A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
NPCC, MCIA and Highways England wish to see ATBs of the highest standards, offering training to riders on a nationwide basis. Motorcycle riders are vulnerable road users and as such deserve to experience high quality customer service and training delivered by competent and professional Instructors to ensure that they become safe and competent road users. Anecdotal evidence backed up by MCIAC Quality Assurance survey data has found evidence that this is often not the case -customers are made fun of, shouted at and often short-changed by reducing the time of the 2-hour road ride or by disregarding the 2:1 ratio determined by the DVSA for all road riding. We must do all we can by working alongside DVSA to put a stop to these problems and raise standards to a level above those determined by the DVSA.
In 2013 the MCIA launched the Motorcycle Industry Accreditation Centre (MCIAC); this was approved by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) to deliver their well established and robust programmes – Quality Assured Awards.
MCIAC have developed 2 voluntary programmes for DVSA approved training providers – one aimed at managers of the Approved Training Body (ATB) (the training business) and one for Motorcycle Instructors themselves. We also have an IMI approved Quality Assured Award which dictates standards that must be attained to maintain annual MCIAC accreditation.
The ATB Owner course covers the following modules:
- Provide professional customer service in the rider training industry
- Manage the performance of teams in the rider training environment
- Manage and administer small businesses in the rider training
- Operate an Information Technology (IT) system in the rider training industry
The Instructor course covers:
- Demonstrate developed understanding of the National standard for riding (Category A) and the Highway Code
- Demonstrate developed riding competence (through advanced riding)
- Prepare to train learner riders ensuring all legal and regulatory requirements are met
- Design learning programmes for learner riders
- Enable safe and responsible riding
- Manage risk to trainer, learner and third parties
- Provide professional customer service in the rider training industry
Annual Quality Assured Awards
Our annual quality assurance accreditation ensures that all MCIAC ATBs are checked in person at least once a year. The ATB is checked against 43 Key Performance Indicators covering all aspects of the business to ensure that MCIAC standards are maintained. However, we must be sure that customers receive a good service on a day to day basis, not simply when the ATBs are being assessed. To enable this level of checking, ATBs provide details of their customers on a monthly basis. A survey is then sent to each customer about the service they received and asks specific questions related to the course they took (such as the length of time they were on the road as part of a CBT). These answers are carefully monitored to ensure that standards are maintained and the answers are sent to the ATB to use as customer testimonials or as ideas for continuous improvement or Instructor training. Customer complaints are dealt with individually with proportionate action taken.
ATBs who do not maintain MCIAC stated standards are offered assistance by their Assessor, who will encourage them to make whatever changes are necessary. MCIAC provide full support, but ultimately if an ATB cannot or will not change; their accreditation will be removed. This has not been necessary thus far and any highlighted issues have been dealt with quickly and easily.
The motorcycle training industry has suffered from a lack of recognition and professional status for too long. The quality of CBTs in particular is often complained about with shortcuts being taken which can endanger the lives of learner riders. These concerns were the main reason that DVSA felt unable to allow the 7 hour upgrade via training when 3DLD legislation was drafted.
DVSA currently check each Instructor (approximately 3,500) every 4 years. They are judged solely on their performance during the standards check, no information is sought from customers. Providing the DVSA rules are adhered to on that one day, then the Instructor will be free to continue training novice riders for another 4 years unchecked.
MCIAC checks each ATB at least once a year, and will visit more often if customer feedback indicates there are shortfalls in the expected standards. Unlike DVSA checks all types of training offered by the ATB will be sampled (this includes CBT, Direct and Progressive Access and post-test training). By developing the ATB Managers’ skills we will ensure they run both their business and their team of Instructors in a professional manner. The high standards required of the ATB will dictate the standard of training offered to customers.
