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DVLA scraps counterpart licence - is this the end of paper?

The DVLA's free Access to Driver Data service means you can check employees' licence status online

The DVLA has finally scrapped the use and issuing of all paper driving licence counterparts as the government agency moves to offer more of its services online as part of its Red Tape Challenge. 

Consequently, as of 8 June, employers will not be able to request to see the status of an employee's driving licence on paper but will instead have to use the DVLA's free Access to Driver Data (ADD) to instantly check driver's name, address, date of birth and driving entitlements, as well as penalty points and disqualifications, online.

The ADD has been designed specifically for businesses, as long as the licence holder has given permission through the Share Driving License service for the data to be made available. The data can then be downloaded and shared or stored as a hard copy. 

If an employee wants to check the status of their driving licence before allowing you to access that data, they can use the View Driving Licence online portal to see whether they have any endorsements listed they should tell you about before you search for them.

Records can also be checked via phone, although a nominated person or organisation must be specified by the licence holder in the interests of privacy and confidentiality.

Scrapping of the paper driving licence is an important move on the part of the DVLA, because it shows further evidence of the government's drive to move away from paper in favour of online services.

The DVLA in particular had already moved many of its services to the online portal, including phasing out the physical tax disc, allowing vehicle owners to buy their road tax online, the data of which is held in a database that can be checked by police rather than the car being inspected.

The DVLA also launched a public beta of another new service in April that will enable people to take a registration number off a vehicle online.

"It has been an ambitious undertaking to deliver so many changes. We've done a lot to understand users' needs and to join services and information up as we moved along. Where possible we've taken an agile approach to introduce the changes and adhered to digital by default service standards," the DVLA said in a blog post

"We've provided regular updates to DfT and Cabinet Office on legislative and IT progress on delivering our commitments. The outcome is we've delivered a significant package of change as part of the Red Tape Challenge but it wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of everyone involved in the process.

"We'll not be resting on our laurels and will continue to refine and expand the range of online services that will help to realise our goal to be  Simpler, Better,  Safer."

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