The government has launched an independent review of the DVLA as part of a wider programme looking into the effectiveness and efficiency of public bodies.
Announcing the review the government said DVLA will be assessed on efficiency, efficacy, accountability and governance – the four pillars set by Cabinet Office.
One of its key targets is to find savings of "at least 5%" through efficiency gains and review its funding model. Its accountability to customers will also be reviewed, and how responsive it is to customer feedback.
DVLA deals with over 50 million driver records and holds more than 40 million vehicle records, and has a brief to maintain the correct registration and licensing of millions of drivers while protecting data and tackling vehicle tax evasion.
The agency also collects £7bn in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) annually on behalf of HM Treasury and is a net contributor to Government finances, raising more than £260m in 2022-23 for HM Treasury and the DfT through the sale and processing of personalised registrations and transfers.
However DVLA frequently comes under fire from HGV drivers and operators, who complain of long delays to processing driving licences and D4 medical certificates - a problem which DVLA officials have in the past said is largely due to understaffing.
Janette Beinart, non-executive director of the Cabinet Office and National Highways and previously vice president and global chief information officer at Shell International, has been appointed to lead the review with support from DfT officials. The review is expected to conclude this winter.
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “DVLA plays a crucial role in making sure drivers and vehicles can get around legally, safely and with confidence, giving drivers peace of mind by storing their records safely and tackling vehicle tax evasion.
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“With over 80% of all transactions now being carried out online, this review will help us understand how the DVLA can continue to grow from strength to strength and how we can support it to become more digital to efficiently serve the increasingly digitally savvy driver.”
The review will also assess how DVLA works with its wide range of stakeholders within and outside of Government to help keep Britain’s roads safe.
Lesley Cowley OBE, DVLA non-executive chair, said: “Our customers remain at the heart of everything we do at DVLA and we welcome this review as an opportunity to highlight our commitment to delivering world-class services, our role in keeping Britain’s roads safe, and the continued hard work and dedication of our over 6,000 staff.
“It comes at an important time for DVLA as we continue to launch new digital services and set ambitious targets for the future, as a forward thinking, dynamic organisation.
“We look forward to working closely with the Government in support of this review over the coming weeks and months.”