Sacked driving examiner was told to fail more people

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By Christine Lavelle

A DRIVING examiner whose pass rate was deemed “too high” by bosses has told how he was sacked for not failing enough candidates.

Jim Kerr, 61, launched a leaflet protest after being let go by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) earlier this month.

He said: “I have worked as a driving examiner for 23 years and underwent regular spot checks for quality control purposes.

“My decision to pass or fail was never called into question.”

The problem began when the DSA introduced a new “chi-square” mathematical system which collects pass rates for individual testers, and compares their performance to colleagues at the same test centre.

Mr Kerr, from Newlands in Glasgow, worked at the Shieldhall Test Centre, and said: “I was called in last March and told that, because my pass rate was higher than my colleagues’, I must be doing things wrong – and had to fail more people.

“I was shocked.

“I was probably the most experienced examiner at Shieldhall and possibly the only one not to have a disagreed decision in the quality control process.”

He said the situation caused him so much stress that he had to be signed off sick.

He said: “The only way for me to have continued in my job and avoided the sack would be to deliberately fail people that I would consider to have actually passed their test and I just couldn’t do that.

“I asked for the test centre to be ‘benchmarked’, which would have meant bringing in someone to sit in on tests for a month to establish the true pass rate.

“I said that if the pass rate was lower than mine, I would resign.

“But they refused.

“The DSA don’t care if examiners consistently test to the correct standard.

“All that matters is whether examiners at the same test centre have the same pass and fail rates.”

Mr Kerr was off sick for six months, and was sacked a few weeks ago for “non-attendance.”

He said: “I feel I had no choice.

“If I had gone back, they would have queried my every decision.

“How could I save my job at the expense of failing people who had actually passed?”

He has since designed a leaflet which highlights the issue, but has been told by the DSA he risks being arrested if he tries to hand them out at the test centre again.

A DSA spokesman said: “Mr Kerr’s dismissal was in no way linked to any variation in pass rates.

“Examiners are trained to assess all tests in strict accordance with the DSA guidelines; their performance is monitored to ensure they meet the high standards required of them, but they do not have quotas.

“Every test is assessed independently and on its own merits.”