Driver CPC here to stay

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The Road Haulage Association (RHA) held a webinar on October 26 to dispel the doubts and uncertainty about what will happen to Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) after Brexit in 2019. Jade Smith reports

During the Road Haulage Association (RHA) recent webinar, Arnold Monk, Head of Training at RHA, and Lee Whitby, Training Manager at RHA, answered common questions around Driver CPC (DCPC). They covered topics such as understanding the timescales and what operators need to do by when, and using DCPC as a career development opportunity within businesses.

What will happen to DCPC when the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019?

The Government has put together a bill called the ‘European Withdrawal Bill.’ It’s made up of 66 pages and on page four it states: “EU-derived domestic legislation, as it had effect in domestic law immediately before exit day, continues to have effect in domestic law on and after exit day.” DCPC is included within that. This means that the current system will continue, unchanged, beyond exit day.

As an operator and driver I would like to know when the deadline is for drivers to complete their 35 hours of periodic training.

The easiest way to find out is to check the driver’s Driver Qualification Card (DQC), which they need to carry when they drive. When a driver comes in to pick up their job sheet, for example, you should periodically check to know when the expiry day is. [wlm_nonmember][…]

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A lot of drivers will have the expiration date September 9, 2019 because they completed their first series of periodic training in September 2014. However, that won’t apply to every driver because some will have different dates, particularly if they passed their test after September 2009.

On the .gov website for carrying out the driver licence check for a vocational driver it shows the expiry date on that check.

How do we know how many hours our drivers have completed so far?

The only accurate way to check this is online at This system isn’t as straightforward to use as a driver licence check – the driver needs to register in advance to get a username and password to access their record.

The example shown had their last driver qualification card issued on October 24, 2012 and where it says when the next is due to be issued there is a blank space, because they haven’t completed their 35 hours. Beneath that is a list of the courses they have completed with RHA. In this example they have completed 14 hours so far, so they need to do a further 21 hours.

As an employer you can have access to this information, provided the driver is registered online. Once they log in to access their information, they can request a temporary password, which the operator can use with the driver licence number to access that information. It’s vital that drivers register for that service as it is the only way of finding out.

When will our driver receive their next DQC?

Up until around 12 months ago if a driver had completed their 35 hours, training in advance of the deadline, DVSA sent out a new DQC. It was found that method was in breach of the regulations, so the rules have since been changed. The cards now come out in good time and at least 90 days before the expiration date, providing the driver has completed all 35 hours.

Something to note is that if the driver got their first card between 2009 and 2014, there’s a good chance that a proportion of the drivers will have moved house. They are supposed to tell the DVSA their new address, but if they haven’t their new DQC will be posted to their old address.

How can we use DCPC to help our business?

The choice of training course subjects is down to either the driver or employer. Some businesses may chose to carry out training needs analysis for the drivers, or look at the business itself and identify areas which might need attention.

For example, if drivers are getting a lot of infringements for drivers’ hours offences, a DCPC course which has an element of drivers hours would make a lot of sense. We’ve had one operator who put all their drivers through fuel efficiency training – they had new vehicles delivered, so some behind the wheel training worked out very well for them.

We have a module which is a guide to the operator’s licence for the drivers. This explains some of the reasons why the operator has to go into areas such as tachograph infringements and driver licence checks, because it is all about compliance. Explaining that to the driver can be a real help.

What subjects can be covered on a DCPC course?

The syllabus for the DCPC periodic training is very wide-ranging. If it’s part of the driver’s role, it can almost certainly be a DCPC subject. RHA Training works with a lot of operators to design bespoke courses that have been approved for DCPC, to help meet the needs of drivers and businesses. Not everything can be approved, but career-developing subjects can be approved for DCPC.

Not every provider is going to offer this. We believe that if a driver is attending a training course which is relevant to their role, it really needs to count towards their DCPC. We’ve tried very hard over the years to focus on this, so a good proportion of the courses we offer can count as DCPC hours.

What about testing the driver’s knowledge on the module they just attended?

When DCPC first started, the message that came from the joint approval unit was that we couldn’t have a test on a DCPC. That’s not been understood correctly: we can’t have a pass or fail.

