The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency have been criticised over the centralised handling of personalised number plate transfers by members of the motoring industry.
Concerns were voiced after the DVLA had revealed in-depth plans on the continued centralisation and digitalisation of its services.
The National Franchise Dealers Association released a statement saying:
'The NFDA, supported by key personnel from Marshalls and Lookers, attended a meeting with the DVLA to update of services transferred to the Post Office and the changes to AFRL centralisation, but we pressed hard for comment on the atrocious central handing of cherished number transfers.
Swansea admitted they had grossly underestimated the amount of document checking and rectifying mistakes on the cherished number applications that had been carried out at local DVLA offices prior to them being stopped from handing [Cherished Transfers]'
DLVA have previously quoted 6 working days turnaround time for the transfer of number plates, but in practice this time has been known to extend to 3 weeks on average, and sometimes more, due to what they have referred to as “post room delays”.
Transfers can still be done at local offices for a short time period.
Plans to close local DVLA offices by the end of 2013 came ahead of on-going efforts to centralise services to the main Swansea office, while also attempting to bring many services to an online platform.
Office closures with take place throughout October and November with the final offices shutting shop by December on Friday the 13th.
Employees dealing with number plate transfers at Swansea have been increase to 140 to handle the workload, with currently stands at around 2900 transfers per day.
New staff receive 5 weeks training, but due to the number of administrative mistakes ongoing quality checking has been required.
It is expected that the workload will come down by the end of the year as staff become more efficient and work carried over from local offices dies down, though this will only be temporary due to the release of the 14 year registrations in March.
Government plans have revealed that the centralised handling of all number plate transfers by post will eventually make way to an entirely digital procedure.
DVLA aims to implement an online system to handle the retention of vehicle registrations. Once this is in place, a second system allowing drivers to assign private registrations to their vehicles will also be put into place.
Work on this action is likely to start by the end of 2014, though the DVLA warns that extensive testing of the online application means the public may not see it until 2016.
In the meantime, number plate retentions, assignments and transfers will all be dealt with by Swansea via postal applications.