DVSA earned recognition: become an authorised audit provider

Apply to become an authorised audit provider for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) earned recognition scheme, and how to carry out audits.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

You must get approval from DVSA to audit operators for DVSA earned recognition.

As a DVSA earned recognition authorised audit provider, you can:

  • audit operators who want to join the scheme
  • audit operators who are already on the scheme
  • advertise that you carry out DVSA earned recognition audits
  • use the DVSA earned recognition logo

DVSA will add you to the list of authorised audit providers on GOV.UK.

Check if you’re eligible

You can be part of an organisation or working on your own. If you’re part of an organisation, you must make sure that any auditors working for you meet the eligibility criteria.

You can apply to audit operators that use heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), operators that use buses and coaches (PSVs), or both.

You’re eligible if all of the following apply:

  • you’re not prohibited from acting as a transport manager
  • you have a Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence in Road Haulage (if you want to carry out HGV operator audits) or Passenger Transport (if you want to carry out PSV operator audits), or a two day refresher Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence if your original qualification is more than 5 years old
  • you have at least 2 years of experience in haulage or passenger transport as a transport manager, operations manager or a similar role in transport compliance or enforcement
  • you have the ISO 9001 quality management system in place
  • you have taken auditor training

Your auditor training qualification

You need to have covered these topics:

  • Plan Do Check Act and other quality management principles
  • business process auditing
  • risk management
  • quality management system implementation
  • effective auditing techniques and good audit practice

When you apply, DVSA will let you know if your auditor training qualification meets our standards.

Apply to become a DVSA earned recognition authorised audit provider

You can apply now if you’re eligible. To apply, you need to send DVSA:

  • an application form
  • evidence that you’re eligible
  • recruitment and monitoring evidence
  • audit documents

Application form

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There’s no fee to apply.

How to apply

  1. Download and save the application form on your computer before you start to fill it in.

  2. Open the form on your computer, fill it in and save it again.

  3. Email the form to You need to attach any documents to support your application.

Evidence you must send DVSA

You need to send DVSA evidence that you’ve met the eligibility criteria including:

  • copies of training certificates
  • quality management certifications

If you run a company, you need to send DVSA evidence of recruitment and monitoring for any auditors that work for you, including:

  • information about how you manage certificates of professional competence
  • evidence that auditors have up to date qualifications
  • details of relevant experience

Audit documents you must send DVSA

You also need to send documents that you’ll use when doing an audit including:

  • an example of the contract you ask operators to sign
  • a copy of your complaints procedure for operators

What to include in your audit report template

Your audit report must say whether:

  • the operator has met standards for DVSA earned recognition modules and performance criteria
  • the operator meets the terms and conditions of their operator licence
  • you have checked documentation from the operator’s quality control reviews and inspections

It must also include:

  • evidence to support the assessment result for each performance criteria
  • feedback for the operator about any requirements they did not meet
  • the result of the systems audit
  • dated signatures for the auditor, transport manager or responsible person and operator (these can be electronic)

You must include a summary page showing:

  • the name of the operator the audit is for
  • a list of operator licence numbers
  • the operator’s DVSA earned recognition number
  • contact details for the operator
  • your company’s name
  • your auditor’s name
  • your contact details
  • the date of the audit and any other verification checks
  • the result of the audit
  • details of an improvement plan
  • evidence of verification checks carried out at other operating centres
  • the final results

You’ll need complete original signed copies of your audit report for the operator, DVSA and your company.

What happens after you apply

DVSA will confirm that you’re conditionally accepted as a DVSA earned recognition authorised audit provider. Then DVSA will publish your details on the list of authorised audit providers on GOV.UK.

Before you’re fully accepted as a DVSA earned recognition authorised audit provider, DVSA will do a quality check of your first audit.

If you meet all the standards at the quality check then DVSA will confirm that you’re fully accepted as a DVSA earned recognition authorised audit provider.

Quality check of your first audit

DVSA will do a quality check of the first DVSA earned recognition audit that the senior auditor at your organisation carries out. This is to make sure that audit standards are set at the right level and are consistent across all audit providers.

When an operator contacts you for your first audit, you need to email with the date, time and address of the audit. One of the DVSA earned recognition team will go to the audit to check that you meet the auditor standards.

If your audit doesn’t meet the DVSA earned recognition standards, the DVSA earned recognition team will decide if the operator you’re auditing has passed. Then DVSA will give you feedback and work with you to help you meet the standards.

