FTA predicts slower and more costly services for its members following Roads Minister Mike Penning giving the go-ahead today to centralising the DVLA’s services.
The announcement means that the DVLA’s 39 regional offices will close by the end of 2013, resulting in centralisation of its services in Swansea or using intermediaries.
The centralisation plan has always been met with concerns by the FTA which is not convinced that its on-line service will not be developed to a standard which meets its members’ needs, resulting in unnecessary administration time and cost.
FTA members have valued the service, support and guidance provided by the staff at local DVLA offices where they could speak to experienced people qualified to deal with queries, and now worry that the closures could result in a reduction in customer service levels, ultimately impacting on the running of businesses and significantly raising costs.
The local DVLA offices have always played a significant part in the running of freight organisations day to day business; from tax discs to digital tachograph services, and if the proposed intermediaries are not geared up to handle bulk business sector enquiries, everything will now to be dealt with by post; FTA believe that it will cause delays particularly over Christmas, New Year and Bank Holidays which could lead to vehicles being taken off the road.
On announcement of the proposed closures, concerns were raised by FTA members who pointed out that several DVLA services, including the taxation of a vehicle with a Reduced Pollution Certificates were not available on line, leaving the local office as the only option.
As a result, the Association had called on the DVLA to increase its online services, including that they develop a system where business users were able to log on and manage their own accounts allowing them to enter multiple entries, to introduce a licence checking service free to the user and importantly only pay once for the transactions being carried out.
Ian Gallagher; FTA Policy Manager for Driver Licence and Vehicles Registration said:
"Now that the Minister has confirmed that the DVLA local offices will close in 2013 the Agency has now got to deliver an alternative which is fit for purpose and benefit business, we see this as being a radical improvement to the Agencies online systems, and a payment structure which is recognised by business and not complicated by Treasury rules.
Gallagher added – "FTA members are keen to work with the agency to ensure that the end product has maximum industry input. What we won’t accept is a system simply geared towards certain sectors, resulting in additional burden with our membership having to pay thousands of pounds in additional administrative cost."