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DfT Motoring Services Strategy signals further fleet developments

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The Department for Transport (DfT) has published its latest Motoring Services Strategy, which commits to further improve digital services for fleets.

The 27 page report looks at the work of the DVLA, DVSA and VCA, making further suggestions and proposals for their continued development.

The document takes into account responses from a consultation held at the end of last year, with those contributing including the BVRLA.

Key commitments of the report include:

  • Reform of the Drivers Medical Group, partly in response to the Glasgow bin lorry deaths in 2014.
  • Simplification of driver record updates.
  • Developed relationships with commercial users, including fleets - and new digital services.
  • Possible merging of the DVSA and DVLA call centres.
  • Improvements to LGV licencing processes.

DVSA will also roll out a new Operator Excellence scheme for trusted fleet operators, based on its earned recognition pilot scheme. 

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “When we responded to the consultation in January this year, we urged the Government to think about fleets as well as customers. It is therefore pleasing to see Lord Ahmad pledge to work with commercial fleets and drivers to promote best practice.

“We welcome the news that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will work to introduce new improved digital channels for accessing their services. We will be pushing for this to include the ability for fleets to pay Vehicle Excise Duty for multiple years, and to apply for bulk refunds online.”

The report conceded "that some of the services on offer are not always designed with fleet managers in mind", and added the bodies were now "committed to strengthening the relationship their corporate users at a practical level".

Detailed in the strategy was a commitment to move HGV testing to a mixed economy of public and private provision.

“It is positive to hear the DVSA is encouraging the development of its Authorised Test Facility network. We’ve long called for privatised testing of HGVs as this would reduce fleet costs, minimise delays and really improve operational efficiency,” Keaney commented.

James Firth, the Freight Transport Association’s head of licensing policy and compliance information, added: “We are pleased that Government has committed to have a proper look at allowing non-government employees to examine the LGV annual roadworthiness test – many FTA members have been asking for this for some years.”

Keaney sounded a note of caution: “While the strategy is to be welcomed, we are concerned that budget cuts could in particular damage the agencies’ ability to innovate with new digital fleet services, and their ability to deliver programmes they have already committed. The BVRLA will be lobbying to ensure these projects are delivered within the already agreed timescales.”

In addition, there are a raft of proposed changes to the car driving test, as well as proposed digitisation of the CBT motorbike test system.

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