Motorists in Northern Ireland will benefit from better, quicker services as a result of changes announced today by Roads Minister Stephen Hammond.
The changes, following a full and public consultation, will mean that all Northern Ireland (NI) motorists will benefit from the same services as motorists in the rest of the UK from July 2014. This means NI motorists will, for the first time, be able to tax vehicles online or by phone. Motorists will also have access to more face-to-face vehicle registration and licensing services than ever before at around 175 Post Office® branches across NI. Following consultation, the proposal will also include additional support for customers and staff, to help the move to these new services. As well as improving services for NI motorists and businesses, the reforms will result in an estimated £12 million year on year saving. Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said:
Motorists in Northern Ireland have not been able to access many of the vehicle registration and licensing services that are taken for granted in the rest of the UK. These changes will address this and will mean that for the first time, Northern Ireland motorists will have greater choice and flexibility or where, when and how they use these services.
We have listened very carefully to the points raised during consultation, particularly about the uncertainty for the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) staff who currently provide vehicle registration and licensing services. While the changes mean DVA will no longer provide these services, the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland has said that they will try to avoid redundancies and minimise the amount of compulsory redundancies as a result of these changes. DVA staff will continue to provide support to customers until the end of the year while the new services are fully bedded in.
I would like to thank the staff in DVA for their continued support, and their hard work in delivering vehicle registration and licensing services to Northern Ireland motorists over the years.
Notes to editors
The full range of vehicle registration and licensing services will be available to Northern Ireland motorists from July 2014. Any remaining transactions will be centralised at the DVLA in Swansea.
DVA’s main office is in Coleraine. 8 regional offices across NI provide vehicle and registration licensing services on DVLA’s behalf, one of which is based in the main office building in Coleraine. The other regional offices are in Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Downpatrick, Enniskillen, Londonderry and Omagh.
Motorists in GB have been able to tax their vehicle online or by phone since 2006. As part of the changes announced today, motorists in NI will, for the first time, be able to tax their vehicle online or by phone. There will be more telephone lines available providing a quick service and will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from home, work or abroad. Motorists will also be able to tell DVLA that their vehicle is being kept off the road in the same way, as well as having access to more vehicle registration and licensing services at around 175 Post Office® branches across the country.
Under the reforms, DVA will no longer provide vehicle registration and licensing services for NI motorists. DVA’s offices will remain open until the end of 2014 to support customers while the new services are fully bedded in.
Today’s changes follow a public consultation, which closed in September, on modernising Northern Ireland’s vehicle registration and licensing services. In summary, the consultation sought views on the proposal to modernise the services available to NI motorists and centralise the delivery of vehicle and registration services at DVLA in Swansea. The consultation is available to view online.
A package of documents which assess the impacts of the changes and summarise responses to the consultation can be viewed on GOV.UK. These documents also contain further details of the future services that will be available to NI motorists.
Driver licensing is a devolved matter in NI and will remain the responsibility of DVA.
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