Historian's Notes.

January 2014

DVLA’s local office closures: what does it mean for us?

The government’s decision to close their network of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency local offices didn’t seem like a good idea. Last summer the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents DVLA staff, was complaining through the office of their vocal general secretary Mark Serwotka, that the 39 closures would result in the loss of 1,200 jobs – a tough call for another group of public sector workers who have been facing the brunt of the Coalition’s cutbacks in these difficult economic times.

Our interest in this matter has been rather more esoteric, of course: how would the re-registering of our machines be dealt with? Last October I received a letter from the DVLA’s head of registration policy, explaining the new procedures for the registration and licensing of historic vehicles following the local office closures. Three changes were announced.

The first concerned verifying original paperwork submitted with V765 Scheme applications. These include the machine’s original log book, insurance certificate, pre-1983 tax disc etc., in short a document which links the registration applied for with the one displayed on the particular machine. Owners who have attempted one of these re-registration applications will know that a document of this type is an essential part of a successful approach to the DVLA to keep a machine’s original mark. Soon after the V675 Scheme was introduced, a number of owners club representatives suggested that authenticated copies of these documents could be submitted, to avoid the originals being lost in the post. The civil servants at Swansea agreed, and delegated this task to the DVLA’s local offices. Following closure of these facilities, the verification process is now to be carried out by the owners’ clubs themselves.

The second change deals with taxing machines once a successful V765 application has been made. Previously the DVLA posted a new Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C) to the owner, which usually listed the taxation class as Not Licensed. This meant that a tax disc could only be obtained from the DVLA, or one of its local offices, not from a post office. It was also possible to tax a vehicle at a local office if the nominated owners’ club official had supported the application and returned it directly to the owner.

From now on I have been asked to send all applications to Swansea whether the machine is ready for the road or not. In turn the owner will receive a V5C with the Taxation Class showing Historic Vehicle, meaning that it can be licensed at a local post office – either straight away or in due course once a restoration is completed.

The same is the case for applications for an age-related registration. This was dealt with by the local offices, but in future needs to be posted by the applicant to the DVLA once the Club has verified the documentation – in particular confirming the machine’s date of manufacture.

The third alteration involves replacement frame numbers. Swansea call these Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN). This occurs occasionally with our machines when the stamped patent number plate (usually sited inside the toolbox lid) becomes detached and lost and the original VIN cannot be traced. The format of replacement numbers has changed, to reflect that they are now issued centrally, rather than by local DVLA offices.

I have updated the Club’s re-registration leaflet to include these changes. This is available from my usual address, or directly from here: DVLA RE-REGISTRATION SCHEME or click the DVLA Re-registration  menu box on the left hand side of the screen.

Dennis Frost