Detailed guide: DVSA earned recognition: join the scheme

Driver Vehicle Standards Agency

November 11
10:56 2019

What is DVSA earned recognition

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) earned recognition scheme is a new way to prove you meet driver and vehicle standards.

This means that youre:

  • continuously monitoring your own compliance
  • using DVSA-validated IT systems
  • compliant with vehicle and road safety standards

Its a voluntary scheme thats designed to work for operators of all sizes.

How it works

Diagram of how earned recognition works- papers (bottom left) arrow then points to vehicle systems and driver activity arrow from there points to KPI check boxes arrow from there points to earned recognition logo

You need to have a DVSA-validated IT system for vehicle maintenance and drivers hours. This will monitor whether youre meeting a set of key performance indicators (KPIs).

Every 4 weeks, your system will tell DVSA if youve missed any of the KPIs by a set amount. If this happens, DVSA will work with you to fix any problems.

DVSA will not have direct access to any of your data or systems.

What are the benefits

As a DVSA earned recognition operator youll:

  • 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)
  • be recognised as a DVSA-accredited operator on GOV.UK
  • have direct access to a dedicated earned recognition team in DVSA


Before you apply you need to make sure that you meet the following criteria:

  • youve had a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) or public service vehicle (PSV) operator licence for at least 2 years
  • the Traffic Commissioner hasnt taken any regulatory action (other than a formal warning) on any of your operator licences in the last 2 years
  • you have digital management systems for vehicle maintenance and drivers hours, which can track the KPIs and automatically report if theyre missed
  • you meet the earned recognition audit standards

If you have multiple operator licences

The application can only be made for the whole business - not individual licences. You must report the data for all your operator licences.

If your organisation contains multiple legal entities operating under one group - using the same management systems - you can 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 no longer exists.

How much it costs

Theres no application fee to join the scheme.


Your systems and processes must be audited by a DVSA-authorised audit provider:

  • once your application has been reviewed
  • every 2 years after youve joined the scheme

You might need to pay for this, depending on the provider you choose. The providers set their own fees.

If DVSA grants you a concession, youll need an audit covering the appropriate section every year, up to April 2021.

List of DVSA earned recognition authorised audit providers

IT systems

You might need to pay to update your IT systems if they cannot measure and report on the KPIs.

The system suppliers set their own fees.

Youll need fully electronic systems by April 2021.

List of DVSA earned recognition validated IT suppliers

Earned recognition terms and conditions

As an operator, you need to meet and agree the DVSA earned recognition terms and conditions.

DVSA earned recognition: terms and conditions (PDF, 1.39MB, 11 pages)

Apply to join the scheme

  1. Read the self-assessment checklist.

  2. Check if your IT system provider and audit provider have registered with DVSA. If they havent, tell them to email to get the documents they need.

  3. Read the guidance notes on completing the application form.

  4. Download and complete the application form if you meet the eligibility criteria.

  5. DVSA will check your application and get back to you.

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