DVLA offices shutting down but online services will 'improve'
07 September 2012
The controversial closure of regional Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency offices across the country is forcing the government to "modernise" the DVLA's online services, it has emerged.
In total, 39 of the DVLA's regional offices are set to close under government plans which have already seen staff walkouts and union calls to scrap the proposals.
Concerns about access to services have also been voiced. In the Commons this week, Labour MP Kate Green asked the government about the potential for the Post Office to "pick up the slack" after a DVLA office closure was announced in her Stretford and Urmston constituency. The office was used by small local motor traders to get vehicle licenses.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said a "number of functions and transactions" from the DVLA could already be carried out by the post office network. The DVLA also had "one of the best online services for renewing car tax", he said.
"But we are looking, with my right hon friend the Secretary of State for Transport, at how it can be further modernised to improve service and save more money," he told the Commons.
Online services are set to become the norm across the public sector as more and more public services become digital.
The government is driving forward a policy known as digital by default – seen as a way to cut costly telephone and face to face interactions with the public.
But digital by default will not only mean public services being available online – increasingly they will only be available in digital format, with other routes to services being shut down to save money.
Launching the civil service reform plan
in June, Maude said services that could be delivered online "should be delivered only online".
But what about the very large proportion of UK citizens who are not online? Furtermore, no Internet service can replace a human being who can listen and adddress issues and problems. This will result in even more frustration on the part of the public!
Denis Lenihan - London
Well said Denis. I would like to add that Dvla actually have very few plans to make applications online. You will soon see their full plan and it is highly detrimental to the haulage industry, motor traders and the public.
Name not supplied