DVLA facing huge delays due to strikes and Covid disruption

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Hugo Griffiths

Guest
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is experiencing “significant delays” processing paper applications due to social-distancing rules, and industrial action linked to Covid-19.

Strikes by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have been staged in response to what it calls “unsafe” working conditions. Some 600 of the DVLA’s 6,000-strong workforce are reported to have had Covid, although the organisation says it has followed Government advice at every stage.


A provisional deal between the DVLA and PCS recently fell through, and the union’s general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said: “Targeted action will continue at the DVLA unless the original deal, which both parties had agreed in principle, is back on the table.”

The DVLA has faced major criticism, with some left unable to drive for months, and others complaining of unreturned documents. The DVLA receives around 60,000 pieces of mail daily, but says online operations – which can be used for most of its services – are unaffected. Drivers with medical conditions often have to rely on physical documents, though, while medical professionals’ letters often required by the DVLA are also subject to delays.

The DVLA said: “There are significant delays in processing paper applications and contacting us due to ongoing industrial action and social-distancing requirements. Paper applications are taking, on average, up to six weeks to process, but there may be longer delays for more complex transactions.”

The agency added people can continue to drive after submitting an application, as long as they have not been instructed not to do so by a doctor or optician. It called the latest strike action “disappointing”, and said PCS is “targeting services that will have the greatest negative impact on the public, including some of the more vulnerable people in society”.

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