Fleet News

New DVLA processes could create ‘bottleneck’ for fleets

New processes for first registration and licensing of fleet vehicles came into force last week ahead of the phased closure of 39 regional DVLA offices.

The initiative is part of a major modernisation of the agency’s services and, while ACFO and the BVRLA are optimistic that there will be no problems, ACFO director John Pryor has highlighted two potential issues.

These are when fleets require a vehicle for immediate delivery from a dealer and if fleets want to cancel an order for a vehicle after it has been registered and taxed.

He said: “The DVLA has put processes in place and introduced key performance indicators. However, there may be instances where the service breaks down, but we won’t know why until it actually happens.”

The changes mean that tax discs for all new vehicles registered through the Automated First Registration and Licensing (AFRL) system are now printed and posted directly from the DVLA in Swansea.

AFRL users can choose to have their tax disc sent to one of three addresses when registering a new vehicle – to the registered keeper, the registered dealer or the fleet operator.

If a disc has not been received within eight days of the date of registration, the DVLA will provide a free duplicate.

Registered keepers who have received the V5C (vehicle registration document) can obtain a free duplicate disc from one of 400 Post Office branches.

In addition, all vehicle registration paper applications will be processed centrally at the DVLA (including all applications taken to a local DVLA office).

Applicants can also choose to have all paperwork returned to the registered keeper, the registered dealer or the fleet operator. Tax disc and associated documentation will be processed within 14 working days – the V5C may be received before the tax disc.

If, after 10 working days from the date of registration, the V5C has been received but the tax disc has not, a free duplicate can be obtained from a Post Office.

Meanwhile, all new vehicles that have been registered and licensed can be driven for up to 14 days from the date of first registration without displaying a tax disc.

Advance registration is now also available throughout the year and extended from four to 14 days in advance of the registration date.

Tax discs will be returned by DVLA by second-class post within five working days and all applications to de-register a vehicle will be processed centrally at DVLA, and must be received within seven working days from the date of registration. Finally, tax disc renewal can be made at a Post Office without a vehicle reminder, V5C or V5C/2.

Although there is a ‘safety net’ enabling a vehicle to be driven for up to 14 days without a disc, Pryor said: “We believe the vast majority of fleets will opt for the tax disc to be sent to the dealer that is supplying a vehicle so they are delivered together.

“For those fleets working with leasing and fleet management companies, the onus is on those organisations to work with their supplying dealers and ensure tax discs are ordered early enough.”

Jay Parmar, BVRLA legal and policy director, said: “The change in legislation that now allows a vehicle to be added to the AFRL system 14 days prior to the date of registration should allow the dealer to continue supplying leasing companies with taxed vehicles as per usual in most cases.”

But Pryor believes that if fleets want a vehicle quickly, rather than the dealer going to the local DVLA office with paperwork and getting everything processed overnight, it will take time.

He added: “Similarly, if a vehicle is ordered in good faith by a fleet and is then cancelled but the dealer has already started the registration and tax disc process, that may become an issue.

“A vehicle can be de-registered within seven days of first registration, but some dealers may apply a charge.”

Fellow ACFO director Julie Jenner, who attended a recent DVLA meeting with Pryor, said: “As the new processes are introduced, there is the potential for a bottleneck of first registration and tax disc applications.”

However, the DVLA will be recruiting up to 450 staff in Swansea to help manage the additional work.

Throughout the discussions, ACFO has continued to question the DVLA on why a paper tax disc needs to be issued.

The Department for Transport is considering the need for the tax disc.

Last December, it issued a consultation on its Motoring Services Strategy and is considering the responses.

Author: John Charles

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