Founder of  the ADI Federation and champion for better driver training Barbara Trafford talks to us about her journey with the not-for-profit association and how driving instructors can take advantage of the support the Federation has to offer.

Barbara set-up the Federation in 1996 and helps build a bridge between driving instructors and DSA. Over the years she has helped ADIs during times of crisis including offering counsel when pupils have made false accusations and guided them through the appeals process plus helped driving instructors obtain refunds on ADI badges and plenty more.

The ADI Federation is one of many membership associations available for driving instructors. We asked Barbara to tell us a little bit about what makes the ADI Federation stand out from the rest.


Q: What is the aim of the ADI Federation?
A: Our aim is to offer advice, support and one-to-one help to every one of our individual members. We are not (by choice) a consultative body, but instead choose to direct our resources to our members. As a non-profit making organisation, we do not sell merchandise to members, but exist on membership subscriptions alone. We have always hoped to achieve an excellent service to members and we believe that we have done this, but we are not complacent in that we always strive to improve in whatever way we can.

Q: So, you run the ADI Federation on your own. How do you respond to all queries?
A: Not quite, I have colleagues who help once in a while, in particular Nick Hayward who steps in to help with check test advice and training, both fleet and learner driver. All other queries are dealt with on an individual merit, as they all differ so much. Our office is small, but well equipped to deal with any query that comes in.

Q: How does the ADI Federation compare to other associations?
A: We are not politically motivated and do not get embroiled in the ‘consultation process’ but instead channel all our efforts into helping members on a personal level, something we feel is unique. We are very proud of our record of achieving results within an hour – often considerably less, and all to our member’s complete satisfaction.

Q: What would you say to a non-member to encourage them to join?
A: Our record of achievement is first rate. Our members receive an email weekly to keep them up-to-date with any breaking news or information that is useful or interesting. If something important occurs at any time during the week, then members are emailed immediately, sometimes, focusing on specific areas in the UK. We are also on occasion, able to offer work opportunities on behalf of larger companies, as well as passing pupils around to members when the pupil moves away, perhaps to attend a university. We have a price promise of no increase in subscription charges to loyal members and with membership as low as only £1 per week, we feel it is excellent value for money.

Barbard Trafford receiving an award

Barbara Traffird receiving an award from a group of ADIs for her work with the Federation

Q: What are the common challenges you help driving instructors overcome?
A: Every time the telephone rings we never know what to expect, but we excel in dealing with whatever challenge we are faced with. Common queries go through fads, with the most common now with check test advice and preparation, closely followed by members telling us of the difficulties of dealing with the DSA since their telephone services have been reduced and that the DSA on-line services not being as customer friendly as would be appreciated.
Q: What is the future of the ADI Federation?
A: Our members have often said that the ADI Federation is likened to a big family, which indicates that our members feel that they belong and that we care. In the early days I wanted to simply be there to help fellow ADIs as and when they needed a little support and my own early aims and objectives have surpassed what I had then expected or desired. Like any family, we grow, extend and flourish. I have a few years before I need to retire, but already Nick Hayward is helping me in reducing my workload, whilst increasing his own with ADI Federation business, something Nick is enjoying and will do well at. We will continue to focus all our energies on helping our members.

Q: How can I join The ADI Federation?
A: You can simply download a joining form from Complete the form, sign and send it with payment to our office. All new members are automatically entered into our cash prize draw and could win £25! That draw takes place in December and the winner announced in our weekly email to members.

Barbara is continuing to help driving instructors on a daily basis and is proud to say the members of the most important part of the Federation. The members support the Federation because they in turn get support when they need it.

If you would like to find out more about the Federation who is working to unite ADIs then visit