Moving Britain Ahead
The United Kingdom’s road network is central to its prosperity. It is essential that those who use the network are properly trained and licensed, and that the vehicles they drive are safe and meet environmental standards. The three motoring services agencies, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), are charged with ensuring that this is so.
I am clear that these agencies must continue to offer an efficient service to users, be responsive to need and geared to the expectations of the 21st century in ways that promote productivity. The 2012 strategy for the agencies provided a starting point for this; and some of its achievements are described later on in this consultation document. We will continue the theme of that earlier strategy by putting the user at the heart of all that the agencies do. The purpose of this consultation is to hear your views on the next stage of the agencies’ transformation, so that they can be even better positioned to deliver against user expectations; considering how we may deliver more flexible, and enhanced digital services to our users as efficiently as possible.
The agencies provide services to a wide range of clients including most members of the public as well as many commercial organisations. The agencies’ staff, delivering these services day in, day out, will also have ideas for the future and I am keen to ensure they have a full opportunity to inform this strategy. We are keen, therefore, to get as comprehensive a range of responses as possible.
Following a consultation, we plan to publish, in the spring of 2016, a strategy for the future direction and development of the agencies. This will align with the agencies’ business plans and set out what we expect of them over the life of this Parliament, to spring 2020.
FTA says new DfT strategy for motoring agencies must improve service
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the Government’s consultation on a new strategy for its three motoring agencies is a positive step that recognises the challenges faced by commercial freight and fleet operators.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting on the strategic direction to be taken over the course of the current Parliament by the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA), the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).
Karen Dee, FTA’s Director of Policy, said: “The requirements of our members are frequently poorly understood or overlooked and we need to improve the way in which the agencies and their systems interact with each other and with their customers in order to reduce the burden of compliance on our industry.”
Submissions can be made to the DfT until 8 January and the results will be announced next spring. FTA plans to respond urging the Government to be radical in its approach to ensure the desired outcome is achieved.
Ms Dee said improvements to the way the agencies operate could have a significant impact on driver shortage as there are currently problems with the processing of vocational licences, especially where medical investigations are required. This prevents drivers who are medically fit from getting back to work quickly.
“Our industry is experiencing a serious skills shortage and processing delays mean both that vacancies aren’t being filled effectively and that some existing drivers are prevented from working. We welcome Government’s acknowledgement of this problem but believe urgent changes are needed to improve the service,” she said.
FTA has been working closely with DVSA to identify ways to target operators who break the rules without undermining compliant businesses. The Association welcomes the proposal for Earned Recognition and will work with the agency to bring it forward as soon as possible.
FTA also believes a Government suggestion to consider private testing of HGVs could help to tackle the current problem of delays in securing a vehicle test slot. The Association supported the ATF system which has been introduced in recent years but believes there is a case for this to go further to provide more flexibility.
Ms Dee said: “The motoring agencies provide a wide range of services which are essential to freight operators. Many of these are funded by fees paid by operators themselves, rather than by the taxpayer, so it is essential to ensure that they provide efficient, value for money and affordable services.”
The Freight Transport Association can trace its origins back to 1889 and is recognised as the voice of the freight and logistics industry, representing the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – half the UK fleet – consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and 70 per cent of sea and air freight.
BVRLA comment on DfT’s Motoring Services Review
BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney has made the following comments in reaction to the Department for Transport’s announcement about its plans to streamline and improve the delivery of motoring services.
“Its been a momentous few years for the motoring agencies, which have undergone a radical transformation that has seen them merge operations, shed jobs and get to grips with their archaic IT systems,” said Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney.
“The elimination of the tax disc and the driver licence counterpart were very high profile, but they have been just two results from the DVLA’s plans to replace paperwork and bureaucracy with efficient digital services.
“In many cases, these changes are bringing huge administrative and cost savings to fleets. But not always. Some of the changes have been rushed through and poorly communicated, with too little attention paid to the needs of the fleet sector.
“We think that now is a good time for the DfT to take stock of where the DVLA and DVSA are, and how they can best meet motorists’ needs in what is a rapidly changing automotive environment.
“It is no coincidence that this latest plan for ‘innovative and streamlined’ motoring services comes at a time when the department is under pressure to deliver huge budget cuts for the Treasury.
“We trust that these improvements will deliver efficiencies for the motoring agencies and their customers, as promised.”
“The BVRLA has been calling for private sector testing of HGVs for some time, as we believe this would build on the successful roll out of ATFs by providing an even more flexible and efficient testing service for operators.
“We continue to work closely with the DVSA on its support its plans to develop a more targeted enforcement regime that focusses on non-compliant fleets while recognising the commitment that BVRLA members have made to safe HGV operations. Both these initiatives would produce real benefits for the road transport sector.”
Established in 1967, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association is the UK trade body for companies engaged in the rental and leasing of cars and commercial vehicles. Its 700+ members operate a combined fleet of 3.8 million cars, vans and trucks. BVRLA members buy nearly half of all new vehicles sold in the UK, supporting around 317,000 jobs and contributing nearly £25bn to the economy each year.
By consulting with government and maintaining industry standards, the BVRLA helps its members deliver safe, sustainable and affordable road transport to millions of consumers and businesses. For more information, visit www.bvrla.co.uk.