News : DVLA reforms mean closures; more online

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Roads Minister Mike Penning gave the go-ahead for wide-ranging reforms of the DVLA aimed at providing motorists with a better, quicker service.

DVLA to be reformed - offices to close; services to be extended online
DVLA to be reformed – offices to close; services to be extended online

The main improvements will come from centralising DVLA services and making more transactions available online. This will make it easier for car owners, drivers and traders to inter-act with the agency at times and places that suit them.

It will also result in an annual saving of around £26 million for the taxpayer. The DVLA’s 39 regional offices will close over a period from October 2013 to December 2013, by which time alternative services will be available as front office counter services, online or directly from Swansea. Some regional staff will be relocated to DVLA Swansea.

Roads Minister, Mike Penning said: ‘These changes – developed after carefully listening to views expressed at consultation – will ensure that the agency delivers a smarter service to bring real benefits for the motor industry and every motorist in this country.’

DVLA’s Chief Executive, Simon Tse said: ‘We are committed to delivering the best service we can. Our continued movement towards digital transactions and the greater use of other organisations to deliver services on our behalf will make it easier for motorists to deal with us in a way that suits them and also reduce significant burden on the motor industry and other stakeholders.’

The reforms announced today follow a public consultation on the transformation of DVLA’s services.  The DVLA’s response to the consultation can be viewed here www.dft.gov.uk/dvla/transformation. The plans will also allow motorists in Northern Ireland to benefit from the same services that motorists in Great Britain have access to, giving parity of service across the UK.

Key changes as part of the transformation mean:

  • Motor dealers will be able to do far more for their customers using DVLA digital services. This will remove unnecessary burdens on the motorist and enable motor dealers to offer a one stop service in the vast majority of new and used vehicle sales.
  • There will be far greater use of front office services by intermediaries. Over 1 million licensing applications per year that currently can only be carried out at DVLA’s 39 regional offices (such as Trade Licences) will be available via a much wider network of around 6,000 front office services, cutting travel time for motorists and traders and giving them much greater choice of where they choose to deal with DVLA.
  • More of DVLA’s services will become digital.

A heavy burden on motor dealers will be removed by centralising the printing and despatching of tax discs direct to the registered keeper from DVLA’s HQ in Swansea.  Currently, motor dealers pay an indemnity to DVLA to store tax discs for the vehicles they register and licence (this typically amounts to a total of around £9 million per year).  By removing the burden on motor dealers to store discs, smaller dealers who currently cannot afford the indemnity will benefit and those dealers who currently pay the indemnity will see the advantages by the removal of time consuming administrative burden.

The work carried out at the 10 regional enforcement centres will be centralised in Swansea. No regional offices will close until alternative delivery channels are up and running.  This means that the phased closures will not start until October 2013 and are expected to be completed by December 2013.

  • Please visit www.direct.gov.uk/motoring for government information on all aspects of motoring, ranging from log books and driving licences to driving tests and vehicle tax.

[Source: Honest John]

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

17 Comments

  1. I still dont mind getting my excise licence disc at the Post Office. Call me a luddite but yet again all this “online for everything” means yet more jobs are getting removed and not replaced. The latest problems with computers at RBS/Natwest proves they are not infallable.

  2. How many feckups do the DVLA currently make? Getting rid of staff will increase these tenfold. When I got my last car, I had to change the taxation from disabled to PLG, and handily I had a DVLA office, where it was all sorted in a few minutes, and I came out with a tax disc. The local office in Leeds also used to come in handy when I had to go and register brand new vehicles that the company I worked for had imported. Doing stuff like that will now become much slower, and a total ball ache. The DVLA online computer system is also notorious for crashing!

  3. A very, very sad day. Especially for many classic car owners who have looked to research into the history of their example or have looked to relicence an old ‘barn find’ with its original registration number. The local VROs have been a godsend for many and no amount of political rhetoric or online this or online that will compensate the motorist for the loss of them.

  4. Will cherished number transfers and retentions be available online? handy if they were but could be problematic, and who’s going to inspect a car subject to a reg transfer should it be necessary? local offices currently do this, are you expected to drag both vehicles to Swansea ?!

  5. Whilst the Civil Service has, in the past, been somewhat inefficient in managing its manpower needs (my mother used to work for the Land Registry), I worry that those who will be made lobless will not necessarily find getting a replacement job easy.

    At the end of the day, it is all very well for politicians to spout off about making cuts to save money for the taxpayer, what they can’t seem to grasp is that there are not the jobs for people to go to. And who pays for their benefits? The taxpayer. Not only that, but by making people jobless greatly reduces their spending power to an absolute minimum- so that means that the taxpayer gets even less benefit, as they are not buying items except essentials that qualify for VAT, and retailers lose potential business also- look what happens to a local economy when hit with widespread unemployment- the local economy all but collapses. Hardly surprising that over 50 pubs a week are closing (and no that is not just down to cheap supermarket booze).

    I’m not suggesting that the Government artificially keeps everyone in employment, but just uses a bit of ‘joined up’ thinking to see that making cuts in jobs frequently fails to achieve the desired ends in decreasing the burden for the taxpayer (those that are still in employment that is).

    And no, the Private Sector will not take up the slack. Many private businesses are going through very tough times and are closing or laying people off. Those that are recruiting are often offering minimum wage, or close to, which people with mortgages, families, etc, can’t afford to do without Government subsidies paid for by, you’ve guessed it, the taxpayer.

