The Dopey Dumbass DVLA

Matthew Steeples condemns the inept organisation that is the DVLA – its headquarters on strike for months and staff riddled with COVID

Five months ago, I realised that my driving licence – which actually expires in 2054 – comes with a card that turns out requires updating every ten years now needs to be replaced.


Obviously, to deal with this matter I attempted first to telephone the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) headquarters in Swansea, Wales. In spite of them having 6,000 employees, nobody answered and all I got was some bumbling message about coronavirus lockdowns and it being better to go online.


Next, I followed the suggested advice and went to this government agency’s website. I filled in the required information and was quite prepared to pay the £14 fee, but at the final stage I was met with “the computer says no” effectively.


Plainly due to a glitch in this hapless organisation’s system, I was unable to proceed and advised to wait for a ‘live chat’ advisor. I patiently sat and did just such – especially after a message appeared stating not to input anything else for risk of being chucked out – and then after what must have been an hour, it timed out.


I repeated this process on multiple occasions over the coming months, but then discovered that over 500 cases of COVID had been recorded at the DVLA headquarters between September 2020 and April 2021 and in addition found the following statement on their website:


“Ongoing industrial action will directly affect services. There will be delays in processing paper applications. Please do not phone to chase up your application during this time as we are dealing with all paper applications as quickly as possible and in the order in which they are received.”


“Our online services are available and are the quickest and easiest way to deal with us.”


Next, in utter frustration at being unable to deal with this matter and prevented therefore from access to being able to drive a motor vehicle, I went to my local Post Office in Knightsbridge. They advised that they could process the required information for a fee of £21 and that this would take two weeks. I handed over the wonga and did as instructed.


Two months have now passed and nothing has been received. Today, I join the Independent Motor Dealers Association – who have also “slammed the agency for ‘nightmare’ delays” – in condemning this inept and unfit for purpose operation. Frankly, it’s time to privatise this useless organisation or to curb the power of the unions that are simply making the lives of wannabe law abiding motorists hell.


Renewing a driving licence card is currently nigh on an impossibility. It is time to set the founder of the ‘Complaining Cow’ – a website which teaches people to complain effectively – on this incompetent bunch of nincompoops. Why has our useless Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, done nothing to put a stop to their ongoing strike action?
A clearly workshy PCS representative for workers at this shocking organisation had the cheek and gaul to encourage the public to fund the striking civil servants. He ludicrously claimed that “we’re not being allowed to do our job safely” in a video shared on YouTube two months ago and added: “Please support us.”
In August 2020, Jeanette Miller discussed the ongoing delays in processing driving licence applications on the BBC’s ‘One Show.’ One guest explained that without a driving licence, she could not do her job in the healthcare sector whilst another added that with a lapsed licence, one cannot actually legally get on the road. Miller concluded: “DVLA, you need to step it up and put your foot down whilst you’re at it.”
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.


  1. I too for utter months cannot simply process an address change. If another woeful agency of the State prosecutes I shall cite your mentioned lot as partners to the crime. 48% of GDP in real terms snaffled year on year and you get this, some huge early pensions and a PSBR deficit of still squillions.

  2. Ah. I was going to suggest the Post Office – yes, I too discovered the ’10 year’ thing when my 91 year old father happened to mention it, but found my local PO in Wokingham, Berkshire an absolute delight. They took my photo, filled in the necessary form/s, took the required payment and in less than a week a shiny new card turned up. This was 3 months ago so it seems DVLA have fallen into a state of disrepair since. Finally, Matthew, and it seems importantly so, keep your PO receipt. My licence was ‘expiring’ in a matter of days but I was informed by my PO that the receipt of payment was acceptable proof that I did indeed have a driving licence should the Police, or any other authorititive body, wish to see proof. Best wishes.


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