Devon

Devon driving test examiner 'bullied over pass rate'

A Devon driving test examiner has told a tribunal her bosses put pressure on her to increase her pass rate.

Nicola Bentley-Lovell, from Sticklepath on Dartmoor, is claiming constructive unfair dismissal against the Driving Standards Agency.

In her statement, she said she had worked as a driving examiner for seven years until October 2010.

But she said she quit after she "sustained a large amount of bullying and harassment for my pass rate".

Mrs Bentley-Lovell claimed in six years, she underwent 165 check tests - where a supervisor sits behind the examiner in the car during a driving test. She said the normal rate for check tests was six to eight times a year.

'Heath and safety'

She told the employment tribunal panel in Exeter that her immediate bosses urged her to increase her pass rate because her rate was below the "acceptable variance".

She said during one test, a learner driver reversed round a corner and ended up on the wrong side of the road and she claims that her bosses said she should have given the applicant just a driver fault "to get her pass rate up".

She said she refused to compromise her pass rate, which was around 36% compared with the national average of 46%, because of the health and safety risks to the public.

Mrs Bentley-Lovell also claimed that a colleague carried out secret surveillance to "catch me out" over the length of her driving tests for which there is a legal requirement.

She also alleged at the hearing that some colleagues were told "not to be too friendly with Nicola as it might affect their career".

She added: "If I returned to work and I did everything required, if my pass rate did not come up in line with the others in Exeter, I would be dismissed."

Mrs Bentley-Lovell described her treatment as "degrading" and resigned from her job.

The case continues.

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