  6. @6 i think it is well on the way to privatisation,they sell drivers details day in,day out.I have only ever had a poor experience with DVLA sometimes 20 mins on a mobile phone,5 minutes of which trawling through bloody menus and when its premium rate its beyond a joke.The trouble is,everytime you turn around in the public sector us, the taxpayer,pay for a service we dont recieve be it binmen,potholes or police.What difference is it going to make?it cant get any worse closing regional centres.they should be not for profit run and work smarter and harder.

  7. While I welcome the prospect of NI motorists being able to tax their car online, as per GB, going to the post office isn’t that big an ordeal (if you can get in before the penny counters, chatters and people lifting £10 at a time from those special post office accounts).

    I do worry though that NI will be absorbed into the GB system, meaning our cars will also be aged twice a year by their registration mark.

    The only time I go to the local DVA/DVLNI office is to register a newly bought GB car, or when I have bought a car with no tax and need to tax it with the little slip.

  8. I did read that the Ix codes have been set aside for used in NI if the systems are ever merged.

    MN has also been reserved for the Isle Of Man.

    the Jx series could be used for Jersey, I’ve only seen it so far on what look like personalised plates.

  9. @5..
    You maths is defective.. unless the benfits paid are more that the redundant DVLA staff take home. As the tax payer pays their wages.

    TBH they should just scrap SORN its a waste of time, achives nothing, is uneforcable and cost money to administer. Id also scrap road tax and raise the revenue of fuel its an antquated tax, and if on fuel there is no way to avoid it. All the arguments for keeping it are toatl nonsence

  10. @9 they only have to but a penny on fuel to cover the road fund license and abolish it,but why should they?its a “revenue stream” if the road fund license was more equitable,that meaning all roads in good repair and our road infrastructure up with the best in europe i would be happy paying it,as it is,i begrudge paying but have no choice.

  11. @9. Ford Prefect,

    My maths are usually defective unless I have both fingers and toes available to count on…

    But my point still stands, it is not just the cost of paying benefits that you have to consider, it is the knock-on effect of people in a local economy facing a drastic loss of income, and therefore not having their hair cut as often, going to the pub, buying clothes, spending much less on food, not to mention every other luxury, etc, etc…

    You try living on £65 a week and tell me how much you would budget on non-essentials in your local economy…

    I am myself currently out of work. My spending is at the bare minimum. And SORN is not a waste of time- I have a perfectly good Ford Escort on my drive which I hope to get roadworthy when I have found work again- if I had to tax, test, and insure it during this period then I’d have had to scrap it, and given that many jobs in this predominantly rural area require you to have transport, I’d be deprived of a relatively inexpensive way to get mobile.

    And of course SORN is enforcable- demonstrably so, as DVLA crews are often spotted in this locality amongst others, checking for offending vehicles on the road, whilst the Police have Automatic Number Plate Recognition which alerts them to non taxed/tested/insured vehicles in use on the roads. There will be those that slip through the net, and those who will be able to evade the system through subterfuge, but still, it is a system worth having.

  12. No SORN is unenforcable, I’ve proved it, as have a lot of others. Small bit of legislation called the interpreations act 1978.. section 7 is the part you need. It means that any letter posted is deemed to have arrived at its destination. Given that you are ‘innocent till proven guilty’ all you do is state that you posted the SORN, even if you did not, you do not have to prove you inocence, they have to prove your guilt. Game over for the DVLA. They can check as much as they like, it will get throw out every time with that defence, has done every time so far

    SORN is pointless. Prior to SORN you would have still had you car on the drive, you just would not have had to tell the DVLA you were not using it, its lack of tax disc would tell them that. So they have just added another layer of pointless complication to cost us money

  13. @12 interesting and valid points,but most people want to “do the right thing”both morally and legally.Personally i have never sorn’ed because i couldnt be arsed,by the same token those that do cant be arsed with the mither off the law.
    @11 i hope you find work soon and yor fortunes change.(And the mullet!)

  14. @13, francis brett,

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, just had security guard training so new avenues there.

    Not quite sure what you meant by the mullet comment- I’ve never had a mullet!

  15. Oh I might add that SORN makes no differance to driving without tax. Get caught and the above make no differance. I have issues with the road theft disc. I’d have less if it could be done monthly. But it makes it very hard on low earners or the unemployed. It mostly stems from when I was there on £35/wk at the time! and had to keep a car or had no chance of a job, Chris, been there done that, got the T-shirt, hope things get better soon!

  16. @15 they are civil offences,no one ever got a criminal record for no tax or sorn even though enforcement via DVLA and courts result in a fine,there was a time when i was a kid when i drove about with no nothing,and didnt give a toss about a pull,when i got a five year ban for 150+ no insurance offences it made me think,now having no insurance is like drink driving and giving razor blades to a baby-and rightly so.

  17. 5 & 11: Chris is correct. As are loads of others here.
    Redundancy is an expensive tragedy (particularly from government employment) that’s becoming the norm and will be repeated again and again. It isn’t: this wage vs. that benefit. It’s a lot more complex and long-term than that.
    Governments are now thoroughly boxed in to short-termism (largely through previous politicians’ decisions/mistakes over many decades).
    Luckily for them, most people can’t be arsed to go and even spoil their ballot paper, let alone vote. And even luckier – the public that does vote has a similarly short-term view of things.
    Spiralling down.

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