The Department for Transport (DfT) must ensure that the recently reorganised agencies serving motorists work harder to deliver a better service for all, including business customers, a group of MPs have said.
Launching a report examining the experience of people using the Government's motoring agencies, Louise Ellman MP, chairman of the Transport Committee, recognised that the DVLA and DVSA are important for delivering essential services related to tax, licensing, testing, and vehicle safety.
However, she added: “The Department for Transport must ensure that its current reorganisation programme for these agencies delivers high quality services that benefit everyone.
"The recent problems experienced by motorists when road tax renewal went online demonstrates the importance of responding to change, having clear communication with the public and an effective contingency plan to maintain confidence"
Ellman welcomed greater information sharing across the motoring agencies and the expansion of online services that she said the Committee found were well-liked by many customers. However, she added that the motoring agencies must continue to meet the needs of those customers who can't access or use digital services.
"Linked to this the Government must do more to warn motorists about misleading ‘copycat' websites that charge for services provided for free by motoring agencies,” continued Ellman.
"We also call on DVLA to do more to explain the legal basis for the sharing of personal data with organisations engaged in parking enforcement and the steps it takes to deal with private parking companies caught misusing personal data supplied by the motoring agencies.”
The Committee found that the driver Certificate of Professional Competence may not be delivering all the benefits expected of it and the Government should negotiate changes at a European level.
It also concluded that he agencies need to put into place effective assisted digital strategies to help those who cannot or are unwilling to use the internet to access new digital services as these roll out.
In addition, work must take place in partnership with the Government Digital Service and others to address the problem of misleading copycat websites, which charge motorists for services that are available free from official websites.
Furthermore, the DVLA must do more to explain how it is required to share personal data with private parking companies and the safeguards that are in place to protect such data, and it needs to adjust the fees it charges to ensure the cost of providing vehicle keeper details to private parking companies are covered.
It must also explain more clearly how it calculates its costs and sets fee levels, said the Committee.
Finally, it said that new services should be planned in a manner that deliver more effective data sharing, revenue collection, action on safety and enforcement, especially given policy changes such as those on tax discs and driving licences.