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Have you missed the 31 March MOT criminal records deadline?

Apply for a DBS Check

New regulations surrounding criminal background checks for MOT testers and those running garages came into force at the end of March 2024, and industry research in January 2024 showed that nearly 75% of MOT testers had yet to undergo their annual skills assessment. A change in the rules means that any MOT testers returning after a lapse or suspension from testing need to apply for a new DBS check as a condition of becoming registered as a MOT tester. Those who renew their MOT testing registration before it expires are not considered to have lapsed, and don’t need to apply for a new DBS check.


Which Testers Need a DBS Check?

DBS checks are now mandatory for all new MOT testers. They are also required for existing testers adding another test group, and those who are coming back to MOT testing after a disciplinary period or time away for any other reason. The government introduced DBS checks for MOT testers in an attempt to improve the reputation of the industry sector and improve public confidence that the people working on their car and producing the pass or fail certificate are responsible and trustworthy. In addition, employers, and owners of garages where MOT tests are carried out also need a basic DBS check as part of what is known as a “fit and proper person” check, even if they are not involved in the day-to-day mechanical work carried out there.


Other MOT Tester Requirements

Criminal record checks are just part of the requirements for mechanics involved in MOT testing. Part of the licensing process involves an annual test to make sure that skills are up to date and that testers are assessing vehicles properly in line with government guidelines. The testing year runs from 1 April to 31 March, and testers can sit their skills test at any point during the year. Every tester must also complete three hours of training for every class of vehicle which they test, and make sure evidence of this training is recorded on the government portal. If testers miss any of these steps, then their registration is suspended, and they then have to re-register as a new tester, including getting a basic DBS check. Waiting for the paperwork for a repeated DBS check can cause work scheduling issues – mechanics are still allowed to carry out other work but can’t perform MOT testing until their registration becomes current again.


Getting a DBS Check

If you are registering as a MOT tester for the first time, then you will need to apply for a basic DBS check. This looks at your current, unspent criminal convictions and cautions only. Having a completely clear record is not essential for becoming a MOT tester. The government is just trying to weed out applicants who have a lengthy criminal past which might call their character into question. Older convictions and cautions will not be disclosed when applying for a basic DBS check, whatever the purpose of the check.