Examining the standards of test providers

Diamond examiners and the training and testing processes for taxi/PHV drivers

Diamond is the UK’s only government accredited advanced driver and rider development programme wholly delivered by regulated, professional trainers and examiners. Diamond’s examiner training programme is robust, ensuring examiners are equipped with all the necessary skills to assess and test those looking to complete and take a taxi/PHV test.

Diamond has for a number of years assisted Councils throughout the UK with their PHV (private hire vehicle) and taxi testing requirements. Currently there are over 100 Diamond examiners nationally who are able to conduct training and/or testing where needed for taxi/PHV drivers. Examiners work independently or in large regional teams to provide the best service for that particular area.

There are a variety of providers in the UK offering taxi training and testing services and it has been brought to our attention over the years that not all of these companies are providing adequate training or the skills required to be an examiner. Being an examiner requires a particular set of skills to ensure uniformity and customer care. Diamond prides itself on very high standards and a robust training syllabus for examiners. All Diamond examiners must adhere to our Terms and Conditions of Office, DIA’s (Driver Instructors Association’s) code of conduct and be fully paid members of the DIA, ensuring adequate cover on Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance.

As well as the above requirements, all Diamond examiners need to be Government regulated ADIs (Approved Driving Instructors) and are required to complete a Diamond 3 day examiner course, the Diamond elite test and the Diploma in Driver Education within two years of qualifying as an examiner. The 3 day examiner course, includes 1 classroom day covering all legal and testing requirements and 2 days in car training with a final assessment on day 3, ensuring the required standard has been met.

The Diamond elite test is an entry requirement on to the examiner course and this ensures all candidates are driving to a very high standard before embarking on the examiner training. As well as the above requirements, all Diamond examiners need to be Government regulated ADIs (Approved Driving Instructors) and are required to complete a Diamond 3 day examiner course, the Diamond Elite Test and the Diploma in Driver Education within two years of qualifying as an examiner.

The 3 day examiner course, includes 1 classroom day covering all legal and testing requirements and 2 days in car training with a final assessment on day 3, ensuring the required standard has been met. The Diamond elite test is an entry requirement on to the examiner course and this ensures all candidates are driving to a very high standard before embarking on the examiner training.


There are some very important checks pre-test, made by Diamond examiners to ensure clients applying to local authorities for licences are fully compliant legally when it comes to their taxi test. Some of these checks will include the following: 

1. ‘Check a client’s entitlement to drive the vehicle and their ability to read a number plate at the statutory distance on the first lesson and regularly during their training’.  

At the beginning of every test examiners will check a client’s eyesight in order to meet the statutory requirements. If the eyesight requirement is not met the test will be cancelled and the client will loose their fee. Diamond trainers are also expected to make these checks on the first lesson and to give the appropriate advice to a client should that person not be successful.

Taking a lesson or lessons before embarking on a Diamond test will ensure that a client is well prepared for the test day itself and any problems should be flagged up during this training. Candidates booking a test through Diamond will always be encouraged to take some training before taking any one of our advanced testing options.

 2. ‘Ensure that when presenting a client for a practical driving test the client has all the necessary documentation to enable the client to take the test’.

This is a very important aspect to any practical driving test. All Diamond examiners are trained to liaise with the client and ensure they bring all the necessary paperwork on the test day itself. If a client does not bring all the relevant documentation on the day, the test will be cancelled before they even start the engine. Driving licence checks need to be made on line or over the telephone with the DVLA and this will require either the client giving the examiner a code or driving licence and NI number to be able to verify all the relevant licence details.

Examiners also need to check the photo ID and that the signature on the driving licence matches the insurance declaration signature on the Diamond test report. Licence checking is so important particularly on taxi tests where local authorities are reassured that Diamond examiners make all the necessary checks to avoid fraud and misinterpretation.

3. ‘The vehicle complies with all aspects of motoring law’.

Diamond tests will be conducted in a variety of vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Some cars will not necessary be the candidates own car, some will have been borrowed via friends and family, whilst others will be loan or company cars. The vehicle must comply with all aspects of the law and if the vehicle is not roadworthy the test will not go ahead.

Diamond examiners check all around the vehicle with visual checks focusing in particular on the tyres and lights, these two aspects being the most common cause of a test being cancelled either for illegal tread depth or a brake light not working. There have however been other reasons to cancel a test including wipers not working or sharp bits of metal sticking out where it shouldn’t.

As you can imagine candidates can get quite agitated when a test is cancelled, if the vehicle does not comply however, at no point, should an examiner have to compromise their safety or the safety of others. Once again if a candidate takes some training before a test these requirements will be highlighted to them then during their training.

Examiners look at faults as follows: 

Driving faults – are faults, which are on their own, are not sufficiently serious as to warrant failure to pass the test but are worthy of being recorded.

Serious faults – is a fault, which is potentially dangerous and sufficient to warrant failure on its own.

Dangerous faults – is one that involves actual danger (or damage) to other road users, the candidate, the examiner or property.

Diamond taxi/PHV test driving faults and pass requirements

0-9  (No serious or dangerous fault) Pass

9 plus faults (or one serious or dangerous fault) Fail

Diamond Advanced Taxi/PHV Test requirements:

  • A signed declaration on the test report that the vehicle brought to test is properly insured and taxed for test purposes. This signature will be checked against the driving licence for verification.
  • Preliminary vehicle and eyesight checks must all be legal and compliant.
  • 2 manoeuvres (reverse left or right in to a limited opening, reverse parking in to a bay or on the road or a turn in the road/U turn/taxi manoeuvre).
  • Emergency stop (can be compulsory if required by a council).
  • 2 questions from the Highway Code (can be compulsory if required by a council).
  • A valid and current driving licence will be checked prior or on the test day together with signature validation.
  • Enhanced taxi/PHV tests cover wheelchair accessible cars and their drivers. The Diamond enhanced test, will be conducted by a Diamond examiner who has attended and completed the Diamond wheelchair course. This course will cover the skills required to assess those with wheelchair accessible vehicles. The Diamond wheelchair course covers all legal regulations and customer care needed to assess this type of driver.

What is the Diamond system based on?

The Diamond Tests are based on the Cardington system of marking, used by the DVSA on their standard driving tests. Diamond, runs a parallel system in line with DVSA testing requirements and we are accredited on this basis.

The Cardington marking system is an objective system based on grading the seriousness of driving faults, ranging from those not worth marking to dangerous faults. The principles underpinning the system are designed to assess a driver’s control of the car and ability to mix with other traffic on the road. The Diamond tests take these principles and apply them more stringently and with a greater emphasis on safety and ecological driving.

Diamond head office

Diamond offices are open Monday-Friday, 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m and can be contacted on 0208 253 0124. and our on line booking system is available for clients 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. All calls, requirements and complaints are dealt with at our head office in Crawley and our Diamond team can assist councils, PHV/taxi drivers and examiners with any concerns and queries they may have.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *