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Don’t be fooled by digital applications – O-licence applications moving online

Previously, we have written about how more and more things are moving online for operators. From 1 April 2018, this will apply to paper application forms relating to your operator’s licence. Operators won’t be able to download on GOV.UK and the Office of the Traffic Commissioner have released some information on why this is.

When the new Vehicle Operator Licensing (VOL) Service launched in 2016, it gave operators the chance to do more online. GOV.UK Verify which allowed operators to sign an application digitally for the first time for example. However, operators are being positively encouraged to do more and more online and by 2019, the whole system will be paperless. If you are trying to get some extra vehicles on your licence or pay your continuation fees, not only is it easier, but it can be more advantageous to do this online.

For compliant operators, doing things online means their matters will be dealt with quicker. The average processing time for online goods and PSV major applications is currently 6 weeks. Paper applications take nearly 9 weeks.

The Office of the Traffic Commissioner have carried out research on why operators are still using paper applications when most other areas of their business are in fact run digitally. Broadly, they have concluded most people do this simply because they always have. However, it is felt it is more advantageous for operators to do this online and that this is how the best service will be provided.

That’s why, from 1 April 2018 operators won’t be able to download the paper forms from GOV.UK and will need to register for VOL. However, they will still be available through the Contact Centre for operators who don’t have access to the digital services though.

The important role of the Traffic Commissioners acting as gatekeeper to those who run vehicles will not change, however, how operators do some things must.

Backhouse Jones has a team dedicated to managing clients’ operator’s licences and most of this is done digitally. This team provides a specialist service whereby they take the stress out of dealing with the administration of operator’s licences by doing this for operators. Services provided include making new applications and variations, managing the application process and liaising with Central Licensing Unit in relation to any queries and additional information.

If you would like to chat through how these changes will affect you or need help registering for VOL, please contact Scott Bell or a member of the regulatory team on 01254 828300.

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