Run by the Department for Transport, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – formerly the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) – is the UK Government body responsible for setting and maintaining driving standards in Britain.
The main way in which they do this is through the administration of motoring tests for those looking to earn a driver’s licence.
As has been the case for since a 1996 restructure, the driving test is divided into two separate segments – with the theory aspect currently costing £31, and the practical £62. In addition to cars, the DSA was responsible for testing motorcyclists, lorry drivers and driving instructors themselves – with prices for individual exam varying depending on the classification being sought.
Currently, the DVSA is estimated to employ around 3,000 examiners, with a further 1,000 administrative staff – with salaries for these workers largely being taken from fees paid by those taking the test, as well as a £200 million subsidy from the government. Despite reportedly being one of the more self-sustaining operations funded by the taxpayer, the DVSA has not been immune to recent austerity measures – having to cut expansion plans outlined in 2011 due to new budgetary restrictions.
Unsurprisingly, given the sometimes subjective nature of testing and the often tense emotional state of those being examined, the DSA has historically been described as the most complained about government department of its size, with thousands of dissatisfied examinees lodging issues each year – usually as a result of a failed test.