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Background Info

On the 13 December 2011 the DVLA announced its intention to begin a consultation relating to the transformation of its services which it expects the outcome of all 39 local offices to close by the end of 2013 with the loss of 1200 jobs.

Between April 2010 and March 2011 the Inverness local office served 30,286 customers. During January to December 2011 it carried out 42,614 transactions with total revenue of £3,569,173.40. 

The Inverness office operates from Longman House, a Scottish Government building.  The office has a counter area with a maximum of 2 clerks at the busy period and occupies a small amount of back office space.  Surely the revenue generated by the 7 staff in the local office outweighs any costs associated with its operational costs.

The offices which will be closed in Scotland are Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. These five offices have 119 staff members.

These closures would mean no experienced face to face service for motorists throughout Scotland as a whole.

In the Highlands and Islands it would be anti-rural and in fact in direct contradiction to the “big society” whereby keeping services local.

The economics of any decision to close local offices are highly questionable. Closure of the local office will have an economic impact on local garages and car dealers.

Customers wanting to buy a car on the whole want to have the car there and then.  With no local office any car with a change of tax class i.e., from disabled to general would be unable to obtain a tax disc on the day.  This would delay or possibly stop the sale.

Many car dealers are importing more and more vehicles. The paperwork involved in importing a car can be complex, the local office personnel have a vast amount of experience in dealing and processing these transactions and can on the whole sort a disc out for the customer in a couple of days.  With no local office these transactions will have to be posted to Swansea for processing, this in itself will add on a minimum of 4 days to the transaction, assuming that the paperwork is correct.  If the paperwork is incorrect it could take more than one postal experience.  Again, this could lead to a lost sale.  A lost sale or delay in selling a vehicle means that the business is out of pocket for longer than necessary.

At the moment local businesses can use the local office for a large amount of on the day transactions.  Losing the local office will mean that businesses are having to spend more and more time in Post Office queues and on the phone going through various automated services or through various call centre personnel, all this time equates to extra costs for the business. When a salesperson is not at the garage then they are not selling cars.

It is proposed by the DVLA that it will make a more efficient service giving customers a greater choice. Closures could only make it as efficient and certainly not more efficient as reported by the DVLA. 

The DVLA state that it would give the customer more choice.  Closing all the local offices would in fact reduce customer choice by removing an experienced and specialist face to face service for people who do not want, are able to or can ill-afford to use the online facility.

A mail trial was carried out in 2010, where mail sent to the Inverness local office was re-directed to Swansea for processing.  This trial reduced the 24 hour turnaround delivered at Inverness to one which was taking at the very least 5 days.

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