Post Office: vital services renewed

Long Ashton Postmaster Andrew Crabb welcomes Post Office and DVLA’s contract renewal to continue to offer vital services in branch for the local community

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 in GB.

The new contract will officially take effect on 1 April 2024, 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. 

The importance of these services remaining in branch comes as research commissioned by Post Office with 2001 Brits reveals over three-quarters (79%) of those surveyed in the South West 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 66% of those who responded to the survey who hold a licence in the South West 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 (22%) this service gives them, with over a third preferring to complete important transactions in person rather than online (37%).

Purchasing vehicle tax or renewing a driving licence can be worrying, especially if it’s the first time. A quarter (25%) of those surveyed in the South West 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 23% needed to ask for help from someone who knew what to do. Of these people, 41% said they’d feel more comfortable if they had someone to talk to in person, with 35% 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 5.5M customers every year use the Post Office for DVLA services, and some 24% of customers who responded to the survey in the South West 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.

More than 200 customers visit the Long Ashton Post Office for DVLA services each month. With many nearby business and individuals relying on the branch to do tax their vehicles, Postmaster Andrew Crabb feels relieved about the DVLA’s decision to continue providing its services in Post Office branches across the country and underscores its importance.

Andrew Crabb, Postmaster, Long Ashton Post Office, said, “I see a lot of elderly customers come through the doors who are uncomfortable going online especially to do something like vehicle tax. As it is a complex process, it would be disastrous for them if the service became online-only.

“Many of them are scared of being scammed or unable to access the internet and would much rather come to the branch and speak to me or the staff face-to-face to get help.

“Keeping DVLA services available in branch is also about the customers having a choice in terms how they pay tax for their cars – some customers don’t want to do it online because that would mean they are forced set up a direct debit. 

“These are hard times as we all know; customers are trying to stay on top of their finances by budgeting with cash and it’s vital they have the choice to pay for their car tax in branch with cash.”

Elinor Hull, retail, government and identity services director, 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.”

Main image: Long Ashton Postmaster Andrew Crabb