sections

Dear Lucy Hartless,

I am trying to ascertain where discrimination is allowed and why DoT enforces the wearing of masks or risk a driving test to be cancelled.

Is this purely down to the paranoia of Examiners?

Exemptions exist. This edict puts thpse who cannot wear mask at an unfair advantage, therefore discrimination.

Yours sincerely,

Tatt J
Knowsley News

information.handling,

Good Afternoon Mr Tatt

Thank you for your email. Public Liaison will be issuing a response to your request.

Kind regards,

Lucy Hartless  | Deputising Information Risk Manager
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency | The Axis Building, 112 Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham, NG1 6LP
[mobile number]

Find out more about government services at www.gov.uk/dvsa
Follow us: facebook.com/dvsagovuk  |  youtube.com/dvsagovuk  |  twitter.com/dvsagovuk
IMS&D will create a working environment that promotes openness and respect, through constructive feedback, whilst maintaining integrity, and recognising confidentiality where appropriate. 

show quoted sections

foi@dvsa.gov.uk,

2 Attachments

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|  |   |   |
| | | |
|  |   |   |
| | | |
|  |Corporate Liaison |   |
| |Team               | |
|  | |  [1]www.gov.uk/dvsa  |
| |The Axis Building  | |
| | | |
| |112 Upper | |
| |Parliament Street  | |
| | | |
| |NOTTINGHAM   | |
| | | |
| |NG1 6LP   | |
| | | |
| |   | |
+---------------------------------------------+

  

J Tatt 

[2][FOI #778905 email]  

 

our ref: IA/01152/21  

 

21 October 2021  

                                                                          

Dear Sir/Madam,  

  

Thank you for your email of 13 October 2021. I confirm that I do not
consider this a freedom of information (FoI) request and am therefore
responding as business as usual.  

  

  

Your request and our response is as follows:   

 

·       Can you clarify that the paranoia of Examiners supercedes the
progress of candidates' ability to sit an actual driving test? 

·       Agree that Examiners are allowed to Directly Discriminate against
test candidates, driven by arbitrary fears. 

·       That the DoT therefore also discriminates against exempt people. 

 

Our response: 

Your request for an internal review has been passed on to the relevant
team and they will review it and reply to you separately. You can expect
their response by 10 November 2021. 

 

We are unable to comment on the above questions as they ask for an
opinion. As per our previous response, DVSA ask candidates to tell us if
they cannot wear a face covering when they book a test. This allows us to
match them with a volunteer driving 

examiner (DE) who is willing to conduct tests for such candidates.
This ensures these candidates are not excluded from taking a driving
test, because we do not force DEs to conduct tests for candidates who
cannot wear a face covering.  

 

You can find further information about our practices at the following
link: [3]https://www.gov.uk/book-driving-test 

·       Provide evidence of transmission that a mask wearing examiner has
been infected by a non-mask wearing test candidate. 

 

Our response: 

We are unable to provide evidence relating to a specific case of
transmission. It is government advice that someone can be infectious for
up to 10 days following exposure to COVID-19 and that, in general, the
risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher in crowded and enclosed
spaces, with limited fresh air. 

 

 

Yours sincerely,  

 

Corporate Reputation Team

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

The Axis Building, 112 Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham, NG1 6LP

 

Helping you stay safe on Britain’s roads.

Find out more about government services at [4]www.gov.uk/dvsa.

Follow us: [5]facebook.com/dvsagovuk  |  [6]youtube.com/dvsagovuk  | 
[7]twitter.com/dvsagovuk

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.gov.uk/dvsa
2. mailto:[FOI #778905 email]
3. https://www.gov.uk/book-driving-test
4. http://www.gov.uk/dvsa
5. http://www.facebook.com/dvsagovuk
6. http://www.youtube.com/dvsagovuk
7. https://twitter.com/DVSAgovuk

Dear [email address],

We are requesting an internal review.

Refusing to answer our questions by suggesting it is an opinion is unprofessional.

Presenting a scenaeio of wear a mask or your test may never go ahead is both direct and indirect discrimination. It is also a breach of the Equality Act.

Yours sincerely,
Tatt J
Knowsley News

foi@dvsa.gov.uk,

Thank you for emailing the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).  
If you are requesting information under: the Freedom of Information Act or
the Environmental Information Regulations – we will normally respond
within 20 working days.