On 1 April 2022, the laws around people licensed to carry out MOT tests changed. Thousands of garages across the UK carry out MOT tests on cars, vans and other vehicles every year, and the government’s aim is to make sure that not only are testers all testing to the same standard, but also that there is no room for fraud in the system. There are many ways in which this is done, but one of the most recent changes has been the introduction of DBS criminal records checks for MOT testing staff.


Who Needs a DBS Check?

Not everyone who is currently accredited to perform MOT tests will need to complete an application for a basic DBS check right away. As the system rolls out, the requirement will only affect specific groups of testers initially. These are:

  • New MOT testers
  • Testers who have been accredited in the past bur who have gone between 2 and 5 years without performing any tests and who are officially classed as “suspended”
  • Anyone who has been previously qualified but who has not carried out any testing for the past 5 years.

Anyone wishing to register as a MOT tester first has to complete the official training, and then have their work inspected in a demonstration check. The disclosure certificate must be dated within 3 months. This involves the MOT inspector going through the process on a car or van as usual, having their work observed by a Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) official to make sure they are testing to the correct standards.

After a MOT tester has qualified, there is usually no need to have their work inspected again as long as they are carrying out regular MOT tests. VOSA monitors results fed into their computers by all of the MOT testing stations around the country and this can help them to identify patterns which might suggest a particular testing centre or tester is being unduly harsh or lenient. In some cases, VOSA will send in a “mystery shopper” driving a vehicle with known faults, to make sure that the mechanic will pick up exactly what is expected of them.


Getting a Basic DBS Check

Mechanics working for larger garage chains will have someone to help them through the DBS process but if you are working for smaller companies, you may be on your own. A basic DBS check will just look at your unspent criminal convictions and cautions, if there are any. Getting the certificate involves filling in the application form with your basic personal details such as name, address and so on, and then proving your identity using the online verification portal. The DBS will then complete a search of the records and send out a certificate to you in the post. This certificate can then be used to show employers to verify that you have no current criminal convictions or cautions on your record, not just for MOT testing purposes but for other purposes too.