How much do you know about the DVSA risk assessment changes?

DVSA regularly assess every vehicle testing station (VTS) to check potential risk of non-compliance with the scheme requirements. This will involve an unannounced visit to your VTS by a site assessor who will look for evidence of systems and practices that will reduce the potential risk of non-compliance. Based on the visit, they assign the garage risk score and a risk category (RAG rating).


MOT Risk Score example

MOT Risk Score example

What are the risk categories and what do they mean?

RAG Ratings:

Red = High Risk (Red rated garages are marked as ‘high risk’)

Amber = Medium risk (Amber rated garages are marked as ‘medium risk’)

Green = Low risk

Based on the RAG rating: Red rated garages are marked as ‘high risk’, amber rated garages are marked as ‘medium risk’ and green rated garages are rated as low risk.

Green Risk Assessment Score

Garages with a green risk assessment score would expect to receive a phone assessment from DVSA every two years and a personal site visit once every 4 years. Due to the number of garages within the green risk assessment category, we know from experience, DVSA are not always able to visit every ‘green’ garage within the specified time period. In some cases, garages in this risk assessment category have not had contact with DVSA, in over 8 years!

Our research shows, ‘green’ garages are more likely to receive enforcement action by DVSA, should they be visited. Due to irregular site visits, generally we have found that garages in the green risk assessment category are less likely to conduct internal risk audits or keep up to date with changes in regulations and compliance. For this reason, if they do have a site visit or mystery shop from DVSA generally garages in the green are more likely to require representation for appeals.

We recommended that if you are a garage in the green risk assessment category, you carry out your own internal site audit at least once every 3 months. We also recommend that you ensure that your garage is fully compliant with legislation and quality requirements laid down by DVSA. Should you require any assistance with this we offer an excellent MOT membership package, starting from as little as £2.74 per day. Our membership includes a yearly site visit and quality management training so that you are able to conduct your own internal site audits and spot faults before you have a DVSA site visit.

Amber and Red Risk Assessment Score

A garage with an amber risk assessment score would expect to be visited by DVSA at least every 6 months. Garages in the red risk assessment category would expect to be visited every 2 to 3 months. In some extreme cases, garages in the amber and red category have been visited by DVSA twice in one week!

Due to the regular visits by DVSA, we have found, garages in the red and amber category are usually aware of the improvements that need to be made and usually try to put in place measures to improve the problems highlighted. However, due to lack of training on the risk assessment score criteria, generally ‘amber and red’ garages are unable to put the necessary developments in place, to an appropriate standard.  Garages in the amber and red risk assessment category usually do not take the correct measures to gain sufficient improvement. These garages have not been trained on the requirements to maintain correct quality, management, compliance and legislation of an MOT station. We do offer a number of courses to help these garages including MOT Quality Control Checks and MOT Quality Management Courses, for more information on these products please call one of our dedicated training consultants on 0345 459 0231.

Changes to the Risk Assessment Score in December 2016

During a site visit, the DVSA inspector will allocate a point score using a site assessment calculator. Based on the point score generated, the inspector, gives the garage a risk assessment category. Below is how DVSA would categories a garage based on the number of points they received, before the changes made in December 2016:

Risk Score Boundaries:

Green = 0 to 349 Points

Amber = 350 to 499 Points

Red = 500 + Points

DVSA sent a message on the 7th December 2016 stating that the risk score boundaries have now changed. The main reason for the change is to reduce the amount of garages in the green risk score category and increase the amount in amber and red. Garages in the amber and red category are more likely to receive visits from DVSA inspectors.

Updates to the MOT testing service – 7 December 2016

“Risk score boundaries

To rebalance the numbers of garages within each category we’re changing the boundaries between the red, amber and green risk categories.

Your score won’t change but you might find that you’re now in a different category.”

We contacted DVSA on behalf of our MOT members with regard to finding out the new risk score boundaries.

“Since the 8th December 2016 the current boundaries for allocating VTS risk categories were changed.

This is in response to changes in risk assessments and to rebalance the numbers of garages within each category.

Recent changes to site assessment questions has meant that overall VTS risk scores have gone down with a subsequent reduction in the number of VTSs in Red and Amber. This boundary change will go towards rebalancing the numbers in each category.

The parameters have been lowered with the effect of increasing the number of garages in Red and Amber and reducing the number in Green.

VTSs risk scores will not be altered but they may find they have moved in to a different category.

Sites are encouraged to review the working practices in their garage. The MOT Guide to Risk Reduction and Site Assessment Risk Scoring Guide are available on GOV.UK which supply information and best practice advice on systems and how to evidence them.”


