Fleet News

ACFO voices concern as online licence checking introduction comes closer

Driver licence

Fleet decision-makers are becoming increasingly concerned at the lack of an official timetable for introduction of online driver licence validation, says ACFO.

ACFO 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 in the wake of Government plans to abolish the paper counterpart of the driving licence in 2014/15 - by April 5, 2015 at the latest..

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 being 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 January 1, 2015.

As the clock ticks towards abolition of the paper counterpart of a driving licence, 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.

Via the new “View Driving Record” service, drivers will be able to access the information the DVLA holds on their licence by inputting their driving licence number, National Insurance number and postcode.

Drivers will then be able to view a record of which vehicles they are eligible to drive and provisionally drive and any penalties and disqualifications including details of when the offence(s) occurred, when it expires and when it will be removed from their licence.

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. That is despite ACFO already explaining members’ requirements at last year’s all-day meeting.

But the DVLA has told ACFO that it plans to hold further meetings with stakeholders and industry representatives to ensure it has clear customer insight, 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”.

However, ACFO directors Julie Jenner and John Pryor, who attended last year’s meeting, are concerned that the countdown continues to withdrawal of the paper counterpart of a driving licence with no online system in place enabling fleets to check individual employee details.

Jenner said: “Since the July meeting we have repeatedly asked DVLA for information on behalf of members with no positive response until being informed of the survey. Although, the survey is welcome it comes six months after the meeting and valuable time has been lost.

“We believe that access by the corporate sector to validate drivers’ licence details is perhaps more important than individuals’ desire to look at their own licence details. Yet this seems to be a secondary issue given the launch of the “View Driving Record” service for private individuals in June.

“We remain concerned at the uncertainty as to the timescale for introduction of a digital service. Six months ago we were told it would be January 1, 2015, but now that timeframe appears to have changed.”

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  • Sage & Onion - 10/02/2014 13:33

    I think the delay has more to do with how much the DVLA think they can get away with charging fleets for this service than the security issues because the various licence checking bureau services have a secure system that works so it just needs extending to give fleets access. Unless of course there are contractual complications in the agreements between DVLA and the various licence checking bureau companies! I would suggest that the service will end up being limited to the licence bureau companies so that all fleets will be forced to use them if they wish to see the counterpart details.

  • JT - 11/02/2014 09:44

    @ Sage&Onion. I'm sure it will be a free service. After all, DVLA will be making significant savings in print and carriage costs when they wind up the production of counterparts. They'll be sure to use that to underwrite the costs of electronic checking so fleets aren't disadvantaged by the change. (I do wish there was a sarcastic font).

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