Question:   In the MOT seminars and Matters of Testing you oftentalk about CITA and your foreign trips abroad. What isCITA and is it good use of our MOT fee money for civilservants to globe trot?

Expert Answer:   
Well thatís a barbed question isnít it? Thanks for that! Let me explain:

CITA stands for Comite International de líInspection Technique Automobile. This translates as the International Motor Vehicle Inspection Committee. CITA started out life in 1968 when a small group of nine heads of European testing organisations got together in Ostend, Belgium. Great Britain was represented by a guy called Cliff Toyne who was the head of the Vehicle Inspection Division that became VOSA many years later. CITAís objectives then, much as now, were to exchange information and jointly develop best practice for testing and inspection. There was a tremendous opportunity to learn from othersí experiences, pool information and jointly develop best practices. The main benefits of CITA are:

ē reduced development risks, time and costs;
ē increased efficiency and effectiveness from being able to tap into an expanded knowledge and expertise base; and
ē shared intelligence on technical developments, international policy and standards, and the benefits of testing.

As for globe trotting, most of the travel is confined to nearby European cities just an hour or two away, and on budget airlines. Brussels in Belgium is the most often used venue because thatís where CITAís HQ is located. Occasionally, other countries will host working group meetings because that can help reduce travel costs and spread the load a little for those furthest from Belgium.

It sounds exotic and to be honest itís not bad at first. But after a few trips, all you ever seem to remember is the airport lounges and the backs of taxi driversí heads! Itís not even that good for practising your language skills because all meetings are conducted in English! CITA is also now a global power and stretches to all continents with members testing easily 200 million vehicles every year. Weíre not so big headed in VOSA that we canít learn from others. We get to hear many good ideas that we can adopt for ourselves and, more often than not, we are seen as a good source of best practice.

In recent years, VOSA has helped many countries to develop their own annual test systems. VOSA is also assisting (by correspondence alone unfortunately) the development of motorcycle testing in the Far East, because of our status as one of the few authorities in the world thatís been testing bikes for more than 40 years. So yes, it is good value for your money to have our MOT scheme at the forefront of European thinking and appreciated by the rest of the world. Something I am sure youíll agree with.

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