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Ever wondered what an Authorised Examiner Consultant does? We recently experienced ‘A Day in the Life’ of Karena Hill, owner and AEC at The MOT Group (TMOTG).
It was a fascinating look behind the scenes at a role many are unfamiliar with. We saw first-hand what’s involved and how using an AEC’s expertise improves your business: saving you time, money and stress.
What we witnessed was typical of a busy MOT Testing Station where it’s entirely ’the norm’ for things to get forgotten or missed. It’s why DVSA introduced the role of an AEC … they fully appreciate how things can fall through the cracks. The AEC’s role is to remove the stress and help find those things. Then help put systems and processes in place to stop them from reoccurring.
An early start!
After an early start (TMOTG covers the entire UK), we arrived at our destination. Karena examined all relevant files and reports from the previous visits to ensure both parties got the most from the day. The visit aims to inform the team what a DVSA inspector will look for and then provides suggestions for improvements or procedures to address potential issues.
TAKEAWAY. An Authorised Examiner Consultant is there to help and support you, not to catch you out!
The official site visit begins …
The first issue Karena noticed was on the forecourt, where there was no visible notice of certification showing the garage was an authorised MOT Testing Station. It was not visible in the reception area either. She surmised that someone from another department had unwittingly replaced it, so a new one was ordered as a priority.
TAKEAWAY. Explain to your whole team what’s involved in a visit from DVSA so they can help ensure the business is compliant.
The Manager’s Office
Next, the site manager highlighted a few areas of concern. In particular, some staff members had been categorised as either red or amber. Karena recommended that training methods be implemented to support them. Training as a general topic was discussed in detail: when it took place, who took part, and who facilitated the sessions. These are all areas checked by DVSA.
TAKEAWAY. Plenty of training courses are available; there’s no excuse for not booking your team on them well in advance. Many courses are mandatory, so they mustn’t be ignored … but training also improves ability and confidence.
The Testing Bays
Karena identified that some of the tools were missing from the tool board in two of the three bays. A DVSA requirement is that a tester must not be interrupted or distracted throughout a test. Therefore it’s unacceptable to go ‘hunting’ for a missing tool.
TAKEAWAY. Even if you think a different way is better, the criteria laid out by DVSA must be adhered to. They’ve been included for a reason and are updated regularly to adapt to new situations and health and safety guidelines.
The Customer Journey
Next, we took a simulated ‘Customer Journey’ from Reception to the testing bays to experience the route through the customers’ eyes. We looked for rubbish, hazards, distractions etc.
With no significant concerns, the conversation turned to the imminent changes in DVSA guidelines. This section of the visit is deliberately kept informal and friendly, so everyone feels confident about speaking out and asking for advice if they need it.
TAKEAWAY. A visit from an AEC can be an ideal way to identify areas of concern in a friendly environment and implement the right supportive measures.
The Testing Office and Paperwork
This is where the paperwork is (or should!) be held, and Karena went through the files in detail. The team was using one of TMOTG’s specially designed compliance folders to keep all their paperwork in one place and agreed: it’s an easy way to lay your hands on everything quickly.
Some forms were outdated, so Karena highlighted where she had discovered them and recommended how they addressed the situation. She shared her expertise and experience with tips and hints to make the paperwork more efficient. For example, much of the necessary paperwork need only be kept on file for a set period. Knowing this will keep your filing up-to-date, relevant and easier to manage. Incidentally, appropriate paperwork storage will also be checked by the DVSA Inspector, so a ‘fit for purpose’ folder is a must!
The MOT testers and manager were asked their thoughts on the expectation levels of DVSA in relation to their garage – which demonstrated to me that Karena had researched what would be expected of this particular garage as she was able to answer all queries and fill in any gaps the team left.
TAKEAWAY. Being able to lay your hands on all the necessary paperwork for a DVSA visit is essential as it forms part of their criteria. If the AEC doesn’t have to wait for you to find what’s needed, they can use the time you’ve booked more efficiently
The Final Discussion
Finally, Karena recapped the previous few hours. She ensured the team knew what actions needed to be taken and checked if they needed clarification. They reviewed various legislation and discussed any changes the team should be aware of.
This part went straight over my head if I’m honest! But everyone was engrossed in the conversation. It was also discussed how DVSA inspections could be welcomed and planned for with minimum stress by ensuring everything was in place – becoming part of regular practice and procedure, not last-minute panicked situations.
It was clear the onsite team valued Karena’s visit. It was constructive, organised, and relevant, with helpful advice about consistently making their test station compliant. Karena has expert knowledge in her field and shares that in a friendly and non-judgemental way. It was a very relaxed but professional environment, and I could see they held Karena and her opinion in high regard. Likewise, she showed respect for the work they do and their achievements.
It was also highly apparent Karena loves her work and takes great pleasure in helping people: a winning combination!