MPs to quiz DVLA over delays in processing driving licence applications

MPs are to question officials from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about “serious delays” in processing applications for driving licences.

The Transport Committee said its session later this month follows concerns from motorists, trainee drivers and lorry drivers about long delays in receiving documents.

The DVLA has been embroiled in a long-running dispute with the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union about Covid-related safety at its offices in Swansea, South Wales, which has led to a series of strikes.

The committee said the agency is apparently experiencing serious delays in processing paper-based applications for driving licences and other key documents.

The delays have created “significant adverse consequences” for people who submitted photo identification such as passports to support their applications, say MPs.

It will be the Committee’s second evidence session with the DVLA this year after chief executive Julie Lennard assured MPs that, on the whole, services are running “extremely well” and “not far below normal figures”.

A parliamentary question from July 5 revealed that the turnaround time is now between six and 10 weeks due to on-site social distancing requirements and the industrial action.

Committee chairman Huw Merriman said: “Along with colleagues in Parliament, I’ve received pleas for help from constituents desperate to further applications or to retrieve essential documentation from the DVLA.

“Those constituents include coach drivers who require vehicle certification to return to work, learners awaiting probation licences, and people who urgently need their photo identification for work or immigration purposes.

“Excessive delays are not just inconvenient, they are affecting daily life.

“We have invited the key figures to an evidence session to get to the bottom of this issue and understand what needs to be done.”

Witnesses at the session will include representatives from the DVLA, the Department for Transport and the PCS.