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    Renewed DVLA contract helps post offices to continue offer vital services

    Satpal Devgun

    Post Office has renewed its contract with DVLA to continue to provide its services for vehicle tax across the UK and driving licence photocard renewals in branches.

    The new contract will officially take effect on 1 April, for one year, with the option to extend for a further two years.

    The renewal follows uncertainty last year on whether the services would remain with Post Office.

    “When we heard last year that we could potentially lose the DVLA contract, it was quite devastating,” Satpal Devgun, postmistress at Kingstanding Post Office, said.

    “The service is very important to my branch and accounts for a high foot fall weekly; around 15 per cent of all the customers who walk into my branch come in to do their car tax. I have a lot of elderly customers as well as a lot of car dealerships and both groups were very concerned about what would happen if the service became online-only. This was a very big concern for our elderly customers because many do not use a computer or have trouble getting online.

    Devgun launched a petition last year to keep DVLA services available at Post Office branches, which got around 2000 signatures within three months.

    “Our customers rely on the personalised in-branch support and find speaking to someone at the counter very helpful. If they have got an issue, we can always get it sorted out,” she added.

    “When customers come in to get their cars taxed, they will often access other services such as travel money, greeting cards, and stamps as well. We want the customers to feel that they can come into the post office for all their needs.”

    The importance of these services remaining in branch comes as research commissioned by Post Office has revealed over three quarters (78%) of those surveyed who hold a licence believe it is important that there is the option to access DVLA services at a Post Office branch.

    The in-person services, which are available in selected branches across the UK, allow customers to get the support of their local postmaster to complete these important transactions, offering the option to pay in cash instead of card, a preference for millions of people across the UK.

    The in-branch services also provide peace of mind for customers as they know their transactions will be completed correctly, which is the main reason why 61 per cent of those who responded to the survey who hold a licence like going to their local post office to renew their driving licence or pay vehicle tax.

    Customers also enjoy the face-to-face interaction with their postmaster (31%) this service gives them, with almost a quarter preferring to complete important transactions in person rather than online (28%).

    Purchasing vehicle tax or renewing a driving licence can be worrying, especially if it’s the first time. Over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed who hold a licence when they first took out their vehicle tax and/or driving licence said they were worried they may make a mistake and 22 per cent needed to ask for help from someone who knew what to do.

    Of these people, 45 per cent said they’d feel more comfortable if they had someone to talk to in person, with 39 per cent specifically saying speaking to a postmaster at a Post Office branch would make them feel more comfortable.

    Renewing a UK driving licence or purchasing vehicle tax at a Post Office also helps support local postmasters. More than 5.5 million customers every year use the Post Office for DVLA services, and some 20 per cent of customers who responded to the survey said they liked the efficiency of being able to carry out their personal admin under one roof by going into the branch to use this and other services in one go.

    Elinor Hull, retail, government and identity services director at Post Office, said: “In person DVLA services are just one of many vital services our postmasters offer to customers in their local community. Our in-branch services provide a valuable lifeline to those who may not be comfortable with completing transactions online or who would like assistance as part of the process. Postmasters are rightly pleased that they can continue to provide this valuable face to face service and guidance to their customers, giving them a choice in how they’d like to renew vehicle tax and UK driving licence photocards.”

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