THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
2.1 Legal requirements
To accompany a learner driver, you must:
- be 21 or over
- be qualified to drive the same category of vehicle you’re supervising them in
- have had a full licence for that category for at least 3 years
To legally charge anyone money (or monies worth) for driving instruction in a car, you must either:
- be on the ADI register
- have a trainee driving instructor licence
It’s illegal to charge someone for driving lessons if you’re not qualified and registered, or if you do not have a trainee driving instructor licence.
When you’re giving driving lessons, you’re responsible for your own safety, that of your pupil and other road users.
You have to show a:
- high regard for all aspects of road safety
- high standard of driving and instructional ability
- professional approach to your customers
- responsible attitude to your pupils and profession
You must display your ADI registration certificate (commonly known as an ‘ADI badge’) or trainee licence while giving paid instruction.
2.3 How ADIs are regulated
When you qualify, your name is added to the register of ADIs.
The ADI Registrar is responsible for the ADI register. The Registrar works for DVSA.
The ADI Registrar can:
- refuse to let you join the register or stay on it if you do not meet the registration rules
- remove you from the register in certain circumstances
- refuse to let you rejoin if you were previously removed from the register
The ADI Registrar acts on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport when they:
- ask you to give information to register or stay on the register
- make decisions about your registration
2.4 Being a ‘fit and proper’ person
You must be a ‘fit and proper’ person to be an ADI.
ADIs are in a position of considerable trust. The ADI Registrar protects the image of the register and maintains the public’s confidence in the ADI industry.
What ‘fit and proper’ means
The law says you must be a ‘fit and proper’ person, but does not define what it means.
The ADI Registrar interprets it as the personal and professional standards, conduct or behaviour that could be unacceptable in the eyes of the public and other ADIs.
It’s not possible to be definitive about what’s classed as ‘fit and proper’. There has to be some discretion to take into account the circumstances of each case.
The ADI Registrar makes an assessment of the risk you’re likely to pose to the public.
When deciding if you’re a ‘fit and proper’ person, DVSA will check if you have:
- any motoring or non-motoring cautions, convictions or fixed penalty notices
- been disqualified from driving
- any court proceedings pending against you
- been banned or barred from working with children under 18 years of age
- had any substantiated complaints of inappropriate behaviour or misconduct
- had any substantiated complaints for financially inappropriate or fraudulent activity
Sources of information
This information comes from a number of sources, including:
- application forms and information you give
- DVLA records (to find out if you have any motoring offences)
- enhanced level Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
- reports from the police or barring information from DBS
- complaints made to DVSA by the public
The ADI Registrar is allowed to get other information during your registration period that they reasonably need. This includes:
- DVLA reports of motoring convictions
- information from the police about allegations and motoring or criminal cautions or convictions
- information from complainants, including successful applications to a court or bank to reclaim money that had been paid for driving lessons that were not provided or refunded
Code of practice
DVSA and the driving instruction industry have an agreed voluntary code of practice on professional standards and business practices.
It gives a summary of the conduct and behaviours that DVSA and the public expect from an ADI.
2.5 Having a criminal record check
You’ll have a criminal record check when you apply to become an ADI, and each time you apply to renew your ADI registration.
Having a criminal record will not necessarily stop you from becoming an ADI.
You could be committing a criminal offence if you try to work as an ADI if you’re banned or barred from working with children under 18.
Factors taken into account
Before reaching a decision on whether you’re a ‘fit and proper’ person, the risk you’re likely to pose to pupils is assessed by considering factors like:
- whether the caution, conviction or other information revealed is relevant to the ADI role
- the seriousness of any offence
- the circumstances surrounding an offence and the explanation
- the length of time since the offence occurred and if it’s ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
- whether there’s a pattern of offending behaviour
- whether the circumstances have changed since the offending behaviour
Each case is considered on an individual basis. The ADI Registrar will write to you giving you the opportunity to explain your circumstances before making a final decision.
Offences where it’s unlikely you’re ‘fit and proper’
There are some situations where it’s unlikely that:
- applications to start the qualification process or registration would be accepted
- you’d be allowed to continue to use a trainee licence
- you’d be allowed to remain on the register once qualified
These include both motoring and non-motoring offences.
You cannot apply to become an ADI if you’ve been banned (disqualified) from driving in the last 4 years.
It’s also unlikely that you’ll be classed as a ‘fit and proper’ person if you’ve been found guilty of:
- driving whilst disqualified
- driving under the influence of drink or drugs
- dangerous driving
- driving without due care and attention
- failing to stop after an accident
- failing to give information as to the identity of the driver
- driving without insurance
- driving while using a hand-held mobile phone
- excessive speeding
Many of these offences will result in 6 or more penalty points being put on your driving licence.
The ADI Registrar has refused applications or removed an ADI from the register when they’ve had 5 or more penalty points within the last 3 years under the ‘totting up’ rules.
You’re unlikely to be ‘fit and proper’ if you’ve been cautioned for or convicted of:
- sexual assault - in particular, offences involving pupils
- making, possessing or distributing indecent or pornographic images
- an offence of a sexual nature involving children
- perverting the course of justice
- possession or supply of drugs
- fraud - in particular, offences involving illegal driving instruction
- theft - in particular, offences involving the theft of tuition fees
You’re also unlikely to be ‘fit and proper’ if you have:
- any court judgements against you for failing to provide lessons for which you have been paid
- been placed on the sex offenders register
- been banned or barred from working with children under 18 years of age
Protecting your criminal record check data
Information on a criminal record certificate is only seen by DVSA staff who need to see it as part of the suitability assessment process. They have:
- been suitably trained to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences
- received appropriate guidance and training in the relevant legislation relating to the employment of ex-offenders, such as the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
3. Becoming a driving instructor
You must meet the legal requirements to start the qualifying process.
The process you have to follow will depend on your situation.
Before you start, use the ADI job preview service to find out:
- what it’s like being an ADI
- whether you’re suitable for this kind of work
- your level of understanding of driving theory and practice