“A growing number of constituents have contacted me of late experiencing difficulties getting new driving licences and other documentation from the DVLA” (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) says Michael Fabricant. “So, I have contacted the Department for Transport asking what is going on and when the situation will return to a fast and effective service.
“I have now received a response from Charlotte Vere.” (Baroness Vere of Norbiton is the Roads Minister at the Department for Transport.)
“She admits that ‘There have been delays in dealing with driving licence applications and some customers have been unable to speak to an advisor in the DVLA’s contact centre’ and has pointed out some of the changes being made to improve the situation including the acquisition of new premises.”
She goes on to say: “Industrial action by the Public and Commercial Services union, along with a significantly increased demand for the DVLA’s services, and the fact the DVLA has been working with a significantly reduced number of staff on site to ensure social distancing, in line with Welsh Government requirements, has caused some delays.
“The DVLA is doing everything possible to address the situation. It has leased an additional building to accommodate more operational staff and has reconfigured its accommodation to safely maximise the number of staff on site. The DVLA has also accelerated the development of additional online services to reduce the number of paper applications and supported their take up through a publicity campaign. Further digital service enhancements are underway.
“A great many of its staff can and do work from home, but applications sent to the DVLA must be dealt with in person, due to the complexity and confidentiality of driving licence records.
“The DVLA’s online services remain the quickest and most efficient way to transact and are not subject to delays. The DVLA deals with around nine million digital interactions every day and successful applications made online are usually processed within a few days. However, many people still have to, or choose to, make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day that have to be dealt with in person.
“Whilst paper applications are usually processed within three weeks, the DVLA’s published timescales have increased to six to ten weeks from the date of receipt. In order to set expectations, the DVLA has published guidance to give customers an indication of the dates of receipt for applications it is currently processing.”
Michael adds “I hope these changes will result in a marked improvement, but DVLA have been beset by difficulties and it is frankly not good enough.”
Guidance on dealing with the DVLA can be found here.