Further to the changes we saw last year where tax discs were replaced by an electronic system, with effect from 8th June 2015 (that’s a mere 2 months away), the paper part of a driving licence will no longer be required as records move online. This is all part of the government’s commitment to streamline services and it estimates that phasing out paper licences will save drivers about £8 million in reduced fees.
The DVLA will no longer issue the green paper counterpart licence and the existing documents will no longer be valid. The paper counterpart displays details not included on the photocard including vehicle categories and any endorsements or penalty points.

After the changes details of driving convictions will instead be held on the DVLA’s digital records. Motorists will be able to check their penalty points online, by phone or by post.


What does this mean for employers?

As an owner or manager, you must verify whether your employees who drive for work need to use a tachograph, have a valid licence and possess the proper qualifications. Failing to do so could generate a £1,000 fine for the motorist and expose you to liability for any injury, damage or death caused by your employees driving with an invalid licence while working.

Beginning 8 June 2015 employers can no longer use the paper counterpart to check driving information—such as provisional entitlements and endorsements—which is not listed on the photocard licence.

Currently employers can verify employees’ driver information with their permission through the following services:

  • By post for £5 per enquiry
  • By phone for 51p per minute: 0906 139 3837
  • By fax for £5 per enquiry
  • Via the Electronic Driver Entitlement Checking Service, which requires organisations to pay set-up costs, an enquiry fee and enter into a contract with the DVLA

Visit www.gov.uk/employing-people-to-drive for more information on driver entitlement checks.


Share My Driving Record (SMDR)

Along with phasing out paper licences, the DVLA is developing a digital enquiry service for businesses that need real-time access to drivers’ information which cannot be accommodated via existing services or an intermediary. These will include employers, driving instructors, intermediaries and car hire firms.

The service, Share My Driving Record (SMDR), will only reveal data to organisations that are authorised to see it and that have notified the driving licence holder.

SMDR will initially be free, but that could change pending further review. The DVLA decided to initially not charge SMDR users in an effort to mirror drivers’ ability to present such information found on their paper counterpart free of charge to organisations or employers who have a right to view it. Existing services, along with their attendant costs, will remain unchanged.


What does this mean for employees?

Employees with paper driving licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 should keep their licence. The next time they update or renew their licence, they will only be issued a photocard.

After 8 June 2015 licence holders may destroy their paper counterpart—but not before. Employees can check their own driving information by visiting www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

If you need to change your address you will still be able to use the counterpart driving licence to notify the DVLA although you can change your address online. If you have only got a paper driving licence, the next time you make a change you will only be issued with a photocard.

For more information on this topic, visit www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-licence-changes