We also have GOLD standard ATBs, these are businesses that have invested in excellent infrastructure and have state of the art classroom facilities and machines that are well maintained and less than 5 Years old. These GOLD standard ATBs also have a better than average range of PPE available and excellent facilities for customers
For those training schools that wish to further improve standards we also offer an Instructors course. This is not a route to becoming a DVSA approved Instructor, but raises the knowledge of those instructors already approved by the DVSA and ensures that they are following latest best practice guidelines and are up to date with all new developments in rider training. By becoming accredited and then conforming to MCIAC requirements and standards, ATBs and Instructors can prove that they deliver a better service to their customers. This is recognised on a public facing website, allowing customers to see which schools have taken steps to improve themselves and offer high standards of training to produce safer riders.
Whilst MCIAC will promote the accreditation scheme and the benefits to customers of using accredited ATB’s and Instructors, we would also like to see this publicised on gov.uk. Members of the public use the government website to find motorcycle Instructors. We would want to see those who have taken these extra steps to raise the standards of the Industry promoted in a similar way to the Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). ADI’s are graded and customers can use this grading to make an informed choice about their training provider.
Potential riders should be able to have access to information to help them make choices in the same way as novice drivers who can identify different levels of Driving Instructors. All DVSA approved ATBs are listed on the .gov website and all are promoted as the same standard. Many ATBs have invested heavily in their business and take a pride in offering high quality training and feel aggrieved that there is no way to highlight their efforts or differentiate them from competitors who are able to undercut prices by cutting corners with the training they offer.
- The motorcycle industry can play a big part in promoting and expanding take up of MCIAC accreditation
- MCIA have joined forces with TfL to offer one ATB and 3 Instructors in each London Borough the chance to become MCIAC accredited free of charge, and as a consequence TfL will promote these ATBs to London riders
- Kawasaki UK have been the first motorcycle manufacturer to formally link their network of dealerships with MCIAC accredited ATBs. This project started in 2015 and aims to have all dealers/ATB looks in place by the end of 2017. We hope that several more manufacturers will follow suit
- Wider industry support in the form of benefits for MCIAC accredited ATBs are being developed and several MCIA members have come forward to help.
- Encourage more ATBs to voluntarily take up MCIAC accreditation to ensure national coverage is available
- Encourage the motorcycle industry to assist with promoting and incentivising MCIAC accredited ATBs
- Liaise with DVSA to ensure that MCIAC accreditation is highlighted on the gov.uk site. along with any other schemes of an equivalent standard
- Consider how MCIAC accreditation (or similar) could become mandatory for all ATBs
- Liaise with DVSA to ensure that should the minimum 7 hour training route for progressive licence become an option, MCIAC ATBs as well as any others with sufficiently robust quality assurance regimes will be able to offer this service. This is not an option that should be offered to all ATBs unless the mandatory quality assurance regime is tightened to include annual visits and intelligent use of customer feedback.
UPDATE – Action 10 – Developing Vocational Programmes for Approved Training Bodies, to Raise Standards Beyond Those Prescribed by DVSA.
Please note, this work stream was previously included within the action Quality Assured Rider Training. For the purposes of this rewrite it was decide that this merited a separate action point.
Much progress has been made on this action since the launch of the MSTP. As of September 2016 we now have 23 accredited ATBs, 19 working towards accreditation and 9 waiting to start a course. There are 11 Instructors accredited, 15 working towards accreditation and 3 waiting for courses
The delivery mechanism for the programmes has been granted ISO 90001:2015 accreditation and the centre was a finalist in the IMI Specialist Centre of the Year awards in 2015
There have been 2 further projects developed to increase participation. The first is a jointly funded project with Transport for London to create 33 ATBs (one in each London Borough) with 99 accredited Instructors between them. TfL are keen to raise the standard of motorcycle training within the capital and they are assured by the quality assurance processes used by MCIAC. In addition to this Kawasaki Motors UK became the first major motorcycle manufacturer to announce their intention to link all of their motorcycle dealerships with ATBs in a bid to make sure their customers are trained well and given high levels of customer service. Kawasaki UK have asked MCIA to manage this project and have specified that all the ATBs chosen must be either accredited by MCIAC or prepared to become MCIAC accredited.
Northamptonshire County Council will be recommending only MCIAC accredited ATBs as part of their Motorcycle Northants activity (see Action 7 progress).
AS MCIAC approaches the end of its second year of operation the aspiration to have national coverage is very nearly accomplished.