• Modernising MiDAS: Insights from DATs and their vision for the future

  • In February, we sent out a survey to gather valuable insights from Driver Assessor Trainers (DATs). As the people responsible for the delivery of MiDAS Driver training, the insights and expertise of DATs are vital to its success. We wanted to understand their experiences of delivering MiDAS and how they would like to see it develop.

    We are grateful to the hundreds of DATs who took the time to respond. DATs come from a wide range of sectors and often undertake a range of roles (on average a DAT spends 22% of their time delivering or administering MiDAS). Some solely deliver MiDAS to drivers in their own organisation (33%) whilst others deliver to a range of organisations (67%), including to schools, community transport operators and the wider voluntary sector. No matter the circumstances, it’s clear that DATs are committed to utilising their expertise to support journeys to be safe, legal and comfortable. Below you can find a summary of our key findings.

    Our survey delved into the challenges DATs face when delivering MiDAS training, revealing several recurring issues:

    • Ambiguity in theory assessment questions.
    • Lack of guidance on different vehicle types, such as automatic vehicles and electric buses.
    • Content of presentations perceived as repetitive, outdated and too long.
    • Outdated terminology.
    • Calls for MiDAS to evolve to remain relevant.
    • Desire for electronic administrative processes and greater use of technology.
    • Concerns about candidates lacking minibus driving experience.
    • Problems with external agencies lacking suitable minibuses for assessments.
    • Request for training to be more flexible based on driver needs.
    • Insufficient support material for practical exercises.
    • Overlapping content between PATS and accessible training.
    • Need for an updated driver marking sheet.
    • Preference for more practical training.
    • Cancellation issues due to time constraints.
    • Difficulty finding local DATs.
    • Demand for Welsh certificates.
    • Issues with candidates lacking the correct minibus driving license.
    • Preference for digital support material.
    • Syllabus has become outdated.

    Amidst the challenges, DATs also expressed appreciation for several aspects of MiDAS:

    • Positive feedback on elements of the course relating to passenger assistance, driver-specific legislation, and safe economic driving.
    • Recognition of informative practical assistance training.
    • The modular nature of the course (although comments were that this should be developed further).
    • Acknowledgment of the quality of the driving assessment.

    DATs shared their vision for a revamped MiDAS, with the following improvement areas:

    • Incorporating “5 steps to safety” as a standard.
    • Adding a highway code section and road sign quizzes.
    • Diversifying theory questions.
    • Breaking down content into essential and desirable training.
    • Transitioning to electronic certificates.
    • Including a practical vehicle-checking session.
    • Offering online self-directed learning.
    • Merging PATS and accessible training.
    • Offering trainer demo trial courses.
    • Providing online classrooms and interactive quizzes.
    • Incorporating more challenging examples in assessments.
    • Emphasizing practical training over theory.
    • Addressing syllabus gaps related to smart motorways and mirror usage.

    Next steps

    We are extremely grateful for the valuable insights shared by the DAT community as they have been instrumental in shaping our work to modernise MiDAS. You can find the latest updates about how we’re using these findings, here.