Working as a DVSA earned recognition authorised audit provider

You should always follow the DVSA earned recognition authorised audit provider code of practice (ODT, 768 KB) and DVSA earned recognition terms and conditions for authorised audit providers (ODT, 769 KB).

You need to do at least 70 hours of continuing professional development every 5 years, including a 2-day Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence refresher course. A professional body, trade organisation or authorised training centre must run the refresher course.

You’re responsible for the cost of refresher courses and business expenses such as indemnity insurance.

DVSA will send you the DVSA earned recognition logo so that you can use this on your website and marketing materials.

Operators will contact you to book an audit. You’ll need a process to prevent any conflicts of interest between you and the operator you’re auditing.

What you need to do when you carry out an audit

You must:

  • use a systematic process
  • carry out audits in a fair and unbiased way
  • use the right number of samples for vehicle, trailer or driver records based on the size of the operator

What you check during your audit is based on the size of the operator. You can use the HGV sampling criteria or the PSV sampling criteria to work out what you must check.

Any decisions or observations you make about the operator meeting the standards must be:

  • fully justified
  • explained clearly
  • documented in your audit report

During the audit, you should:

  • ask open and probing questions
  • observe and record positive and negative reactions to your questions
  • check the operator’s policy and process documentation

You must give objective evidence, show independence and write an impartial audit report.

Within 10 days of carrying out an audit, you need to send your audit report and any evidence to us. DVSA will review this and decide if the operator can join DVSA earned recognition or stay on the scheme.

Audits for operators who want to join the scheme

You can audit an operator before or after they apply for DVSA earned recognition. You must send the results of the audit to DVSA up to:

  • 3 months before the operator applies for DVSA earned recognition
  • 3 months after DVSA receives the operator’s application

DVSA will let you know:

  • if there are any conditions on an operator’s licence you need to be aware of
  • if you should check a particular operating centre as part of your audit
  • if there is specific documentation you need to check

You must make sure the operator’s systems meet the DVSA earned recognition audit standards.

If an operator does not meet the standards and you think they can make improvements to meet these standards within the application period, you can help them make an improvement plan. You’ll need to check to make sure they have fixed the issues within the application period and then you can mark the audit as complete.

Audits for existing DVSA earned recognition operators

Operators need to have an audit every two years to make sure they still meet DVSA earned recognition standards.

If the operator fails the audit on minor issues that they can fix within 3 months, they can stay on the scheme.

If the operator fails significantly, you must send them:

  • feedback
  • an action plan
  • a time schedule to meet the standards

Regular quality checks

DVSA will:

  • check your audit reports regularly
  • carry out on-site quality checks if there are any issues with your audit reports

What happens if you do not meet the standards

If you do not follow the standards, DVSA will remove you from the list of DVSA earned recognition authorised audit providers. You will not be able to carry out audits for DVSA earned recognition.

To meet the standards, you and your auditors must:

  • meet the terms and conditions
  • follow the code of practice
  • make sure that operators are meeting DVSA earned recognition audit standards
  • keep your competence qualification up to date
  • keep your quality management systems accreditation up to date
  • not be involved with or linked to anything likely to damage the reputation of the DVSA earned recognition scheme

Appeal being removed from the scheme

If you don’t meet the standards, DVSA will write to you explaining why.

You’ll have 14 days to appeal in writing with any facts or circumstances you want DVSA to take into account.

We’ll look at your appeal and make a decision then respond to you within 14 days.

If you’re not satisfied with this response you can email

Published 24 April 2018
Last updated 23 June 2022 + show all updates
  1. Removed section "What to include in your audit standards" as auditors can no longer use their own standards. Terms and conditions: * auditors now have to use an auditor workbook supplied by DVSA earned recognition instead of their own audit standards * DVSA may carry out onsite auditor validation Code of practice: * auditors can no longer use their own additional standards to carry out DVSA earned recognition audits

  2. Updated terms and conditions - authorised audit providers must now have a recognised quality management system in place to ISO 9001:2015 standard, instead of to equal or similar standard.

  3. Removed section on 'Application periods' General improvements to content, structure and headings to make it clearer: - how to apply to be an earned recognition auditor - how to carry out an audit - what happens if you don't meet standards - how to appeal

  4. Added links to the HS2 additional module audit standards.

  5. Audit standards for HGV operators has been updated to the latest version.

  6. Updated the terms and conditions that audit providers need to agree to.

  7. A new version of the application form has been added.

  8. First published.