The office in Lime Kiln Close, near B&Q, is one of 39 regional offices and 10 enforcement centres across the country which are to shut by the end of next year. They employ more than 1,200 people – a fifth of the agency’s staff.
The DVLA office deals with personalised registration plates, trade plates and road tax queries. The Government argues this work can be done via the internet or an automated phone service, estimating such a move would save £26m a year.
There are also plans to introduce a new Front Office Customer Service (FOCS) facility at between 4,000 and 6,000 outlets – run by a yet to be decided intermediary, such as the Post Office. This will make the provision of a face-to-face service for key transactions more convenient for customers, it is claimed.
Announcing the closures last week, Roads Minister Mike Penning said:
“The DVLA has been serving motorists for more than 40 years but times and customers’ needs change. That is why the agency continues to transform its services to give customers more choice and flexibility while offering best value for money for the taxpayer.”
“These changes – developed after carefully listening to views expressed at consultation – will ensure that the agency delivers a smarter service to bring real benefits for the motor industry and every motorist in this country.”
Earlier this year, a consultation on the outline proposals for the future of the DVLA’s services resulted in 79% of respondents saying they were against the plans. A petition signed by more than 40,000 people objecting to the proposals was presented to Parliament in March.
The Stoke Gifford office will close on 31st December next year. Some staff may be offered jobs at the agency’s head office in Swansea.