Delays to processing times for applications for or renewals of vocational driving licences received by DVLA worsened significantly in August. Data published by the Agency on 31 August showed that it is now over two clear months behind in dealing with that correspondence.
As of that date, DVLA was processing those vocational applications and renewals that it received on 28 June. That represents a delay of 44 working days. Data from 9 August demonstrated that it was processing those same items that had been received on 21 June, a delay of 35 working days.
DVLA has consistently blamed the delays on industrial action taken by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union and the need for COVID-19-related precations in its offices. As of 31 August, DVLA said that “some social distancing measures [remained] in place to ensure the safety of our staff.” It adds that it is “working as quickly as we can” to deal with applications.
The delays have been cited as a major hindrance to driver recruitment by some operators. One Managing Director has now described DVLA’s performance since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as “appalling,” adding that its widespread cancellation of vocational tests has also “cost commercial road users dearly.”
Separately, it has come to light that applications to DVLA to register new vehicles for the first time are also causing problems for the industry. One operator says that a vehicle purchased from stock took over two months to be registered. As of 31 August, DVLA data showed that it was processing applications to register a vehicle for the first time that were received on 23 July.