DVSA wants to focus its resources more effectively on underperforming mot stations that they deem as a higher risk. To do this they have reduced the number of points a garage needs to be classed as amber or red. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the exact number of points that put a garage into each specific category. However, we do know that a garage with a risk score of 385 or more would now be in RED rather than Amber, as they would have been before December 2016.

How does this effect your MOT station?

This change means that although your risk sore has not changed, your garage could be now being in a different risk category. We recommend that all garages check their new rating to see how they are now categorised. If you have changed into a different risk category, this could mean that you will receive more site audits then before.

We have plenty of experience with score assessment and have carried out a number of site audits for our MOT members. Although we are unable to tell you, your exact RAG rating, we are able to give you an idea of your score and what you need to do to improve it. Through our training we can teach you how to conduct your own site audits and implement a quality management system. For more information on how we can help you please call 035 459 0231.

The MOT guide to risk reduction was updated on the 25th January 2016 and has many changes in relation to maintaining MOT quality, compliance and legislation. This means that a number of garages with a green risk score when visited by DVSA in the past, could now potentially be in amber or red in light of the new changes and criteria. If visited their risk score would also change.

We at Premier MOT recently held a seminar with 180 MOT garages in attendance. When asking about the MOT guide to risk reduction, we discovered that many garages were not aware of the changes published on the 25th January 2016 or how to implement the new requirements. We also discovered that many of the garages in attendance, were not implementing Quality Control correctly or conducting their own site audits. Before attending our seminar, if visited by DVSA, a number of the garages could have potentially faced disciplinary action.

How is the Risk Point Score Calculated?

During a visit, the DVSA inspector will conduct a VTS site assessment using a site assessment calculator. In the MOT guide to risk reduction and further materials from DVSA including the risk score guide and risk score calculator, we can see there are 4 key assessment areas when carrying out a VTS site assessment. The four key categories are:

  • Management
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Vehicle Test Station

The 4 areas above are then broken into 19 questions that each have a risk score from 1 (low risk) to 5 (high risk).

VTS Site Assessment

The full risk score and final RAG rating would also take into account a number of other aspects including MOT statistics and the MOT garage’s history and events.

Disciplinary events history – DVSA will take account of any non-spent warnings or cessations both to NT’s or AE’s up to the past 5 years. For example, a test standards formal warning and 1st short term cessation that occurred two years ago would equate to 229 points on the risk score.

MOT Statistics – In addition, the risk score mechanism will take into account satisfactory testing history and add credits. During the assessment an AE would be asked 5 questions and a NT asked 10 questions from the AE & NT representative questions (VT57).

DVSA are unable to give all of the information, however we do know that the maximum amount of points that could be scored by a MOT garage is up to 1700. It is very easy to gain a high score with only small errors in your operation.

Please see the below example:

Let’s say we have an MOT station with the following areas highlighted:

Question Risk score rating
Vehicle Age 3
System security 4
Customer areas 3
Scheme changes 4
Quality management systems 4
Staff training 4
Equipment management 4

We have taken 7 questions out of the 19 in the risk score criteria with typical risk ratings for a stereo typical mot station that is well managed and in the green.

Using the DVSA risk score calculator, the above would give a risk score of 310.2. On the old scoring system this would have placed the garage in the green. However, more than likely this garage would now be rated in the amber area. This would highlight to DVSA that this garage is a potential medium risk and needs to be looked into as an area of priority.

This is why it is essential for us to carry out our own risk assessments at our own garages on a regular basis to make sure that we have everything in place to maintain a low risk score at all times in case of an unannounced visit from DVSA.

So what can we do about it?

Carry out your own site audits ideally every 3 months or every month until you get all the right processes and procedures in place and you have reduced your risk score to a low risk.

If you currently have a high risk score (amber or red)

Invite DVSA to carry out a site visit – Once you have the risk score low internally, invite DVSA to carry out a site visit and evidence to them the changes you have made to get your score down.

If you have a low risk score (green)

Keep the evidence – You can show this when you eventually have another site visit, in addition by keeping your internal score low it means you have insured that your mot garage is not at risk and you keep yourself compliant and low risk to any disciplinary action.

Internal audits and a good quality management system is a great tool to reduce disciplinary points.

How we can help you


Premier MOT run a two-day quality management course on how to carry out a site audits. During the course we will teach you everything you need to know and give you any materials that you may require to carry out your own internal site audit. For more information, please call 0345 459 0231


Premier MOT offer an MOT Membership package from as little as £2.74 per day. MOT Members benefit from an annual site visit and training to conduct your own site visits. To find out more about our membership please call 0345 459 0231