This was a multi-faceted campaign aimed at clearly identified target audiences with good creative tactics focussed on delivering the business benefits. It achieved exceptional reach and proved what can be delivered with enthusiasm on a minimal budget. The team adapted tactics in response to monitored feedback from the target audience, ensuring the campaign had clear resonance throughout, and used excellent insight into the target audiences to differentiate their activity, whilst ensuring they didn’t neglect the internal audience. This campaign had robust evaluation measures and DVSA continue to adapt and develop materials and tactics as new challenges arise.

Mark of Excellence:

  • Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency


  • Surrey Police
    Policing Matters – Tackling non-policing, contact-centre demand
  • Tin Man and The Institution of Engineering and Technology
  • Umpf, The Right Agency and NHS Health Education England
  • University of Cambridge
    Breaking the Silence

Winner entry:

Brief and objectives:

In 2017, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) prepared Great Britain for the most significant changes to the driving test since the 1970s.


  • Driving examiners have the information they need to deliver the new test 6 months before launch on 4 December 2017. They understand why, what and how the changes will happen.
  • Learner drivers have the information they need to prepare for their test 3 months before the new test launches. They understand what’s changing; when and why.
  • Driving instructors have the information they need to prepare their pupils for the driving test 6 months before 4 December 2017. They understand what’s changing; when, why and how to prepare pupils.
  • Avoid complaints about changes.

Rationale behind campaign, including research and planning:

Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people, accounting for over a quarter of all deaths amongst 15 – 19 year olds. One in 5 people killed or seriously injured on the roads is in a collision where a car driver is aged between 17 and 24. Most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads. Changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be used on test.

Driving examiners

  • Think: understand the planned changes to the driving test and what they mean for me.
  • Feel: able and ready to examine learner drivers using the new test.
  • Do: support the test changes and examine candidates using the new test from 4 December.
  • Influencers: DVSA operational leaders, Peers
  • Channels: Internal DVSA channels including direct email, DVSA News, management communications and intranet. Trainers at test centres

Driving instructors

  • Think: understand the planned changes to the driving test and how I can prepare pupils.
  • Feel: able to prepare my pupils.
  • Do: support the test changes and make sure my pupils know about, practice and are ready for the new test.
  • Influencers: National Associations Strategic Partnership, DVSA, PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety)
  • Channels: Trade Media (Intelligent Instructor, MSA Newslink, Driving Instructor etc), Despatch blog (70,000 subscribers), in test centres

Learner drivers

  • Think: the driving test is changing and I’ll be tested differently from 4 December. The new test will help me be safer on Britain’s roads.
  • Feel: prepared to take the new test.
  • Do: practised and prepared for the new test, I’m ready to take it, and I’m not surprised by changes.
  • Influencers: parents, driving instructors, friends, teachers, online lives and vloggers
  • Channels: Word of mouth, government, social media (eg Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, YouTube), GOV.UK, First Car magazine, in test centres

Learners’ parents / carers

  • Think: know the driving test is changing for the better. My child / dependent will be tested differently from 4 December 2017. The new test will help new drivers be safer on Britain’s roads.
  • Feel: government has given adequate notice of the changes so my child / dependent has had sufficient time to prepare for the new test.
  • Do: make sure my child / dependent knows the test is changing and any private practice they have will prepare them.
  • Influencers: trusted organisations eg ROSPA, Government, schools, AA, RAC
  • Channels: National online, print and broadcast media, GOV.UK

Strategy and tactics, including creativity and innovation:

To change audience behaviours, we identified four interventions:

  • Clarify the 4 December launch date, the reasons changes will help to improve safety.
  • Reassure that the changes have been properly developed – from a large-scale trial through to public consultation with high support
  • Demonstrate the test is safe
  • Explain the test will help you through a lifetime of safe driving, keeping up with changes in technology and driving risks



  • Handbook for driving instructors
  • GOV.UK Notify
  • Posters in test centres
  • Emails to driving examiners


  • Early engagement
  • Supporting quotes (AA president, RAC Foundation, Road Safety GB, Driving Instructor Association)

Media relations:

  • Milestone releases: April, September, 4 November, 22 November, 4 December
  • Interviews with media and mock driving tests

Social and digital:

  • Shareable infographics: stakeholder statements; summary of changes.
  • BuzzFeed article
  • Videos to demonstrate the changes
  • GOV.UK News story
  • Nine blog posts (April to December) on Despatch blog (read by driving instructors)


  • News stories and blogs
  • Training
  • Policy colleagues visiting test centres

Implementation of tactics:

Announce: April 2017 – Early preparation for driving instructors so they have time to prepare their pupils

How: Announcement release; Despatch blog; Posters in theory and practical test centres

Prepare: September – November 2017 – Advance notice for all audiences so they are ready for the changes.

How: Internal and external blog post – Interview with trial candidate; Handbook issued to 40k approved driving instructors; First Car (Theory) magazine article; Videos launched and promoted; three month, one month and one week to go news releases; regional media exclusives; direct message to all driving examiners; Buzzfeed article.

Change: 4 December – Test goes live, all audiences need to be aware and prepared.

How: National news release; media relations; social media (Facebook, Twitter, DVSA blogs etc); new GOV.UK pages and YouTube videos live

Measurement and evaluation:


  • DVSA Chief Driving Examiner interviews: BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain, Sky News, BBC You and Yours; 6 BBC local radio programmes, reaching 7,302,286 people.
  • 39 national, 195 regional and trade stories, including DVSA statement.
  • 748 new subscribers to email alerts and blog posts.
  • GOV.UK news story had 118,848 views in December and 1,536,690 since April – the most-read news story on GOV.UK in 2017.
  • Direct alert 220,000 learner drivers.
  • DVSA tweets reached 1,066,064 accounts.
  • #drivingtestchanges reached 1,823,955 accounts
  • Facebook: 68,000 post reach, 805 engagements.
  • YouTube: Driving test 2017: official DVSA guide: 17,222 views
  • Email alert sent to 115,788 subscribers with 36% open rate


  • Over half of instructors said the handbook helped their understanding of the changes. 71% felt they had adequate time to prepare.
  • DVSA’s customer service centre didn’t take extra calls or complaints.

Budget and cost effectiveness:

This was a statutory communication of a significant change to a public service.

Most activity was no-cost, using existing communications channels and relationships.

The only cost was to print and mail a handbook to instructors: £22,840.98 inc VAT