Times newspaper blasts ‘culture of indolence, indifference and apathy’ at Swansea DVLA office
The Times newspaper has blasted a “culture of indolence, indifference and apathy” at the DVLA’s Swansea offices after an undercover investigation by the newspaper into delays processing driving license applications caused by the Covid pandemic.
In an editorial, the newspaper said that the “situation is a disgrace” and called on the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to carry out a swift investigation.
The Public and Commercial Services Union have been critical throughout the pandemic of the DVLA’s insistence that staff are unable to work remotely. Last year members staged 58 days of strikes in response to what they called “unsafe” working conditions.
DVLA staff have not been allowed remote access to systems that hold drivers’ personal data, and as a result, some have not been able to do their work.
But the Times said that one of its own journalist had been able to secure employment at the DVLA and found a “system on its knees while millions of drivers are affected”.
Hundreds of civil servants at the DVLA had done no work on full pay for significant periods of the pandemic “as managers boast of watching Netflix at the public’s expense,” the article said.
In nine of the past 24 months there have been more than 500 staff out of 6,200 officially not working, either on paid special leave or on strike.
But referring to the DVLA as “one of the first government agencies to be set up outside London,” the Times said that the medical issues were “a lame excuse”.
“It is, sadly, typical of local bureaucracy and government departments that have tried to pare back costs and rely on inadequate computer systems,” they said.
“A driving licence is essential to the livelihood of millions. The present blockage is a shameful and unnecessary hold-up to all attempts to recover from the pandemic. It must be resolved now.”
The DVLA have said that they expect to be back to normal processing times for most drivers by the end of May
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