By NASP, Apr 16 2019 11:19AM
Recent statistics from DVSA reveal a worrying rise in complaints against instructors made by students relating to indecency, sexually inappropriate behaviour or harassment.
In 2017/2018, 150 cases of this nature were investigated by DVSA’s Counter-Fraud & Investigations Team. Year to date, this figure has already increased to 246, nearly 100 more claims being investigated than in the same period last year. Compared to 2015/16 figures (where there were only 75 cases investigated), 2018/19 already represents over 200% increase in cases.
As a result of complaints being investigated in this current period of reporting, action has been taken against 42 instructors, with 10 removed from the register. At present, 135 investigations are on going.
A DVSA spokesperson said: “DVSA takes the safety of learner drivers extremely seriously and will thoroughly investigate any complaints, involving the police when necessary.
“We do not tolerate any abuse. Driving instructors found to be threatening the safety of learners will be removed from the Approved Driving Instructor register and stopped from teaching.To help tackle the problem we have encouraged learner drivers to report any incidents.”
In cases of insufficient evidence, ADIs are not removed from the register but warned about future conduct. 23 warnings were issued in 2018 along with reminders about the Code of Practice. While the majority of ADIs investigated were given warnings, some let their accreditation lapse and chose not to renew. Some had no further action taken against them.
“It is important to point out that the overwhelming majority of trainers conduct themselves in a safe and responsible manner (246 complaints equates to only 0.6% of trainers on the register). However, considering the latest stats, we cannot pretend as an industry that there are no issues with instructor conduct. The rising number of complaints of this nature is a concern and it is crucial we look at why we’re seeing this increase, and work as an industry to tackle these issues.”
NASP reminds trainers of The ADI Code of conduct which clearly points out that trainers should:
Avoid inappropriate physical contact with clients
Avoid the use of inappropriate language to clients
Not initiate inappropriate discussions about their own personal relationships and take care to avoid becoming involved in a client’s personal affairs or discussions about a client’s personal relationships, unless safeguarding concerns are raised
Avoid circumstances and situations which are or could be perceived to be of an inappropriate nature.
NASP also encourages ADIs to consider safeguarding training as part of their professional development. Your respective membership association can provide advice and information on safeguarding issues, further professional development and what to do if you find yourself the subject of a complaint or investigation.