DVSA Earned Recognition Scheme

Implemented: June 2019

What is the DVSA Earned Recognition Scheme?

  • The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Earned Recognition scheme is a voluntary scheme for all operators who can demonstrate a strong track record of compliance and adherence to standards.
  • Operators must be able to show that they have robust systems and processes that promote effective and proactive transport management.
  • Once successfully accepted into the scheme, these operators will enjoy the benefit of a reduced burden of enforcement.
  • Operators who successfully achieve DVSA Earned Recognition status will possess a proven culture of compliance. By allowing DVSA to remotely monitor their compliance systems, checks can be carried out which will provide the assurance and confidence that the operator is effectively managing the transport operation and functioning in a compliant manner.
  • In exchange, these operators may benefit from a reduced number of inconvenient and costly roadside checks and visits from enforcement officers thereby reducing the administrative burden of regulation on those who achieve high levels of compliance.
  • This scheme ensures that compliant operators with DVSA Earned Recognition status obtain best business value from the enforcement regime and creates a model that will drive up compliance and enable others to aspire to. It also enables DVSA to divert its resource


The Steps involved in the application

1. Eligibility

DVSA Earned Recognition is open to all GB operator licence holders who meet the following criteria:

  • The operator must have held an operator’s licence for a minimum of 2 years before an application to join the DVSA Earned Recognition scheme can be made.
  • Full compliance in all aspects of all operator licences involved in the application.
  • The Operator must have fully electronic management systems for maintenance and drivers’ hours that will alert the operator and DVSA of compliance issues. Operators must use validated IT system suppliers.
  • A history of good compliance measured against DfT’s National Fleet Compliance Survey and with no regulatory action by a Traffic Commissioner for at least 2 years other than warnings.
  • A legal entity controlling multiple operator licences can only be considered for accreditation on the business as a whole and not on individual licences. Operators that hold multiple licences must report the data for all the operator licences that are in their control.
  • An organisation containing multiple legal entities operating under one group using the same management systems and measures may choose to make a single group application. The audit standards and key performance indicators would apply and be measured over the group as a whole. An individual legal entity cannot be removed from the group accreditation unless it changes ownership or ceases to exist.
  • DVSA must be notified of any material changes to the legal entity of the accredited operator. Accredited operators acquiring a business, which is an operator licence holder but not accredited into the scheme and incorporated in to the legal entity or in the case of a group accreditation part of the group, must meet the Earned Recognition standard by the next periodic audit or as agreed with DVSA. During this period, those operator licence(s) will not be subject to the benefits of Earned Recognition status.
  • When an accredited operator is acquired, merges or is incorporated into the entity of an operator who does not have Earned Recognition status, the DVSA must be notified. If the entity remains predominantly unchanged, with the agreement of the DVSA, the Earned Recognition status can be maintained. If, however, the change means the operator cannot meet the requirements for Earned Recognition the accreditation may be withdrawn by the DVSA.

2. Application

Operators can apply by completing the online application form DVSAER01.

Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/766308/dvsa-earned-recognition-operator-application-form.pdf

3. Application period: 3-6 months

4. Cost: Its free to join the scheme.


The Benefits

  • Be an exemplary operator, and be able to prove this when you bid for contracts
  • Be less likely to have your vehicles stopped at the roadside for inspections
  • Be less likely to have DVSA enforcement staff visit your premises
  • Be able to use the DVSA earned recognition marque on your website and other publicity materials (but not on your vehicles)
  • Direct access to the DVSA earned recognition business team
  • Improved road safety due to re-investment of DVSA resources to focus activities on the non-compliant
  • Provides a platform for future DVSA initiatives

Auditing by DVSA

The DVSA will audit against a defined set of standards, these standards include:

  • Operator’s Licence
  • Transport Manager
  • Vehicle standards
  • Drivers hours
  • Operational Management
  • Driver management
  • Training & driver behaviour
  • Driver related policies
  • ADR (HGV standards) or service work (PSV standards)

Only one audit is required per operator or group.

Your systems MUST be audited by the DVSA or a DVSA Authorised audit provided.

You may have to pay for the audit, depending on the provider you choose to carry out the audit.



  • DVSA will request to review the latest 3 months drivers hours data from driver cards and vehicle units.
  • Vehicles will be selected by DVSA for the audit.
  • Reassessments & audits will be carried out every two years by the DVSA to ensure compliance.


Further guidance can be found at: