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Government urged to launch official timescales for online driver licence checks

The organisation says its Members’ Services Organisation is receiving an increasing number of inquiries from fleet decision-makers requiring clarification on when online checks will be available. Yet recent enquiries by ACFO have revealed that the DVLA has “no currently agreed timescales” for when public and private sector organisations will be able to access the new database. 

That comes despite ACFO saying it was told at a meeting last July of the DVLA’s Industry Liaison Group on which it is represented that the paper counterpart of a driving licence highlighting driver category exemptions and licence points was expected to be abolished from 1st January 2015.

Meanwhile the Department for Transport has now said that in the “coming financial year” 33 million drivers will no longer need the document as part of a programme of digitilising public services across Government.

Furthermore, it has recently been announced that from June 2014 millions of drivers will be able to access their own licence data online. 

Although the DVLA says there are no agreed timesales for extension of the ‘View Driving Record’ service to fleets, the organisation says it will be discussing with the industry what data will be required, the best means of access, including improvement to existing electronic services to develop a solution that is secure but meets their needs, but added that there were no currently agreed timescales for when talks would commence. The DVLA added that it would be when it was ready to get into the ‘detailed design and development phase’. 

ACFO adds that, as a first step, the DVLA has launched an 18-question online “Abolition of the Driving Licence Counterpart” survey requesting a wide variety of information from fleets. 

ACFO said that it remains concerned that a number of fundamental issues relating to the introduction of an online service for the checking of employees’ driving licence continue to remain unanswered. They include:

  • How fleet decision-makers will access the service and what employee-related data will be required
  • Assurances around database security
  • The cost to fleets of using a digital service or whether it will be free
  • What testing of the service with fleets will take place before it goes live 

ACFO director John Pryor said: ‘As a fleet decision-maker I share members’ concerns. Ensuring that all employees who drive on business have a valid licence is a critical part of fleet management best practice. 

‘The Government has made it clear that the paper counterpart of the driving licence is to be abolished – that is something that ACFO welcomes. But ACFO must be assured that, prior to abolition, a robust service is in place that enables all fleets to undertake thorough driving licence checks. 

‘There are many outstanding questions that require answers. The Government has said that the paper counterpart of the driving licence will be removed in 2014/15. That means there is a maximum of 14 months for the online service to be operational. We look forward to further discussions with the DVLA.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.