A licence-checking specialist has expressed concern about drivers’ data being too easily accessible after the demise of the counterpart (paper) driving licence, which is currently scheduled for next year. 

Speaking to BusinessCar, managing director of Licence Bureau, Malcolm Maycock, expressed concern about how the DVLA would handle corporate licence checks after the counterpart’s demise.

“DVLA are brilliant at consumer transactions – if you want a tax disc you can do it online, if you want a V5 you can do it online – they are brilliant. I think as a Government organisation they’re seen as being a flagship because they’re dealing with millions of individuals and doing it really, really well. The issue that they have, or I certainly perceive that they have, is dealing with business.”

He said the removal of the paper licence had the potential to cause data protection problems for drivers and businesses.

“How does DVLA deal with anywhere between 1.5m and 3m companies that will require access to driver data when you get rid of the counterpart? How do you control that and how do you manage the security of that?

“The issue is that the end user doesn’t want any Tom, Dick and Harry looking at their own private data. So how do you audit it? There has to be some measurement because otherwise there will be abuse.”

Maycock suggested that the DVLA pairing up with the Electronic Driver Entitlement Checking Service (EDECS) user group – an industry body made up of licence checking specialists of which he is chairman – was a solution to the data protection issue.

“What we’re trying to do is actually bring in the skills that we’ve learned over the last 10 years and certainly the five years of the group of ‘how do you deal with business?’.

“The route through EDECS users is controlled and has a strict audit process, which DVLA are currently able to manage even with their reductions in funding. It’s contracted, it’s very, very simple and it works.”    

He warned of the dangers of failing to implement a controlled licence checking system and the in the wake of the counterpart’s demise: “My fear is unless you’re really careful with this, we won’t continue to catch those drivers who shouldn’t be driving. The disqualified, revoked provisional and expired won’t be caught because either the data will be abused and it will be withdrawn or it won’t be understood.

“What we need is a system that’s really cheap for us to obtain the driver record that we can put in additional controls with our contracted customers and have DVLA then deal with a smaller group to audit.  It’s as simple as that.”