19 Aug DVLA Confirms Abolition of Licence Counterpart in 2015
If you’re taking driving lessons you’re no doubt looking forward to getting on the road once you pass your driving test. So it’s worth keeping abreast of any changes in licensing rules so you know what to do when the time comes to apply for your own full licence.
The Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has confirmed its commitment to abolishing the photo driving licence paper counterpart to the photocard version from January of next year. (Pre-1998 paper licences (i.e. those issued before the photocard was introduced) will not be affected.)
The move follows the coalition’s consultation on road transport as part of its Red Tape Challenge aimed at reducing volumes of paper. It is estimated that the change will save some £8m.
At the moment, anyone who wants to check the status of a driver’s licence including penalty points and so on, can do this using the counterpoint and photocard, or write to or phone DVLA, as long as they have permission from the record holder.
Others, again, with the permission of the relevant record holder, also make use of driving licence checking intermediaries, for example the Electronic Driver Entitlement Checking Service (EDECS).
It is expected that, with counterparts no longer around, intermediaries will increasingly be used.
DVLA also has a new digital enquiry service in the pipeline to be launched later in the year, although this won’t replace existing service.
This will mean all sorts of businesses and other organisations will be able to access all the details which at the moment can be seen on the driving licence paper counterpart.
The new service is being offered on top of current ones, but is aimed at those who have a genuine business reason for requiring real-time access to the information they need, and who may not want to call DVLA direct, or who are unable to use an intermediary to do so.
The new digital service is set to meet this demand via a new Integrated Enquiry Platform.
DVLA is working with organisations like hire car firms and employers to look at a range of options, including:
• A service letting those who hold a licence share their record with those who are entitled to see it, in a one-off, read-only access.
• The development of a real-time interface allowing organisations to make enquiries against the data which is held on the counterpart at the moment.
The holder of the driving licence in question will be told that their details are being accessed, and information on driving licences will only be made available to those who are properly entitled to view them.
Something else on its way, and currently in Public Beta, is a View Driving Record Service, allowing motorists to look at their own records. This is due to be formally launched later in 2014.
Any motorist who does not think they will need their paper counterpart has the right to destroy it, but only after January 1 next year.
At the same time, you can still use your counterpart if you need to tell DVLA about a change of address.