MOT Computerisation – Has it Been Successful?
VOSA says the MOT Computerisation roll out is proceeding successfully. It may be for them, but is it a success for the industry that provide employment for 35,000 testers and all the other people involved?
I have been involved in MOT testing for 30 years and have, for the last 20 years been operating a “high volume” testing station. Consequently I have followed the MOT computerisation programme closely since the project was first announced. At every VOSA seminar attended we, the delegates, have always been told the system would be totally tried and tested before going “live” and would never shut down because two separate computer systems would operate to ensure the system runs 24/7.
Furthermore a system of “fallback testing” would be in place for any minor problems and it would work! The sort of minor problems envisaged were, for instance, if a site suffered a local hardware/communication failure.
We were never told specifically before “going live” what “emergency testing” is all about and it was never mentioned during our costly training! Even before any experience of “the system” we told them there would be severe problems!
Live roll out started last April and after many significant clichés during the last few months we arrived at Monday 31 October. On that day the system gave problems from my own personal experience and I understand it also affected approximately 1000 other testers on “the system.” Problems started for me at around 9:30am and continued throughout the rest of the day. The problems were so severe that phone lines to Siemens only resulted in an answerphone message.
“Fallback testing” never even got off the ground due to the severity of the problem and at around 5:00pm the system totally shut down resulting in “emergency testing procedures” being implemented. Remember VOSA always assured the trade this would never happen.
I believe the net consequences of that single occurrence caused the MOT testing industry considerable cost because when the computer fails we have to stop testing – ask Vosa, not Siemens, and you will be told: “You cannot test in these circumstances – stop testing.”
I would ask members: Do you remember VOSA’s assurance that computerisation will not cost the trade a penny and that it would in fact have positive benefits for the industry?
Ask yourself – is it costing you? Did the system failure on the 31st cost you? Is the system working for you and your customers? Is MOT computerisation involving you in additional costs? Take the totally unproductive dial up time, which is certainly costing the industry well in excess of £25 million per year.
NTDA members represent a significant number of testing stations around the country. I welcome “computerised MOT testing” but the current system that has been imposed on our industry is far from perfect, proving unreliable and we are incurring additional costs unfairly.
I therefore urge all testing stations to make legitimate compensation claims to VOSA for any costs incurred as a result of the problems on the 31 October or any other issues you may have regarding the additional costs that are being incurred as a direct result of MOT computerisation. Finally I urge all members to confront VOSA with claims for compensation in respect of any legitimate additional costs they feel they have incurred due to computerisation.
Furthermore please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments/experiences of MOT computerisation in order that our association can understand the issues and properly present its member’s views to the government.
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