Rogers Says DVLA Transfer Will Affect Downpatrick Jobs

SPEAKING on a recent debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly on the retention of jobs in the DVLA, South Down MLA Seán Rogers pointed out the negative effects on Downpatrick of moving the jobs to Swansea.

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He said: “I see the debate as seeking two specific outcomes. The first is the retention of the existing functions, jobs and services at DVLA in County Hall, Coleraine and the local office network, which is spread throughout Northern Ireland.

The second is new meaningful investment in DVLA by the Department for Transport into hardware, IT development and services, and for the development of alternative and new methods of service delivery.

“In Downpatrick in my constituency, it could mean eight people losing their job. Those jobs must be secured in Northern Ireland. I do not accept the argument that, to deliver electronic services for motorists here, they have to be managed from Wales.

“Since the start of the closure programme earlier this year affecting regional local vehicle licensing and registration offices, Swansea, in the four months of April, May, June and July, has spent over £1·65 million on overtime payments. That is totally indefensible.

“Clearly, DVLA, the staff and IT systems in Swansea are unable to cope with the growing workload that is now being expected of them. What chance have they of coping if the large volume of work from Northern Ireland is transferred there? That is from a Government agency already suffering from customer satisfaction standards that are well below those enjoyed by DVLA here.

“The Northern Ireland motorist has stated repeatedly and unambiguously that the DVLA has performed magnificently in delivering all its services. In recent years, the customer satisfaction level for transactions with the Driver and Vehicle Agency has been consistently measured at between 98·7% and 100%.

“I commend my party colleague John Dallat, who has been consistent in his approach to this issue, and the previous Minister of the Environment and the present one. The Northern Ireland public deserve the highest quality service.”