Moving DVA Services

dvlacon2013The consultation on moving DVA services finished  on the 11th September 2013 – however you can read ongoing reporting around the issue in the comments below.

With less than a week in his new “job” the new Minister for the Department of the Environment (DOE) Mark Durkin is continuing his predecessor, Alex Atwood’s defence to keep the delivery of vehicle and registration services here in Northern Ireland.

The Department for Transport (DfT) in London has announced a consultation which will look at centralising the delivery of vehicle and registration services at the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea, the consultation ran until 11th September 2013.

Responding to the announcement, which could result in the loss of some 300 jobs in Northern Ireland, (DVLA are closing 39 local offices in GB), Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has expressed his opposition and concern.

Minister Durkan said: “I intend to vigorously continue my predecessor’s opposition to the proposed centralisation of vehicle licensing services and the associated devastating job losses this would entail.

“I contest the assertion by Roads Minister, Stephen Hammond, that new services for motorists in Northern Ireland require all vehicle licensing work to be centralised in Swansea. This is not the case.

“It is very important that this opportunity to comment on DVLA’s proposals is not lost and I urge people to take time to read the proposal and respond to help secure local DVA jobs into the future.”

The Minister continued: “It has taken a long, hard struggle just to get the DfT and the DVLA to recognise the need to carry out a public consultation about these radical plans. I am pleased that they have eventually agreed to this but I am less than pleased that they have chosen to do so in the middle of the holiday season and for only the shortest possible period of eight weeks. These inadequacies in the consultation process were pointed out to the Minister in the Department for Transport, but to no avail.

The DVLA in GB has said, “There is a long-standing disparity in the level of vehicle registration and licensing services available to motorists in Northern Ireland compared with the rest of the UK, and the consultation proposes to change this.

More services would be available at Post Offices and there would be a wider range of electronic services available. The proposals are designed to deliver clear benefits to businesses and the motor trade and provide a range of consistent services and processes throughout the UK. Any changes to services arising from the consultation would be introduced next year.”

The DOE says, “If adopted, the proposal could mean that eight DVA offices (Northern Ireland – DVA centre in Coleraine – local offices in Coleraine, Armagh, Belfast, Ballymena, Downpatrick, Enniskillen, Londonderry and Omagh) will cease to provide vehicle registration and licensing services, but DVA will continue to be responsible for the delivery of all driver licensing and vehicle testing services.”

Basically driver licensing means the actual delivery of tests (practical and theory) and vehicle testing services (MoT). Did you know that our motorcycle CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) has a minimum of four hours on road training while the CBT in GB only has two hours, but GB refuses to recognise and accept a Northern Ireland CBT certificate?

If, as the DVLA (GB) says in the consultation, that with the moving from predominantly traditional paper based operations to the delivery of secure online and telephone services to improve customers‟ experiences, means choosing between a system that allows almost 8,000 people relicence their vehicles on Christmas Day last year and keeping 300 jobs here in Northern Ireland, then we stand with the Minister Mark Durkin.

We are aware that the DVLA has previously mishandled renewals and other documentation e.g. removing motorcycling licence categories from licences, giving riders no possiblility of recompense to get their licence back other than resitting a full test, even with evidence that a rider had held a licence for many decades.

We are sure that our own DVA have made mistakes, however they are “our” DVA – sorting out local problems locally, warts and all!

The DVLA says that:

  • NI motorists cannot currently access the facility to license a vehicle or make an off road notification online or by automated telephone service. Although a manual telephone service exists, it has limited capacity.
  • NI motorists can only carry out a vastly reduced range of licensing transactions at NI Post Office branches compared with those in GB, and for those wishing to do so, there is no facility to “retain” a vehicle registration number for future assignment to another vehicle.
  • Currently, NI motorists can only licence their vehicle at the majority of Post Offices if they have the reminder form that is sent when the licence is due to expire.
  • Only 19 Post Offices in NI currently offer the facility to license a vehicle without this reminder form.
  • Other services, including making an off road notification, licensing a vehicle when there has been a change in the vehicle’s registration details and requesting a duplicate vehicle registration document, can only be carried out at one of the DVA’s local offices or by making a postal application to the DVA’s centre in Coleraine.
  • First vehicle registration applications for dealers who are not currently using the Automated First Registration and Licensing system can currently only be dealt with at a DVA local office or by post to the DVA’s centre in Coleraine.

If these are the only issues then surely it is not beyond the realms of achievability for the DVA here to modernise its systems to bring them in line with GB?

Finally the last words from Mark Durkin, “This consultation provides the opportunity for everyone affected by DVLA’s proposal to have their say.

