As part of its drive to streamline services and reduce costs for the taxpayer, the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) announced last year that it was to abolish the photocard licence counterpart (paper licence), with changes coming into effect in January 2015.
However, the agency recently announced that plans are to be delayed until June 8th 2015, amid warnings from industry experts that there would be no quick way for car hire firms and employers to check if a driver has penalty points.
Resulting checks could cause long delays at car hire desks, as well as other businesses that currently check the driving licence counterpart through necessity to check for points and convictions.
In remedy to this, the DVLA is developing new digital enquiry services which will allow businesses to be able to view information which can currently be seen on the paper licence.
The DVLA has stated the new services have been 'designed for those who have a business need for real-time access to the information, and may not wish to call DVLA or be in a position to use an intermediary’.
This service will be offered in addition to existing services.
Why is the paper licence being scrapped anyway?
The decision to abolish the counterpart licence was taken as part of the Government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ consultation and the DVLA’s initiative to simplify services.
Like the recent eradication of the tax disc, the paper licence is now perceived as unnecessary, as all motorists’ records will soon be completely digitised.
What do I do with my paper licence now?
The DVLA advises that people ‘destroy’ their counterpart licences when the DVLA stops issuing them, but makes it clear that the photocard should be kept.
Essentially you do not really need to do anything as nothing changes, but you will not be issued with a replacement paper licence if you need to renew, replace or update your licence.
What if I only have a paper licence, as issued pre-1998?
Again, you do not need to worry as your licence remains valid and you should NOT destroy it.
From June 8th 2015, any points or convictions you incur will no longer be recorded on these licences and will be stored on the DVLA’s digital records instead. This can be viewed here (hyperlink).
The next time you need to update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.