The DVLA have agreed to talk to classic industry leaders in the hope of solving the issue over vehicle registrations, with Agency Chief Executive Julie Lennard telling MPs that she would be ‘very happy’ to explore closer engagement with the industry in order to resolve disputes and improve relations.
The Chief Executive appeared before the Commons Transport Select Committee to answer questions on the backlog of 1.4 million licence applications, industrial disputes and staffing issues.
Committee member Karl McCartney MP asked Ms Lennard to respond to complaints from the historic and classic sector that dealing with the DVLA was frequently ‘frustrating and a tortuous process’ plagued by "delays in communications, errors and inconsistencies and questionable application of the rules".
Mr McCartney, MP for Lincoln, suggested the DVLA might consider exploring collaborative ways of working with the industry. He cited the example of the Civil Aviation Authority which entrusts the Light Aircraft Association to assess and consider airworthiness.
Ms Lennard said classic registrations could be "quite a contentious area because of the value of those vehicles". She added: "We run lots of different user groups for really dedicated specific stakeholders. I am very happy to have another look at whether we need to do something very specific for the classic car industry and market. Very happy to take that away".
The newly formed Historic and Classic Vehicle Alliance (HCVA) have welcomed the news and have offered to open discussions with the DVLA as soon as possible.
HCVA Spokesman Malcolm McKay said: "This is a really important breakthrough. We are pleased that the DVLA is showing such a constructive approach and is willing to engage with the sector to try to resolve these ongoing issues. It’s always been the HCVA’s position that industry experts can help solve these problems. We hope that through dialogue we can improve the process for everyone in the sector – and alleviate some of the strain on the extremely hard-pressed DVLA. If they were able to follow the CAA precedent and delegate complex registration issues to independent and well-qualified industry experts, that might leave more staff free to concentrate on the licence backlog and other problems".
The HCVA have now written to the DVLA with an offer of early talks to explore how to take collaboration forward.