Workers at the DVLA’s office in Solihull have been informed that their jobs may be lost as the company starts to centralise their business to its Swansea headquarters and close many of their regional offices.
In total ninety jobs may be lost at three offices in the West Midlands (Solihull, Worcester and Shrewsbury). The losses are part of over one-thousand jobs to be cut throughout the United Kingdom as the DVLA looks to make savings of £28 million per year. The DVLA will centralise their services in Swansea and want to handle much more of their 200m interactions with users electronically, and move away from being a mostly paper based organization. They plan to keep pace with the ever changing world and become a highly efficient electronic business which will provide excellent online services to drivers and businesses.
The DfT feel that by implementing these changes they will be able to build on the success of electronic vehicle licensing and the online driver licensing services. At the moment half of vehicle licensing transactions are done online and a quarter of all driver licensing applications are completed online. The DfT say that electronic services are much cheaper and the DVLA has been encouraging users to take up those services that are available. In fact they claim that a driver could apply for a driving licence and get a motor insurance quote at the same time online.
Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “Centralisation will not mean a downgrading of service to the DVLA’s customers. Neither will it mean that enforcement activities will be less stringent and effective than in the past. Centralising the DVLA’s services is the first crucial step towards making more of its transactions available online, allowing people to deal with the DVLA at their chosen time and place. This will mean quicker turnarounds and meet our customers’ growing needs.”
The owners of Autoglass, a windscreen replacement company, have announced that they will cut as many as 400 jobs as the soaring cost of fuel is leading to an increase in cautious driving. Bosses claim that demand for replacement windscreens is down by 11% in the last six months alone.
The firm’s owner Belron have told staff that the mild conditions since the snowy period ended, coupled with fuel prices has seen motorists driving much less and more safely than in previous years, causing the massive drop in demand for the company’s products. The 400 job losses will mean 300 permanent staff and 100 temporary employees will be made redundant. Belron say they will provide everyone affected with any support needed during this difficult time. Autoglass helps over one and a half million motorists per year who need a windscreen repair without most of them having to pay the excess on their motor insurance. They have over 100 branches throughout the United Kingdom. The company operates in thirty countries and they are also the owners of Carglass and O’ Brien who provide similar services in Europe and Australia.
A spokesman for the firm said: “As a result of mild weather and fuel prices, there has been less vehicle damage and the industry, as a whole, has seen a lower demand in 2011. As part of a review of resources Autoglass is entering into a 30-day consultation with its staff across the United Kingdom and will be discussing a cost reduction programme which will include a reduction in headcount.”
Autoglass’s biggest rival Auto Windscreens went into administration four months ago, but it is not all bad news in the sector as National Mobile Windscreens have bucked the trend by posting a 20% increase in revenue and have also increased staff by a quarter. The firm who won the Customer Service award at last years Fleet News Awards has had to expand as rival companies struggle in the current climate. They have recently invested heavily in their IT system and are looking forward to a bright future.