Going digital and taking the stairs: DVLA’s Julie Lennard on a year of achievements and plans

The chief executive of DVLA looks back on a productive 12 months at the drivers' agency
Lennard's 16-storey challenge. Photo Richard Iestyn Hughes/Alamy Stock Photo

By CSW staff

18 Dec 2023


Tell us three words that sum up your 2023... 

Proud, positive, and potential.  

...and why you chose those words   

Proud – I’m extremely proud of the 6,000-plus staff who make up the DVLA workforce. If you drive or own a vehicle and live in the UK, you will have used our services at some point during the year and we operate at a significant scale nationwide. We know how important being able to drive is to our customers, and it’s with thanks to the dedication and hard work of our amazing staff that we have been able to deliver great customer service to our millions of customers, with the DVLA overall customer satisfaction score consistently exceeding 90% throughout this year.         

Positive – I have many reasons to feel positive as we come to the end of 2023. In terms of business performance, we have had a very successful year. As we reported in our annual report and accounts for 2022-23, we processed 93.6 million individual customer transactions, 83% of which came through our digital services. We also collected £7.3bn in vehicle excise duty for HM Treasury, the largest amount we have ever collected in a reporting year. There were many more successes, too many to mention here, and I am confident that with the talented workforce we have we will see further successes as we head into 2024.    

Potential – As highlighted above, most of our customers chose to use our digital services in 2023. They are reliable, quick and easy to use, and we constantly innovate with our services. We were delighted earlier this year to launch the Driver and Vehicles account service into public beta. This service will in the long run transform the way customers access our services. Currently, customers who sign up to an account can go paperless and opt for digital vehicle tax reminders, view their vehicle record, and (where relevant) tachograph information in the same place as their driving license details. The service is being built in an agile way, and we have exciting plans to add more functionality as it is developed, including the ability to apply for your first license or renew your existing one. The feedback we have had so far from customers at this early stage has been positive and our plans mean this is a service with huge potential.   

What are your organisational and personal priorities for 2024?   

Our current strategy, Driving Change, comes to an end in 2024 so we are working on our next strategy, which will set our direction of travel for the next few years ahead. We are also working on the necessary changes to our digital systems in readiness for the changes announced by the chancellor that from April 2025, electric cars, vans, and motorcycles will pay vehicle excise duty as well as petrol and diesel vehicles. On a personal level, a priority for 2024 is to make myself take the stairs more – working in a building with 16 storeys, it’s all too tempting to always use the lifts!   

What’s your favourite festive treat, and what makes you say: "Bah, humbug"?   

I find it hard to resist Christmas movies over the festive period (Spirited will be top of the list again) and I have to say inconsiderate drivers can leave me muttering "bah, humbug!"

This is part of CSW's annual perm secs roundup. Read all the entries to the 2023 roundup here

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