The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will pursue a work program to develop and promote the use of digital services, with the aim of reducing the administrative burden generated by the 60,000 consignments it receives in a typical day – including the treatment has been affected by repeated strikes due to concerns for the safety of staff.
During the pandemic, the Swansea-based agency was forced to work with “a reduced number of operational staff on site, to allow social distancing,” said Rachel Maclean, Minister of the Department of Transport.
Operations were also affected by a Covid outbreak in December and repeated strikes throughout the year so far, including, most recently, a three-day walkout of 700 employees that began on Tuesday.
The industrial action – which the PCS union warned could last “for months” – took place amid staff concerns over coronavirus security arrangements. About one in three of the agency’s 6,000 employees still had to come to the office during the lockdown.
This has helped build up a total, at the start of this month, of 800,000 shipments that have yet to be processed, with an additional 60,000 arriving each day which Maclean said “must be processed in person. “. .
The processing time for drivers renewing a registration certificate or driver’s license via a mail-in request is six weeks, the minister added, in response to a written parliamentary question from Tory Southport MP Damien Moore.
Although this is likely to be longer for “drivers with a medical condition, [who] may experience further delays as DVLA often depends on receiving information or test results from healthcare professionals before a license can be issued, to ensure that drivers can meet the required medical standards ”.
To help increase capacity, DVLA leased an additional office building and extended the hours of operation of its contact center. In an attempt to further reduce the administrative backlog, since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the agency has also focused on strengthening its digital services proposition, and this work will continue – alongside public campaigns to encourage as many people as possible to use online tools. .
“The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) online services have been available and unchanged throughout the pandemic and are the fastest and easiest way to renew a vehicle registration certificate or driver’s license. Motorists are strongly advised to use these channels whenever possible, ”said Maclean.
“During the pandemic, to help streamline processes and improve workflow, DVLA accelerated the development of additional online services to reduce paper requests and supported their adoption through an advertising campaign. Further improvements to the digital service are underway.