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Abolition of the photocard licence counterpart

What does this mean for employers of professional drivers?

The Department for Transport is making an important change to driving licences that will impact HGV and PCV drivers and the companies that employ them.

From June 8, the DVLA will no longer issue the paper counterpart to the driving licence. Previously issued paper counterparts will no longer be valid. Holders (after 1998) can destroy the paper counterpart but must keep the photo card version.

Drivers issued with a full, paper licence before 1998, will need to keep their licences as they will continue to be valid. However, if, at any point in the future, amendments need to be made or a renewal needs to be applied for, a new photo card licence will be issued without the paper counterpart.

From June 8, endorsements will be held within the web-based DVLA driver record. Drivers can check their own information either online, by post or phone.

So what are the implications if you employ professional drivers?

Removal of the paper counterpart is a good thing. A visual check of the paper counterpart as proof of entitlement to drive is risky. The only true test is to verify the drivers’ entitlement and endorsements with the DVLA database.

Drivers can check their details online using the gov.uk service. They will need their PostCode, National Insurance Number and Driving Licence Number to hand to use the service. They will also be able to obtain a unique code for employers to check their entitlements and endorsements. It is understood that the code will be valid for 72 hours and can be used once.

For transport operators with more than ten drivers this may become an administration burden with the risk that vital checks are missed.  Licence checks should be conducted in accordance with the risk profile of a driver. A professional driver with a clean licence may be checked just twice a year whilst a driver with 9 points may need to be checked every month. Busy Transport Managers could waste time looking at clean licences when they need to manage by exception and take action on any issues following a licence check. This is where commercial managed licence checking services come into play.

A managed service will enable the frequency of checks to be determined by the risk profile of a driver. Once set up everything happens in the background, with the results of the checks emailed to the Transport Manager. Results are safe, secure and always available should the authorities want to see them. Descartes SmartLicence service has the added benefit of SmartAlerts where an email alert is automatically generated to notify the manager of any issues that need immediate attention following a licence check. So that managers can manage the problems not the data.

If you are looking at commercial licence verification service providers what should you ask?

The following ten questions provide a good start.

  1. Are they accredited to ISO 27001 – Information Security Management for the capture, storage, analysis and reporting of driver licences?
  2. Are they members of the Association for Driving Licence Verification?
  3. Is it their service or are they reselling a service?
  4. Is it easy to use?
  5. What support do they provide? Is it available when you need it? Is it free?
  6. Do you have to commit to a number of checks to get the best price?
  7. Do you have to commit to a contract or minimum term?
  8. Can you do ad-hoc checks? What is the turnaround time?
  9. Do they have an email alerting facility?
  10. What reports are available?

Posted on: 19.02.2015

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