On 20 April Sir Bob visited the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) central headquarters in Swansea as part of his regular Friday programme of visits to see the work of civil servants based outside of London.
Judith Whitaker, DVLA Chief Operation Officer, gave Sir Bob a tour of the site to give Sir Bob an insight into the massive scale and fast pace of the organisation, which deals with 200 million customer interactions and 120 million transactions a year.
Judith explained that the DVLA is responsible for maintaining the register of some 44m drivers and 34 million vehicles and for collecting in excess of £5bn in Vehicle Excise Duty on behalf of the Treasury in the UK. DVLA operates some of the largest and most popular online Government services, including car tax renewal.
The DVLA handles 7.9m drivers licence applications, changes and duplicates and 19.8m vehicle registrations each year. A vital part of its role is providing information to the Courts, the Police, Local Authorities, and EU counterpart organisations to help enforce traffic and parking regulations and tackle vehicle crime.
One of the major challenges for the organisation is working through an efficiency programme that will concentrate on moving DVLA services from paper to electronic channels, making greater use of intermediaries and centralised processing to increase the availability of their face-to-face services. The programme will deliver changes to ensure continued value for money by delivering statutory services efficiently and contributing to reducing the DVLA’s running costs by £100m by 2015.
The DVLA is working on harmonising GB and NI Vehicle Services to enable a consistent customer experience for both NI and GB customers. They are also making a key contribution to DfT’s response to the road transport theme of the red tape challenge particularly in reducing paperwork for motorists and businesses. It has committed to abolishing the paper counterpart to the driving licence by 2015.
At the end of his visit, staff gathered to hear Sir Bob talk about his vision for the future and the changes and challenges the Civil Service is facing. He then opened the floor to questions from staff on a range of topics including pay and pensions, social media and his priorities.
Judith Whitaker, Chief Operating Officer said:
“It was a pleasure to welcome Sir Bob to DVLA and to be able to introduce him to staff. It was good to hear from him about the challenges facing the Civil Service and what his priorities are moving forward. It was clear to me that Sir Bob values the work we do as civil servants and that he recognises the critical role we play.”
Rebekah Davies, Customer Enquiries Group, who attended the session said:
“I found it very interesting and informative. I also found it refreshing that he answered all the questions that were asked on the day.”
Paul Davies, Vehicles Casework, also added:
“Great to see Sir Bob take time to visit the DVLA, a relaxed approach to the Q&A and he didn’t shy away from any questions.”