O-Licence application process to go digital-only from 1 August

O Licence application process to go digital only from 1 August

The application process for a new O-Licence, and the making of “major changes” to existing licences, will go entirely digital from 1 August and thus no further such paper applications will be accepted from that date, the Traffic Commissioners (TCs) have confirmed.

In a blogpost, the TCs note that 94% of “major applications” are already made online and that 89% of the almost 82,000 O-Licences in issue are tied to an existing vehicle operator licence (VOL) online account.

TCs have long blamed incorrectly submitted paper forms for delays to licence processing. They have now added that many such applications are made on “old and outdated” forms that cannot be accepted, and that use of the VOL system will speed the process. An application checker has recently been introduced to assist with submission of the right information digitally.

“Submitting a fully completed online application with all supporting evidence cuts down on extra work for you and for us,” they add. “It means that our caseworkers can deal with your applications quickly and get you on the road and compliant.” New operators and those existing businesses that do not have a VOL account should register for one, the TCs note.

Once the O-Licence application process is moved entirely online, the TCs will explore other opportunities to make the same shift for other licencing services, they add. Where an applicant is unable to use the digital service, assistance will be provided.

Data recently released shows that for PSV O-Licence applications between April 2021 and March 2022, the average processing time was 57 working days where no Public Inquiry (PI) was required. It was 144 working days where a PI was called.

While the latter figure represents a third consecutive year-on-year reduction, the former is the highest since the 12-month period to September 2019.