DVLA chief Julie Lennard on insourcing and the future of transport tech

The CEO of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency discusses the year just gone and the 12 months ahead

Credit: DVLA

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 remembrances of Christmases past. Here Julie Lennard (pictured above), chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, discusses why she wants the organisation to be Wales’ foremost destination for ambitious tech professionals.

What was your highlight of 2019?
It has been an incredibly busy year, but the highlight for me was celebrating DVLA’s 50th anniversary in June. We’re proud to be based in Swansea and of the important role we play in the local economy – something we have done since 1969. It was great to see so many staff enjoy not only looking back at our history, but also looking forward to the future. We buried a time capsule to be opened in 50 years’ time and I find it fascinating to think how far technology could have transformed transport by then. 

What has been the most significant change in your organisation this year?
As a digital organisation that has brought our IT function in-house, we simply can’t stand still and DVLA staff have an amazing capacity for constantly changing, evolving and improving our services. This has been the first full year of our Digital Centre of Excellence. We have worked with local schools, colleges and universities to help ensure we have a pipeline of digital talent for the future and we want people to view us as the leading organisation in Wales for beginning or enhancing a career in digital, data and technology. We have had a phenomenal response and the training we’ve offered this year has ranged from Level 3 entry apprenticeships to master’s degrees in areas such as software engineering, cloud and cybersecurity. 

What will be the biggest challenge of 2020 – and how are you preparing to meet it?
We all know the importance of reducing our environment impact. I think that’s a huge challenge for all of us but particularly those of us who work in transport and we are supporting the Department for Transport on initiatives such as clean air zones. We work hard to help keep our roads safe but we have to keep continually improving and being at the forefront of new policies and innovative technologies. That’s our challenge, and one we happily accept, which will help give us a sustainable future here in Swansea for at least the next 50 years.

Tell us a favourite festive memory from your youth…
I can clearly remember the Christmas I was given my first camera – an instant Polaroid. I was thrilled with it and enthusiastically set about taking photos of my entire family, the dog and anything that stayed still long enough to capture on film. I had used up the flash bar and had run out of film before breakfast. I still have a collection of wonky looking photos from that Christmas Day… up until 8am!


Sam Trendall

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