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DVLA takes online medical licensing to public beta

17/11/16

Agency directs drivers to sign up for GOV.UK Verify to use service for notifying it of diabetes and vision problems

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has launched a new online licensing service for drivers with diabetes and single vision conditions  ΜΆ  with a requirement to use the GOV.UK Verify identity assurance platform.

Tablet showing DVLA medical licensing serviceIt provides an online route for drivers to satisfy the legal requirement to tell the DVLA about a medical condition that could impair their ability to drive.

A blogpost from the agency’s digital team points to it initially being applicable to diabetes, although the law also applies to conditions such as glaucoma and epilepsy.

It says the move has followed research showing that 55% of drivers want to tell the agency about medical conditions online, rather than through the existing paper based process.

There is no checking of any NHS data sources: a DVLA spokesperson said the process relies completely on information provided by the driver after being informed by a doctor that they have a condition.

Usability issues

The service has now moved into public beta, following a private beta phase in which the DVLA ran usability sessions and worked with medical advisers and panels to strip any unnecessary questions out of the online form. It has been able to reduce all the questions to binary format, so users can only give one of two possible answers, to help its decision making.

The service also requires the driver to register on GOV.UK Verify, making it the latest to pick up the identity assurance platform developed by the Government Digital Service.

The spokesperson reiterated the general purpose of Verify in telling UKAuthority why it is going to be used for this purpose. “Verify was chosen for users to access the service as it offers assurance that the person using the service is the licence holder," he said.

DVLA is already using Verify for drivers to share their driving licence information, but the agency is currently non-committal about plans for using it in other services. “As we roll out more services we will consider the best way for users to access them,” the spokesperson said.

The blog says DVLA is aiming to make the service available for up to 160 other medical conditions and to make it fully live, but does not provide a timeframe.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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