Fleets were given the very latest news from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) on the abolition of the tax disc, the removal of the paper counterpart and the suppression of V5C, at a special seminar hosted by Fleet News and ACFO last week.
Representatives from the DVLA gave a two-hour long, detailed presentation to more than 100 fleet decision-makers in the conference hall at the Fleet News Company Car in Action event at Millbrook, in Bedfordshire.
ACFO has been involved in meetings and dialogue with the DVLA for a year following the Government’s decision to abolish the paper counterpart of the driving licence in 2014/15.
However, the seminar gave fleet managers a unique opportunity to quiz DVLA managers face-to-face on the organisation’s move to the online accessibility of driver and vehicle records as part of the Government’s “Red Tape Challenge” and its bid to reduce both the burden and reliance on paper documents.
As the clock ticks down to the abolition of the counterpart to the driving licence from January 1, 2015, the DVLA has pledged to consult closely with ACFO and the fleet industry on key issues.
• Whether the service will be free of charge or carry a fee per driver licence checked
• Security surrounding employer access to employees’ driving records.
Earlier this year the DVLA launched its Integrated Enquiries Platform (IEP) allowing individuals access to their driver record. The DVLA is now developing options for how the document checking service will be accessed by corporate organisations.
Further details will be included in next week’s Fleet News, but in the coming weeks DVLA will be asking for feedback on potential control options on employers accessing drivers’ records once organisations have obtained permission from individual employees.
Employers will then be able to view online individual employees’ eligibility to drive and the number of penalty points on their licence.
ACFO chairman John Pryor said: “We welcome the opportunity to assist the DVLA. ACFO will play a full part in helping it to configure the IEP so that it meets the requirements of fleet operators in terms of securely, quickly and easily accessing drivers’ records.
“We had become frustrated with the length of time that it was taking the DVLA to develop the technology particularly as it is now only six months before the planned abolition of the of the counterpart to the driving licence.
“Once the site is accessible for testing, ACFO will bring together a group of members who will deliver feedback to the DVLA on its user-friendliness prior to it going live.”
A further key issue for ACFO is whether a charge will be levied for accessing individual driver records. The DVLA told the seminar that it was still in discussion with ministers and admitted “all options are under discussion”.
The DVLA has also pledged to consult over online V5C access.
Fleet administration complexity will be reduced in the coming months when the DVLA launches online access to the V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book).
The development means that fleets will no longer have to store paper copies of the V5C for individual vehicles, but will be able to view it online and lodge an online request for the document if it is required.
The measure is part of a raft of online developments by the DVLA giving fleets and individual drivers online access to vehicle and driver records and the ability to notify it when changes are required, including when a vehicle is sold.
The DVLA is presently building the inquiry platform that will give fleet mangers online access to individual vehicle records, including the ability to access multiple records and build in alerts when cars and vans need taxing and a MoT.
Once again the DVLA has pledged to engage with fleets in the build up to the launch of the service to ensure it is secure and user-friendly.
Pryor said: “ACFO will work with the DVLA to ensure that the online access to a V5C is both secure and straightforward.”