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Transport secretary pledges to digitise DVLA in attempt to clear backlogs

  • Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said he will digitise the DVLA
  • Backlogs have been reduced from 1.2bn to 400,000 but he added more can be done
  • He addressed the Transport Select Committee and said he would look at bringing in the private sector to help

Time 9:02 am, April 28, 2022

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has pledged to digitise the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as an attempt to clear huge backlogs drivers have faced since 2020.

He has said he will do ‘whatever it takes’ to clear the applications backlog.

This comes a day after prime minister Boris Johnson threatened to privatise public bodies, including the DVLA, where he said services were slower than the public had a right to expect.


Speaking to the Transport Select Committee, Shapps said: ‘I ask myself why, in today’s world, do we still need to have 60,000 pieces of paper arriving at DVLA every day.

‘What is it we still need to digitise and how can we do things more efficiently?’

According to the Times, he told the committee that the backlog had been reduced from 1.2m to 400,000 but added more could be done.

He said that the answer is digitising the system and ‘not having to send bits of paper around’.


Shapps said that he is also considering bringing in the private sector to ease the backlog.

He added: ‘I’ll look at the different motoring organisations. We have DVLA and DVSA [Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency].

‘It’s very confusing for most people. One does the licensing, the other one does the testing.

‘People ask why there are two organisations. I’ll look at all of these things. No stone will be left unturned.’

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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