Free employers’ guide on the 2015 UK Driving licence change

The 2015 Driving Licence change


You may or may not have heard that since 8 June 2015 the paper counterpart to the photo-card is no longer valid – and will no longer be issued, or updated by the DVLA (excluding licences issued by the DVA Northern Ireland).

So how do you as an employer now check your drivers’ details?  This free Employers Essential Guide will help you to easily do this.

Now before anyone who only has a paper copy of their licence (like me) panics your paper driving licence is still legal (if issued prior to the photo-card in 1998) – but like the paper counterpart to the photo-card issued in 1998, neither will be updated. So neither is a reliable tool for checking your employees or workers driving details any longer.

Primarily the paper copy told us the categories of vehicle a driver was allowed to drive, or tow, and any endorsement/penalty points they may have acquired.   As a side note should you wish to exchange your paper licence for a photo card you can do so here:   Renew paper licence I have personally just done so.

Why check your driver’s details?

IOSHAs a member of IOSH, I can confirm all employers have a legal duty of care, not only to their employees/workers, but other road users, when a person is driving on company business, or is authorised to use a company vehicle.

As a minimum, employers must check on employment and then at regular intervals (as deemed necessary within the relevant risk assessment) key information such as:

  • The driver holds a full and valid driving licence for the type of vehicle they are to drive (appropriate vehicle categories)
  • That the licence is accurate and up to date.  For instance current name and/or address
  • Whether a driver is still within their two year probationary period
  • And, of course, if they have any endorsements or disqualifications.


Your fleet insurance company will require you to check this to validate your insurance.  Also, in the case of a serious road accident and any subsequent investigation, the investigator will always wish to verify the legality and capability of your driver.

It therefore is essential you have a robust procedure for ensuring all your drivers’ legality and capability to drive on your behalf.  Not to do so would put you, your company and your employees at serious risk of breaching your legal duty of care responsibilities and risk possible corporate and personal prosecution.

For the avoidance of doubt, your duty of care does not change because of the type of vehicle driven, who owns the vehicle, or how much driving the employee/worker does as part of their work for you.

A common mistake some employers make when they have a procedure is to just check their commercial vehicle drivers.  This overlooks the risk of not fully checking the occasional driver of a fleet vehicle, or someone who uses their own car for company business and is reimbursed for doing so, or even a partner of one of your employees/workers who has been authorised to drive a company vehicle.  Your duty of care across all drivers is equal.

How can you now comply with your legal duties?

image001The first essential step to help you ensure you can fulfil your health and safety duty of care responsibilities is to have a written procedure.

Your procedure will be based on the law and a risk assessment of your operations.  This will act as a guide of what needs to be checked and done.  This may be within a separate Driver’s Handbook or part of a wider Employee Handbook.

Then your managers must ensure that any person who is to drive for the company, or have access to a company vehicle has followed the procedure.  The drivers must also have access to the procedure and have signed that they have read, understood and will adhere to the requirements.

As a minimum this will include licence checks and re checks, vehicle maintenance and safety checks and measures to confirm the continued capability of the driver.  If you would like help with this please contact me and I would be happy to assist you.

So how do you now check licences post 8th June 2015?

It is called ‘Real Time’ licence checking.  Penalty points (endorsements) and any other changes will now only be recorded electronically.  If an offence is committed a licence will still need to be submitted and any fines paid, but the court will now deal with the paperwork differently.  No offences will be printed on any paper licence or counterpart, so neither the photocard nor the paper licence will now provide an accurate account of any driving endorsements or changes.

Instead this information will now be held on DVLA’s driver record, and can be viewed on line by following this link or by phone or by post.

By far the easiest for employers is the online option.  It is important to note however that it is a criminal offence to obtain someone else’s personal information without their permission.  To enable you to access the information legally your employee/worker will need to create a license ‘check code’ to enable you to legally share their personal details.  As a side note we may all have to do this now if we hire a car.  This ‘check code’ is valid for 21 days.

This service is only for UK licences and cannot be used if a licence issued outside of England, Wales or Scotland. You will need a separate procedure for checking these within your Drivers’ procedure.  It also cannot be used to check a licence application, or to access historical information, e.g. expired penalty points.

Your employee/worker can get a ‘check code’ by using this free service.

They will need.

  • their driving licence number
  • their  National Insurance number
  • the postcode on their driving licence.


If for whatever reason your driver cannot generate a code on line then they can call 0300 083 0013 and DVLA will provide them with a code to pass to you.

Alternatively they can call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for their driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person within an organisation. You can then call DVLA on 0906 139 3837 (calls cost 51p per minute) to check the driver’s details after they’ve given their permission.

Once you have the check code, driving licence number, National Insurance number and postcode that appears on the driving licence you can view all the details on a driving licence on line (see links above).  It will give you the option to save the details electronically or print a hard copy for your personnel records.

I hope this guide helps you to smoothly implement these changes into your company and help ensure the continued health safety and welfare of all – and ensure your continued legal compliance in this area.

If you have any queries whether related to this guide or any other employee issue please do not hesitate to contact me on 01295 788 589 / 07899 425 916 or pop me an email at  – I would be happy to help you.



About Carole Thomson

Following 16 years implementing HR solutions for businesses I founded HR Support for Business. Designed to be a one stop trusted HR Resource centre for small and medium businesses. Working locally or virtually we can be your HR team member when you need us. Or give SMEs access to tried and trusted HR contracts, policies and documentation. A self service HR resource to make it easier for SMEs to manage their people and save time and money in development and management time.

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