Submitted by Simon Vincent on Friday 21st May 2021
Published on Wednesday 26th May 2021
Current status: Open
Open until: Friday 26th November 2021
Current Signatures: 11,040
(count is updated approximately hourly)
Inquiry into the DVLA’s performance during the Covid-19 pandemic
In my view the DVLA are not fit-for-purpose. An inquiry needs to be held into their performance during the pandemic. This should lead to more efficient customer service, treatment of those with medical issues, and more.
Delays such as a 6 month wait for a medical restricted licence to be reissued are completely unacceptable.
If you want to sign this petition (as opposed to merely discuss it), you need to do that on the government's e-Petitions website.
The Government responded to this petition on Friday 10th September 2021
The DVLA provides regular updates on performance and progress to Department for Transport ministers and it has been fully scrutinised in two Transport Select Committee evidence sessions in 2021.
The DVLA has an incredibly strong track record of outstanding public service and has quickly adapted to continue to provide essential public services during the pandemic. Last year, the DVLA issued 8.8m driving licences, 16.3m vehicle registration certificates and made more than 500,000 medical licensing decisions. The DVLA’s contact centre answered more than seven million queries including 4.8 million calls, 1.5 million webchats and more than 950,000 emails.
More than 90% of customer interactions with the DVLA are carried out online and these online services have continued to work as normal throughout the pandemic. Motorists who transact online usually receive their documents within a few days. Motorists are strongly encouraged to use the DVLA’s online services whenever possible as this remains the easiest and quickest way to access most of the DVLA’s services. However, not everyone wants or is able to use online services and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day which must be opened manually by DVLA staff working on site. Unfortunately, delays have been caused in processing paper applications due to the DVLA having had fewer staff on site to ensure social distancing in line with Welsh Government requirements, industrial action by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union and a significantly increased demand for its services.
The DVLA has helped to keep drivers on the road throughout the pandemic by issuing one-year licences to lorry and bus drivers aged 45 and over without them having to submit the usual medical report if the driver has been unable to get an appointment with their doctor to conduct a medical examination. Also, all driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 December were automatically renewed for 11 months. The DVLA has also launched ten new online services to make things easier for customers, including online tachograph applications and change of address and duplicate V5C (logbook) services.
From 6 April to 31 August the PCS union held a series of strikes at the DVLA. The cumulative impact of industrial action and having had fewer staff on site to ensure social distancing in line with Welsh Government requirements has meant that the time taken to process paper applications has increased. PCS specifically targeted the drivers medical section for a month-long strike in August.
The drivers medical area has also been affected by the massive pressure the pandemic has placed on the NHS. It is a legal requirement for drivers to notify the DVLA of the onset or worsening of any health condition that may affect their fitness to drive. Following a notification, the DVLA must assess a driver’s fitness to drive which can often involve seeking further information from a GP or other health professional involved in the driver’s care. Guidance from the British Medical Association at the start of the pandemic advised GP practices to deprioritise non-essential work. This has only very recently been updated to say previously deprioritised work may need to be reviewed, including DVLA medical checks which help maintain people’s wellbeing and livelihoods.
The DVLA has put in place a range of mitigating measures to reduce the backlog of paper transactions, including the introduction of additional online services at pace in response to the pandemic, which has helped to reduce the number of postal applications received and processed manually by DVLA staff. DVLA staff are working evenings and at weekends and additional staff have been recruited to tackle the backlogs. The DVLA is also securing additional office space to provide surge capacity for medical applications, as well as to provide resilience and business continuity going forward.
Department for Transport
220.127.116.11 Sat, 18 Sep 2021 09:24:22 +0100