Free checks or false economy? Weigh up what’s best for your fleet
Driver compliance is critical and failure to check licences can result in hefty fines for employers. According to Licence Link, buying checks from a certified provider, rather than using the free GOV.UK online service has substantial benefits – especially for busy HR teams managing several employees. Both services access driver details from the DVLA, then return these results, but what’s the difference from an employers’ view?
With the free GOV.UK checking service, employees manually apply online – they’re sent a one-time code valid for 21 days, allowing their employer to view their licence details. This relies on all drivers returning a code and the HR team following it up, which isn’t easy to track, especially for potentially hundreds of drivers. Licence Link makes it easier to manage, explains Andy Bealing, Fleet Manager, Exeter City Council:
“Licence Link’s digital checking service allows us to ensure we’re compliant with the DVLA at all times. It’s removed a number of administrative duties, giving us more time to carry out other tasks.”
For a small fee, the pressure is taken off both the business and employee. With Licence Link’s automated service, drivers can sign their consent digitally in a matter of seconds, staying valid for 3 years. It saves hours of admin time – which can end up costing significantly more than a few pounds for a check. Unlike the GOV.UK checks, Licence Link provides a full audit trail, including any past checks.
Employers can schedule routine checks as frequently as they like in Licence Link, with results returned in real-time. Again, this isn’t possible with the GOV.UK service. This makes it simple to keep watch of any new endorsements, which without attention could result in severe consequences – from invalidated insurance to driver downtime to breaking the law. Nicola Bradshaw at Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council explains:
“The reports in Licence Link are very useful, keeping us on top of driver risk. They save us time, providing all the relevant information we need to fulfil our roles successfully and efficiently.”
Ultimately, for any sizeable fleet there are stand-out benefits of using a provider like Licence Link – saving time, relieving pressure, and gaining a trackable record. Free checks are (on the surface) cheaper, but when managing more than a handful of drivers, the process can quickly become more time consuming and costly on a check-by-check basis. It’s essential to weigh up the cost to check versus the time taken by your HR team to manage the process.