About the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is the organisation of UK Government responsible for maintaining a database of drivers and a database of vehicles in Great Britain; its counterpart in Northern Ireland is the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA). The agency issues driving licences, organises collection of vehicle excise duty (also known as road tax and road fund licence) and sells private number plates.
The DVLA is an executive agency of the Department for Transport and It is directly responsible to the Minister of State, one of the department's ministerial team. The current Minister is Philip Hammond. The current acting Chief Executive of the agency is Simon Tse, replacing Noel Shanahan who was appointed in 2007 and moved to the DfT in May 2010.
The DVLA is based in Swansea, south Wales, with a prominent 16 storey building in Clase and offices in Swansea Vale. It was previously known as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre (DVLC). The agency also has a network of offices around Great Britain, known as the Local Office Network.
DVLA introduced Electronic Vehicle Licensing (EVL) in 2004 with customers now being able to pay vehicle excise duty online and by phone. However, customers still have the option to tax their vehicles via the Post Office.
The DVLA is also incorrectly assumed to endorse driving licences with penalty points, the DVLA has no legal power to convict a motorist of a driving offence, if the licence is surrendered to the police for an endorsable offence the licence is sent to the magistrates court in the county the offence was committed in, endorsed and returned to the driver, DVLA's database is updated electronically by the magistrates court and will only request the licence if the driver has failed to produce it to the magistrates, either through the police, a fixed penalty ticket or summons.
The vehicle register held by DVLA is used in many ways. For example, by the DVLA itself to identify untaxed vehicles, and by outside agencies to identify keepers of cars entering central London who have not paid the congestion charge, or who exceed speed limits on a road that has speed cameras by matching the cars to their keepers utilising the DVLA database. The current DVLA vehicle register was built by EDS under a £5 million contract signed in 1996, with a planned implementation date on October 1998, though actual implementation was delayed by a year. It uses a client-server architecture and uses the vehicle identification number, rather than the registration plate, as the primary key to track vehicles, eliminating the possibility of having multiple registrations for a single vehicle.
The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) was introduced to help reduce vehicle crime. It is intended to deter criminals from disguising stolen cars with the identity of written off or scrapped vehicles.
When an insurance company writes off a car, the registration document (V5 logbook) is surrendered to them and destroyed. The insurance company will then notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that the vehicle has been written off. This notification will set a 'VIC marker' on the vehicle record on the DVLA database.
DVLA database records are used by commercial vehicle check companies to offer a comprehensive individual car check to prospective purchasers.
However, the accuracy of the data held remains a continuing problem. Anyone can request information from the database if they have a reason to for a fee of £2.50
The database of drivers, developed in the late 1980s, holds details of some 42 million driver licence holders in the UK. It is used to produce drivers' licences and to assist bodies such as the Driving Standards Agency, police and courts in the enforcement of legislation concerning driving entitlements and road safety.