Car tax, Alexa, and Elf – DVLA boss Oliver Morley reflects on 2017

The CEO of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency talks 2017 and Christmas traditions

The annual perm secs round-up published by PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World sees Whitehall’s senior leaders open up on their biggest challenges and opportunities – as well as their plans for Christmas. Here Oliver Morley, chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, shares his thoughts

What are you most proud of achieving in 2017?
We’ve had a strong year and it’s great to see our achievements recognised with a number of awards, but I think above all I’m really proud of the team we’ve got here in Swansea. We have around 6,000 staff and given they are at the forefront of dealing with the millions of motorists across the country, I know it can often feel like a thankless task. I continue to be impressed by everyone’s professionalism and willingness to do the best they can to help keep our roads safe – I think that’s something for us all to be proud of. The awards we have won this year go to show we are continuing to improve and be the best we can be. 

What was your most difficult decision in 2017?
I would say launching our car tax advertising campaign in November. The campaign has a clear no nonsense message – tax your car or lose it – that’s a pretty tough message to deliver when we know the vast majority of drivers tax their cars correctly. But we needed a targeted approach with a warning and clear call to action to help us reach those who think it’s okay to take a chance and drive an untaxed car. 

What are your organisation’s top priorities in the year ahead?
Definitely to keep on with the work we have already started on the transformation of our services. We want people to be able to use our services with the minimum of fuss and effort at a time and place that suits them – certainly, in my experience that’s what I want when I use government services. Customer choice is hugely important and we will continue to look at developing new and innovative ways for people to interact with DVLA. Just earlier this year we launched our DVLA Alexa Skill on Amazon where drivers can check when their tax is due – it’s been a real success and is another example how we’re giving drivers a choice of how they want to deal with us. 

For you, no Christmas holiday is complete without…
Watching Elf – a true Christmas favourite in our house.


Sam Trendall

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