Is The DVLA Rewarding Failure?

Thu 26th May 2022

The Government agency responsible for administrating driving licences has handed £2.2m of bonuses to staff despite a growing backlog of applications waiting to be processed.

At its worse, the backlog on licence applications at the DVLA reached 1.2million as staff working from home and the pandemic lockdown put severe pressure on the organisation to meet targets. And Covid played a further part when many staff at the agency went on strike to complain that offices were not Covid secure.

The DVLA have been forced to bring in additional staff to fight the backlog, which is now believed to be around 300,000, but despite these concerns information published by the Department for Transport has shown that £2,163,414 of bonuses was paid to staff during the period in which they were failing.

The news has angered one Tory MP, David Jones, who in the Daily Mail said: “It's a close run thing as to which is causing more complaints at the moment, the DVLA or the Passport Office.

The public perception of the DVLA at the moment is at rock bottom. There are people across the country waiting for their driving licences who are being bitterly inconvenienced.

“The DVLA also appear to be ahead of the rest of the field at staying at home to work. This is really grossly insulting to people who have had such a bad experience at the hands of the DVLA.”

Another Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg has been driving a campaign to try and get civil servants back to work in offices, suggesting that the backlog at the DVLA came about as there wasn’t enough staff to open the mail.

In response to the complaints about the bonus, the DVLA said: “Our staff have worked incredibly hard to help keep the country moving throughout the pandemic and despite a number of issues including coordinated industrial action, our services are operating within normal turnaround times as paper applications are being processed within three to four weeks.

“Throughout the pandemic, all staff whose role required them to be on site, were on site, opening and processing the 60,000 items of mail we receive daily.”