DVLA makes technological progress

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has introduced a 24/7 chatbot, modernised its core IT network and is prototyping robotic process automation

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has made several technological advances, including introducing a chatbot for customers.

According to the agency’s annual report and accounts for 2019-20, it has been using the “latest technology platforms” to launch new services, such as a 24/7 chatbot, built in-house, which gives customers access to online support when the DVLA contact centre is closed.

“It’s early days, but initial results are positive and work continues as to what further advances we will make in this area,” said the report.

The agency’s emerging technology lab has also been prototyping robotic process automation (RPA), to see where “it can add value to our new and existing services and help to free up staff time to deal with customers”, it said.

“We also held two hackathons, where teams from public and private sector organisations pitched against each other to find new and exciting ways to use bot technology to improve a public service.”

In 2017, the DVLA published a three-year digital strategy setting out plans to move away from all its legacy IT systems and undertaking a major cultural transformation to achieve more agile working and become a hub for digital motoring.  

It has now become a centre for digital excellence, and aims to continue building IT capability locally and in-house. “We aim to be the best place in Wales to start or develop a career in digital, data and technology,” said the report.

The agency has been working with the Cabinet Office to change the way its IT spend is requested and approved, following changes to IT spend controls.

“This has involved streamlining ICT spend approval into a pipeline approach where all DVLA strategic change is evidenced, moving away from each individual item requiring ICT spend approval having to be reviewed and approved by the Cabinet Office,” said the report.

Read more about the DVLA

  • Cyber criminals are offering various services and tax refunds that purport to be from the DVLA.
  • Intelligent voice service will enable motorists to check whether their vehicle tax and MOT are up to date.
  • DVLA’s CTO talks about the agency’s plans to become a hub for digital motoring, the importance of culture, and moving away from legacy IT.

The DVLA has also collaborated with the Home Office and Surrey and Sussex police forces to pilot technology enabling police to have instant access to a driver’s photo to help deal with motoring offences.

“This means a driver’s identity can be confirmed almost instantly and, during the trials, this has saved hundreds of hours for the road police unit officers and local policing officers – meaning more time for patrolling, supporting investigations and community work,” it said.

“Roadside checks related to motoring offences can now be up to 66% faster, meaning motorists can get back on the road quicker.”

The agency has also continued to build on work done to modernise its core IT network and storage capability.

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