In the run-up to the abolishing of the paper driving licence in June (2015), the Government is preparing an online system whereby employers can check the driving licences of all their workers in real time. This has been a cause for concern among a number of fleet operators who were recently reassured by the Government that no data breaches would take place because of the checks.
The Association of Car Fleet Operators, one of the largest trade organisations representing companies with fleet vehicles, pressed the government for answers regarding the new licence check programme. They were assured that the programme would not violate the Data Protection Act's Section 56 governing how personal data is safeguarded. The organisation was told that they could go ahead with plans to assist their members with driving licence checks come June.
The Government has been working on the online system in order to make it possible for employers to keep track of worker driving licences after the paper licence is abolished. Moreover, while the government system is new in and of itself, the process of checking licences online is not. Fleet Licence Check has already been doing it successfully for 20 years.
We have a direct link to licence databases, which allows us to run licence checks and return the data directly to employers. We do so more than 20,000 times per year. The difference between our service and that which the government plans to roll out in a couple months can be summarised in a single word – experience. We already have years of experience under our belt while employers intending to use the government system will be going in blindly.Why Check Licences?
It should be obvious that employers need to check the licences of their drivers in order to reduce their liability exposure. With paper licences, employers can check information only up to a certain date. If points are added or an accident is recorded, neither will show up on the paper document until the next renewal. The only way for an employer to know about the existence of such changes is to run a licence check. Under the new digital system, it becomes even more important for employers to check licences because there will be no paper documents to see.
Fleet Licence Check will be unaffected by the new licensing regime in June – we will continue doing what we have always done. As an employer, however, things will change for you. While you will be able to use the government system free of charge initially, it will not remain free forever. The Government plans to begin charging for every transaction once employers are familiar with the system.
Rather than invest the time and resources in learning how to use the government system, we encourage you to let us do the work for you. We take all the hassle and inconvenience out of licence checking so that you can worry about other, more important aspects of your business.Sources:
1. Fleet News UK – http://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/2015/3/27/employers-will-not-breach-data-protection-when-checking-driving-licences-online-says-ico/55278/