Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency concerns prompt Transport Committee evidence session
7 July 2021
The Transport Committee is to hold an oral evidence session on the Work of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. The Agency is apparently experiencing serious delays in processing paper-based applications for driving licences and other key documents.
The session follows concerns expressed by motorists, trainee drivers and lorry drivers, who have all flagged long delays in processing documentation. The delays have created significant adverse consequences for people who submitted photo identification such as passports to support their applications.
The Committee will seek to understand the difficulties facing the DVLA, the scale of any problems and the steps open to the DVLA to improve. The witnesses will include representatives from the DVLA, the Department for Transport and the Public and Commercial Services union.
It will be the Committee’s second evidence session with the DVLA this year. MPs spoke to the Chief Executive following an outbreak of covid-19 at DVLA headquarters in Swansea. In January, Julie Lennard assured the Committee that on the whole, services were ‘running extremely well’ and ‘not far below normal figures.’ While paper applications were taking six to eight weeks to process, she reported that online applications were being processed in a matter of days.
However, a parliamentary question from July 5 has revealed the turnaround time is now between six and ten weeks due to on-site social distancing requirements and industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union.
Chair of the Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said:
“Along with colleagues in Parliament, I’ve received pleas for help from constituents desperate to further applications or to retrieve essential documentation from the DVLA. Those constituents include coach drivers who require vehicle certification to return to work; learners awaiting probation licences; and people who urgently need their photo identification for work or immigration purposes. Excessive delays are not just inconvenient, they are affecting daily life. We have invited the key figures to an evidence session to get to the bottom of this issue and understand what needs to be done.”