Chief executive Julie Lennard cites digitisation as among the agency’s biggest achievements of the past 12 months
As government moved into its second year of leading the country’s response to the coronavirus crisis – while also managing the UK’s ultimate exit from the European Union, delivering a potentially planet-saving global climate conference, and progressing major reform ambitions – civil servants were likely busier in 2021 than in any other year on record.
Launching new online services and improving existing digital tools were among the major achievements of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency last year, according to chief executive Julie Lennard.
What was your highlight of 2021?
I am so proud of the tremendous work DVLA has done in innovating and launching 10 new digital services during the pandemic to support customers.
Our teams adapted to remote working and were able to test and scale new online services in record time to help customers wanting to, amongst other things, replace a V5C logbook online, apply for a driver digital tachograph card and apply for a first provisional driving licence.
Our existing online services worked very well too and were available throughout the year. We have seen more than 50 million online customer transactions so far in 2021 – helping millions of motorists on their way.
How did you tackle the biggest challenges facing your organisation in 2021?
My priority throughout was ensuring operational staff working on site at DVLA were kept safe as well as supporting those working remotely.
Despite having online services that are some of the most well used in government, the UK-wide scale of our work means we still receive around 60,000 pieces of mail a day, which need to be opened and processed on site.
Finding ways to adapt to the Covid safety rules while still meeting customer demand was a challenge, but we invested heavily in extensive safety measures including leasing additional buildings, Perspex screens, one-way systems, increased cleaning, social distancing and on-site lateral flow testing centres.
What is your number one priority for 2022?
In addition to ensuring staff remain safe, my focus is on delivering for our customers – from returning to customer service levels that we pride ourselves on, to introducing a customer account facility which will ultimately put the customer in control of how they access our services.
The scale of DVLA’s work is huge – we touch almost every household in the UK – so we are constantly driven by making improvements that customers want and need and, after a tough couple of years for everyone in the country, I’m really looking forward to what we will be able to offer customers in 2022.
We have some exciting new digital services in the pipeline.
Which historical, mythical or contemporary figure would you most like to join you for a New Year’s Eve celebration?
I’d like to raise a glass to see the new year in with the vaccinologist Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert.