Paperless protocol

The end of April saw an end to the issuing of paper copies of MOT certificates as the system moves into the digital age. Lucy Radley finds out what the benefits will be to operators and what differences it will make
(Image credit: AdobeStock by By Angela)

DVSA has been working towards becoming paperless for some time now, rolling out its Manage Your Vehicle Testing (MyVT) digital service in early 2023. By now, all ATFs and holders of pre-funded accounts should have a digital account within the system, enabling them to manage their transactions with DVSA – and view digital MOT history in real time.

Instead of hard copy records, MOT certificates can now be viewed, downloaded and printed from the MOT History service (MOTH), accessed through the gov.uk website. MOTH is not a new service by any means but, until now, operators have only been able to view vehicle data.

“The switch to digital will help operators reduce an overreliance on paper within the industry,” DVSA said in March. “The shift towards a digital service also means that operators will no longer need to contact DVSA to replace lost copies of their annual test certificates, which would have previously cost operators £13.00.”

Paper copies of failure certificates will continue to be provided “for the time being,” in order to make sure “operators are fully aware of vehicle repairs that are required”. In the longer term, however, everyone involved in the MOT system, including operators, fleet engineers, transport managers and drivers, will need to convert to using digital services.

So what does all this actually mean for operators and workshops when it comes to staying compliant? The standard undertaking on the operator’s licence, which dictates the obligation on operators when it comes to record keeping, states that “records are kept (for 15 months) of all driver reports that record defects, and all safety inspection, routine maintenance, and vehicle repair reports, and that these are made available on request”.

“Arguably the MOT certificate falls outside of the wording of the undertaking, but operators are advised to access and save MOT certificates to their files,” Mark Davies, legal director and head of Backhouse Jones solicitors, tells us. MOT pass certificates will no longer be printed by default at test stations at the time of the test, but will be immediately available on MyVT. “Operators are encouraged to access the MyVT service and review the vehicle’s record, including the MOT history, to ensure the details on the MOT certificate are correct and check for any advisory items.”

Operators and workshops will not need any specific software to access MyVT, but they will need to set up systems for accessing it, and monitoring the vehicle records uploaded there. “The task needs to be designated to an individual,” Davies advises. “Either the transport manager or someone under the transport manager’s control.”

ATFs and existing pre-funded account holders should have been sent a migration email and should log into the service as soon as possible. Claiming your account is simply a matter of choosing and setting up a password, after which operators will immediately be able to use the service to add other team members, top up their pre-funded account or choose to use the Direct Debit functionality.

Scheduling MOT testing will continue to be something the operator is responsible for themselves, with MOT dates included on maintenance planners as now – although we believe the system will generate alerts reminding them when tests are due. “Operators cannot rely on notifications,” Davies cautions, however. “Where the DVSA finds an operator is not recording MOT dates, they would make negative findings, even if electronic reminders are issued by the new system.”

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