Update from the DVLA on abolishing the counterpart driving licence


The DVLA is committed to abolishing the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence by 2015 following the outcome of the governments Red Tape Challenge consultation on road transportation. Paper licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 are not affected.

Currently, anyone wishing to check a driver’s licence status including entitlements and penalty points can check this information on the counterpart and photocard. Alternatively, users can phone or write to us, subject to consent from the record holder.
Some users, with consent from the record holder, also utilise the services of driving licence checking intermediaries such as the Electronic Driver Entitlement Checking Service (EDECS). We expect that in the absence of a counterpart, use of intermediaries will grow.

We appreciate that some users have a genuine business need for real-time access to the information currently available on the counterpart, and may not wish to call DVLA or be in a position to use an intermediary. Therefore we are developing new digital services to meet this need on a new Integrated Enquiry Platform (IEP).

We are working together with third party users (such as employers and hire car companies) to consider a number of options. One of the options is to provide a service that will allow licence holders to share their record with those who have a right to view it. This will provide one time, read only access to the record. Another option is for us to develop a real-time interface to allow organisations to enquire against the minimum set of data currently contained on the counterpart.

The new enquiry service will not replace existing enquiry services, but we will look over time to improve these as we migrate them onto the new platform.  For personal users we have developed a new View Driving Record service which is currently in public beta before a formal launch later this year.

Current position on new services

View Driving Record

The View Driving Record service, where drivers can check their own record only, is currently in public Beta. We are responding to feedback and continually improving the system before a formal launch later this year. To date there have been over 232,000 visits to the site.

The new Government Identity and Authentication (IDA) service will improve and centralise the security for on-line transactions with Government. When this service is introduced, for consistency, the VDR service will be migrated to this platform.

Share My Driving Record

This new service is to provide the minimum information required from the driver record to those who have a right to see it. It is currently in prototype development and we are considering a number of models. These include models that allow the driver to choose who they share their record with, another is a bespoke interface, and an alternative would see third party users given password and user access.

Development is currently in the Alpha phase, which started on 13th May and will end on 4th August 2014. We have started working with a cross-industry group of car hire companies and employers to gain feedback on the initial prototype. We will extend this research to gain the views of other stakeholders over the coming months to identify impacts, refine the process and take their ideas on board.

Further information

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is the counterpart being abolished?
The decision to abolish the counterpart arose from the governments Red Tape Challenge consultation on road transportation and will save drivers around £8m. It also aligns to the DVLA Strategic Plan.

2. How will drivers be able to see the information currently shown on the paper counterpart?
The View Driving Record service offers free real time access for drivers to view their own personal details, endorsements and entitlements. Drivers may also contact us by phone, letter and fax.

3. How will the Police be able to see the information currently shown on the paper counterpart?
The Police can access this information electronically at the roadside via the Police National Computer. They also have access to our Driver Validation Service at Force headquarters or dedicated stations.

4. How will other organisations such as car hire companies or employers see the information currently shown on the counterpart?
We are currently developing a new service called Share My Driving Record that will provide the minimum information required from the driver record to those who have a right to see it. Existing channels and intermediaries will continue to be available.

5. Will paper driving licences issued before photocards were introduced in 1998 still be valid?
Yes, paper licences issued before the photocard was introduced will remain valid and are not affected by these changes. Drivers holding a pre-1998 paper licence will be able to use the new View Driving Record service, and their record will be available on Share My Driving Record.

6. What will happen to existing counterpart documents already in circulation?
Discussions are taking place, and drivers will be informed in due course.

7. How will the driver be able to notify Change of Address as Counterpart will no longer be available
Drivers can apply on-line or complete an Application for a Driving Licence (D1) or Application for a lorry, bus or minibus driving licence (D2)

8. How will the courts record Endorsements
All endorsement notification will be captured electronically and are recorded on the driver record held by DVLA