It’s good training practice to confirm that people have learnt something on the course. We can do that by asking questions or through a quiz – there are ways of working out whether someone has learnt something other than doing a formative assessment. If you really wanted a formal test it can be done, but it needs to occur outside of the seven hours.

Is there an update on the legislation potentially not allowing the same DCPC course to be delivered in any five-year period?

Currently the legislation allows it. One of the responses to the EU review is to be a little prescriptive about what subjects are covered in DCPC, but it’s unlikely to happen before 2019.

As for legislating it, that’s a question for DVSA to take up with the transport minister. We have to realise that the Government Ministers are so focused on sorting the high level areas out on Brexit; it’s unlikely to change any time soon. It’s worth saying, if you’re complaining about a driver going on the same course multiple times, who sent the driver? It is either the driver or operator.

In addition, it sometimes makes sense for a driver to do the same course again, as some operators will have a refresher course on drivers’ hours and tachographs to remain compliant.

Why should we choose RHA as our DCPC provider?

We have a team of trainers who have many years of experience. They also have worked both on the road and at management levels, so they can see the challenges drivers face from both sides. They’re also multi-skilled with a wide range of training subjects.

They all deliver Transport Manager (TM) CPC and we’re really proud that we regularly produce pass rates that are significantly higher than the national average. The team is spread out across the country so they have nationwide coverage and are never far away from a job.

There’s no doubt that DCPC is seen as a cost, but operators need to question that when they are investing in this, are they getting value-for-money?

The choice of training course subjects is down to either the individual driver or their employer. GARETH EVANS

We want to deliver our own training, how can we do this?

Since 2009 we’ve been running the Train the Trainer course. We’ve also helped many operators and individuals set up their own approved training centres. This has given them the opportunity to develop their own training and courses.

I’ve heard that the rules regarding DCPC are changing. What’s happening?

The law will remain the same after Brexit, but there is currently an EU-wide review of DCPC. The UK has responded to this review, along with 27 other EU countries. Nothing has been finalised, including the review process itself. Whatever proposals made will still have to go through the normal EU legislative channels, which includes consultation with the Government and stakeholders.

What about periodic training for TMs?

Currently, there’s no legal requirement for a TM to undergo any periodic or refresher training.

Many people achieved their Transport Manager CPC over 30 years ago and in that time, the rules have changed a lot. We’re expecting the drivers to be updated on a five yearly cycle, but how up-to-date is the TM? There is potential risk to a business having a TM that’s out of date on the current situation.

Over the last four or five years we’ve noticed a lot of people booking onto our TM refresher course proactively and the feedback afterwards is always positive – they’ve learnt something new and been reminded of their responsibilities. If the TM is also a driver and they come on a course with the RHA,

They can log 14 hours towards their CPC.

Should drivers who are exempt from DCPC still attend training?

The overall objective of DCPC is to improve road safety. A driver who is exempt from DCPC isn’t exempt from the rules of the road. Some companies ensure all drivers sit the training courses regardless of whether it is a requirement or not.

How do we improve our drivers’ attendance to periodic training?

If a driver is missing it’s probably because they’ve had a bad experience or poor information in the past. It can add potential cost to the operator as they will have to get that person back in again.

You have to get four areas sorted in advance. The right course needs to be chosen to ensure it is good value for money and everyone will get something out of it. The course has to be run in the right location – the drivers have to be comfortable and the trainer needs to be able to deliver the training easily. Choose the right date when it’s quiet in the year. Finally, chose the right trainer: very often we have to dig an operator out of trouble whose drivers have been given the wrong information.

Is there a reason why a Driver Qualification Card (DQC) might expire after four years when it’s actually valid for five?

Ask if the driver gained the card through periodic training as a bus driver, because bus drivers had to complete their DCPC before 2013.

We had one recently where the DQC had two expiry dates on and it was because the driver had both a bus and truck licence, acquiring one after the other which created two expiry dates.

Would it not be a sensible decision to ensure that seven hours DCPC training is delivered annually, to ensure that in any rolling five year period 36 hours of training has been logged?

This is what we’ve been saying since 2009: it should be one day a year which shouldn’t impact on working time. It also helps keep the drivers up to date: we have a course specifically designed for that called the Professional Driver Update course. It’s updated each year so it can be taken every year.