Preseli MP Stephen Crabb has called on UK ministers to get a grip on the performance of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) which is trying to clear a backlog of applications for licences. The Agency has struggled during the pandemic with staff safety concerns and industrial disputes.
Dozens of frustrated constituents have contacted the MP over the last six months after failing to receive a response to applications. Some complex cases, such as those involving medical decisions about fitness to drive, are taking months to even receive an acknowledgement.
Mr Crabb attended a meeting with the Minister on Wednesday evening to feed in concerns about the length of time it is taking to turn around some applications.
Commenting on this, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Stephen Crabb added:
“For months on end, I have had constituents get in touch about the lack of response they from the DVLA and the lengthy wait times they have endured. It is just not acceptable. With the pandemic behind us, ministers really need to make sure there is urgent improvement in the situation. “
“It is still taking over 25 working days for a paper application form to be processed. For a rural constituency like Pembrokeshire where driving is a necessity for so many people, delays in receiving a licence can have a real impact on daily life and even someone's ability to get to work and make a living.”
“The minister has told me that the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. We are starting to see the fruits of this now but I am aware that the DVLA medical department is still battling with a significant backlog which will take at least 6 months to clear. This is simply not acceptable.”
Offering advice to constituents, the MP added,
“ Anyone making an application is advised to do so online where possible, alternatively, the Post Office offer a digital form service with priority processing. If posting a paper form is the only option available then you are encouraged to ensure this is sent by special delivery. It is advisable to keep in regular contact with any medical professional for any outstanding documentation required.”