I have no doubt that people will recognise the potential impact on the local economy, especially in the North West including Coleraine, if the vehicle licensing work is all taken to Swansea and over 300 jobs are lost.

This would also be ill reward for the dedicated and high quality work provided by the staff in DVA, many of whom could see their lives turned upside down by the transfer of this work to Wales.

It is also runs contrary to the recent economic pact.”

Information

New Environment Minister concerned about possible DVA job losses – 17 July 2013 – Click Here

Consultation – Future of vehicle registration and licensing services in Northern Ireland – Click Here

The consultation runs until 11 September 2013.

DVLA GB

DVLA Head of Communications talks only positively on what the advantages are…………….

Comments Will No Longer Be Posted

  1. DVA Job Cuts Update

    17th November

    The DOE Minister Mark H Durkan and DOE officials met last week the Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill, in London, to discuss the proposed DVLA centralisation of DVA jobs to Swansea.

    NIPSA – Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) – who represent over 45,000 members from across the civil and public services and the voluntary sector, including the DVA staff in Northern Ireland, report on their meeting with the Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill MP, in London.

    Read More

    Watch the You Tube Video – Click Here

  2. MLAs call on Westminster to keep DVA office in Coleraine

    Original source BBC Democracy Live – Click Here

    The Assembly voted to press for the retention of the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) offices in Coleraine, on 24 September 2013.

    The DUP’s George Robinson proposed the all-party motion opposing the proposal to transfer the work carried on at Coleraine to offices in Swansea.

    He said the DVANI offices were in “an area that has seen many jobs lost due to the recession” and called for the devolution of DVA functions to Stormont.

    Anna Lo of Alliance, who chairs the Environment Committee, said closing the offices would “remove up to £22m per year from our economy”.

    Sinn Fein’s Cathal Boylan said the Westminster government had been stripping back the services and running the office down.

    “The alarming thing in all of this is 300-plus jobs, livelihoods, how it impacts on mortgages and everything else,” he said.

    Sean Rogers of the SDLP said the staff and IT systems in Swansea were already unable to cope with their workload.

    Ulster Unionist Tom Elliott drew attention to a number of smaller DVA offices across Northern Ireland that would also be affected.

    Environment Minister Mark Durkan also backed the motion.

    He said the debate would send “a very clear message to the Westminster government”.

    The motion was carried on an oral vote, and was followed by applause from the public gallery.

    Original source BBC Democracy Live – Click Here

  3. DVLA consultation on Coleraine move outrageous – Durkan – BBC News Northern Ireland

    Original Source – BBC News Northern Ireland

    BBC News Northern Ireland has reported that the environment minister has said he is “absolutely amazed” by the government’s arguments for moving more than 300 jobs from the Driver and Vehicle Agency in Coleraine to Swansea.

    Mark H Durkan said the government consultation document contains an “outrageous” statement.

    Part of the document says moving the jobs from Northern Ireland would remove any possibility of religious bias.

    Mr Durkan said that was an insult to workers whose jobs are under threat.

    The government consultation document states: “Centralisation will remove any possibility that Northern Ireland services may be biased to any particular religious group, since these transactions will no longer be serviced by staff based in Northern Ireland, who could themselves hold particular beliefs.”

    Mr Durkan said: “Hundreds of DOE staff in Coleraine face a very anxious time with the real threat of jobs being lost.

    “This reference to removing possible discrimination has added insult to injury for staff in DVA.

    “The implication that there could be any bias by staff in DVA in the delivery of services to customers is outrageous.”

    He said the “totally inappropriate comment” was reflective of the poor quality of the consultation.

    “Not only is it wrong that a consultation on such an important matter is being carried out in the middle of summer and for the shortest possible period of eight weeks,” he said.

    “The whole exercise is one-sided, amounting more to a statement of intention by DVLA , rather than a proper and meaningful consultation that sets out, and seeks opinions on, all the possible options for the future delivery of vehicle licensing services in Northern Ireland.”

    He said he would continue to oppose the government’s proposals to move the jobs.

    ‘Benefits and impacts’

    In response a DVLA Spokesperson said: “There is no truth in the suggestion that the consultation on Northern Ireland services implies that DVA staff may be biased in the way they deliver services.

    “The consultation document clearly outlines both the benefits and impacts of the proposals.

    “The impact assessment published alongside the consultation also outlines other options that have been considered.

    “Comments have been invited on these documents as well as on the consultation document itself. No decision about the proposals in the consultation will be taken until all responses received have been considered.”

    Consultation – Future of vehicle registration and licensing services in Northern Ireland – Click Here

    The consultation runs until 11 September 2013.

    Original Source – BBC News Northern Ireland

Speak Your Mind