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DVLA: Aren't we living in the 21st century?

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Blog by Matt Dale, director of G3 Remarketing, on DVLA office closures.


When the DVLA announced last year that they would be closing many of their regional offices and centralising much of the work in Swansea, I am sure many of us didn’t bat an eyelid.

It now transpires that some 39 offices are closing across England, Scotland and Wales by 13 December and 14 have been closed so far.  Already, I am starting to see the fallout from these closures. One of which, a major bugbear of mine, is the now lengthy and arduous process of transferring a private number plate back to the original plate.  Historically, this has been a fairly speedy process, we would dispatch a member of our team to the local office and hey-presto, transfer completed.  However, since these closures the average turn-around time in our experience is around 8 weeks and this is causing real problems for both vendors and purchasers alike.

The plate transfer process now involves a lengthy process of submitting documents directly to the DVLA at Swansea who will eventually post them back out and complete the transfer. Forgive me but I thought we were in the 21st century? We can transfer millions of pounds via online banking, order our weekly groceries and book holidays with a click of a button but we appear to be unable to complete cherish transfers over the internet? Ironically, the DVLA are more than happy to allow us to buy these numbers and pay road tax online but a simple process of transferring them from one vehicle to another appears an impossibility!

Whilst I fully appreciate in these austere times that there are saving that need to be made, especially in government departments, surely someone could come up with a simply way to complete a transfer processes online without spending millions on software development? If the DVLA was a business, this would be the only solution but as it isn’t, it looks like the motor trade will have to make do with lost postage and ongoing delays for a few more years to come.

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  • Eric Stanton. Group Fleet Manager (retired). - 02/12/2013 21:38

    I remember in the 70's DVLA went on a work to rule. This resulted in a complete stop on cherished transfers for several months. I was selling high value vehicles at the time and the embargo almost brought our business (and many others) to its knees. Number "owners" will simply not change their cars without "their" number transferred. This is still true today when there are hundreds of thousands of plates to transfer. It must be sorted out quickly or there will be dire consequences for dealers, fleet operators and drivers alike. When the VAT payments on new cars slows down be sure that there will be action.

  • Keith Cooper - 03/12/2013 23:45

    Having spent 6yrs processing applications to transfer/retain/assign reg mks, the documentation needing to be submitted & reissued (V5C, MOT, Tax Disc) for each vehicle eliminates the online option until the disc & MOT declared redundant by law. Upgrading existing software to accommodate all these changes at the press of a button without compromising the vehicle record is way too complex and expensive. Postal is the only option now the local office has gone.

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