The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has urged the government to consider the needs of multiple vehicle operators with the reform of the UK motoring agencies.

Giving evidence at a Transport Committee hearing last week, Jay Parmar, legal and policy director at the BVRLA, said a number of inefficiencies were created by the existing agencies’ reliance on paperwork, and lack of systems able to cope with multiple-vehicle businesses.

“The achilles heel for the BVRLA has been that the motoring agencies don't necessarily recognise our sector having multiple vehicles. I think it is structured predominantly dealing with our sector as individual registered keeps, rather than having multiple fleets. This creates a number of inefficiencies when you are dealing with separate transactions for multiple vehicles. Paperwork gets lost.”

Parmar said the rental and leasing sector represents 3.3 million vehicles on the road - one in four trucks; one in seven vans; and one in 10 cars – which combined generate six to seven million transactions with various agencies per year, of which the bulk are paper-based.

The BVRLA called for the DVLA to invest in a new system which would allow for electronic notification, enabling companies to register a vehicle and receive an electronic file of vehicle registration data; apply, pay and receive refunds for VED via a pre-paid account; and notify DVLA of changes to tax classes, registered addresses and keepers.

Parmar said allowing fleets to buy tax on a multi-year basis would save businesses up to £5m, whilst also boosting the Chancellor’s pot by £7m in improved cash flow. He added that an online portal would also improve data accuracy, which would help with vehicle recalls and enforcement.

Parmar added: “Users want a one-stop shop, but don’t always know which agency to go to. There needs to be a more joined-up approach, and our proposals would make the agencies more efficient. We’re pleased the Transport Select Committee recognised fleets’ needs and called on the BVRLA to give evidence.”

No extra costs for operators

Another concern raised at the hearing was the need for a direct replacement for the paper counterpart licence if abolished under government plans - which is used as an immediate reference to check an individual’s licence for entitlement to drive. At present, a premium rate number can be called to check a driver’s details, with their permission, if they fail to produce the document, however, if the paper counterpart is abolished, this would have a significant financial impact on firms needing to check multiple licences.

  • At the same hearing senior traffic commissioner Beverley Bell said the newly created DVSA must keep its focus on physical enforcement as opposed to relying solely on technology such as OCRS.