The Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) Local & Regional Offices are scheduled to close by the end of 2013. All of the work currently handled at a local level is being centralised and will be processed at DVLA Headquarters in Swansea. We are currently in a transition period; some changes have been made and others are still being implemented. It has meant longer than usual turnaround times for number plate transfers and retention applications. This is having a knock-on effect in the motor trade with many car retailers unable to supply vehicles to their customers whilst they wait for important documents to arrive.
Summary of Changes so far:
1st May 2013 – All trade plate applications dealt with at DVLA Swansea
24th June 2013 – Post Office expands tax disc options
1st July 2013 – All cherished transfer & retention applications dealt with at DVLA Swansea
22nd July 2013 – Tax discs for new cars issued by DVLA Swansea. New law introduced allowing 14 day grace period for display of tax discs.
The change that concerns readers of this blog the most is the processing of all cherished number plate transfers and retention applications at DVLA Swansea. The stance from DVLA hasn’t changed and if you take a look at the official Twitter channel of the DVLA, the advice is to send all applications direct to Swansea. However, our experience suggests you will get a much quicker response if you take your application to the counter of your nearest DVLA Local Office.
From the 1st of July 2013 if you handed in your application at a Local Office it was batched up and sent to Swansea. DVLA headquarters were quickly swamped with an overload of work whilst staff in the Local Offices found their days were dragging as they had very little to do. A couple of weeks later some Local Offices were instructed to only send a small number of applications per day to Swansea – all others were to be processed in-house.
At Simply Registrations we still use the DVLA Leeds Office and will continue to do so until it closes on the 13th of December 2013. We are still able to complete same-day transfers at the counter when assigning a registration from a V750 or V778 to a vehicle. Cherished transfers and retention applications are not completed there and then, however the first part of the application which involves the issuing of a replacement tax disc & MOT Test Certificate is being handled at Leeds and the current turnaround time is 48/72 hours. The V5C Registration Certificates and V778 Retention Documents still take between 2 to 4 weeks to arrive from Swansea.
The hope is that eventually an online system will be introduced to enable much faster processing of cherished transfers and retention applications. Consultations investigating the possibility of making the paper tax disc obsolete, removing the insurance check when taxing a car and the probability that the paper MOT Test Certificate will be scrapped would surely help to speed things up.
For the time being the best available option is to make use of the DVLA Local Offices whilst they remain open for business. Not only does it seem to speed up turnaround times for plate transfers, you aren’t risking your application going missing in the post before it even arrives at DVLA HQ in Swansea. It is more important than ever before to make sure your application form is correctly completed. The staff at your nearest DVLA Office will check your paperwork at the counter whilst you are there. As some motor traders have recently discovered, it is incredibly frustrating to have your documents returned and your application rejected just because you forgot to sign the cheque or put a ‘x’ in the appropriate box on a V317 application form.
We would love to hear of your own experiences if you have had recent dealings with the DVLA, feel free to add your comments below.