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DVLA Local Office Closures – Right or Wrong?

October 31, 2013

DVLA Swansea closed our local office, Stockton-on-Tees, on Friday, 25th of October.

We at Nationla Numbers will miss this face-to-face resource very much. We have been in business for more than 30 years and during all this time have relied on their corporation and friendly support carrying out cherished transfers quickly and efficiently.

We remember the days when inspections on Northern Ireland number plates were compulsory. We would duly turn up in the car park with a van-load of mopeds all registered with Northern Ireland marks, which the long-suffering staff would painstakingly check against the logbooks, clambering from one to the other as they did so (no health and safety back and then, luckily).

Our cherished transfer applications were submitted to the local office and completions returned within seven working days. If anything was amiss, are friendly phone call from local DVLA staff would alert us so we could quickly amend the error. Similarly, if an error was detected in returning paperwork, then a short drive to the local office would see you this corrected for the benefit of our customers.

Here was a Government service that worked well for many years for dealers on the public alike. About 18 months ago, it was suggested that Nationla Numbers send their cherished transfer applications, DVLA certificates of entitlement and retention assignments direct to the Central Processing Unit at DVLA, Swansea. This method operated well for a while until it became apparent that the system was under strain with new staff being trainer “on the hoof” without proper supervision. Errors and long delays began occurring with our clients’ documentation being sent back direct totally against our instructions – often our buyer’s paperwork would go to our sellers thus breaching data protection regulations.

With our Administration staff at their wits end, our local DVLA office helped pull us through. From June, the local offices had to redirect all transfers and assignments received by post to DVLA, Swansea. However, if we presented our assignments in person, local office staff continues to process these over-the counter. This enabled us to continue to offer a fast turnaround times to our customers.

On Friday, October 20, 2013 this service came to an end.

This wasn’t the only valued service that ceased. Over all the years, we have seen worried and perplexed members of the public receive patient and sympathetic assistance with complicated queries. Many of these would be difficult or impossible to sort out online or on the phone. In fact, Nationla Numbers has seen an increase in calls from the public requesting motoring information.

We now have to submit all transactions direct to DVLA, Swansea. The few remaining local officers will be all close by the end of December. In spite of some valiant efforts on behalf of certain personnel of Swansea, timescales for completions are now bound to lengthen.

Obviously, we can’t speak for franchised dealers but we have heard of some horror stories also with regards to importing vehicles.

We at Nationla Numbers have been racking our brains as to how to help. We have decided to launch a “Document Checking Service”, similar to the passport checking facility offered by the post office. This idea has suggested itself because if any slight error or omission is identified at DVLA, Swansea, the whole transaction is returned to the applicant.

This is frustrating since a waiting time of about three weeks has already been incurred. Obviously, another 2-3 weeks in the queue will ensure you up on you submitted your application.

Our service will include Royal mail special delivey between Swansea and ourselves. Incidentally, we don’t want to waste the expertise of local office personnel and we are involved in, hopefully, recruiting staff to assist in providing this new service.

We would like to thank your local Stockton office and wish Alison and the staff all the best in the future. Good luck Emma with your new venture, and also good luck Jan with your house-sitting adventures. All best wishes to Rose and Jenny who have gone to the local prison, thankfully only to the Administration Department!

How a 1973 VW banger became our ‘Doris’

October 22, 2013
Posted in Interesting — Written by Nationla Numbers

This is the story of one man’s quest to turn this awful, terrible looking old banger of a VW Camper Van into a family car, and what a job he did of it.

Affectionately known as “The Tango Van”

The first step of getting that horrible orange colour off, get the sandpaper!

It looks better already

But this is only the beginning. It takes a lot of time, effort and love, something our good friend Robbie McDonald (we’ll call him The Don from now on) knew ahead of time. But he would do anything for his family. He had some work cut out for him on this project though.


The bus came to The Don essentially as just a shell with an engine, with very little to speak out as an interior. As soon as the seats, dashboard and other remaining fixtures were ripped out he could get to making a literal blank canvas to paint from.

Inside out and repainted

Nice base coat on the exterior

So far so good

Next came the colour. Bob went for a lovely blue colour, nice enough to wash the ugly orange burn out of our eyes.

Several hundred times better

Next came the interior

Bob has got the outside looking spick and span, but as the old saying goes: “It is what’s inside that counts.” As with any family camper van, the interior can make any trip worth while. If it is comfortable in the back and of course liveable any family is going to be happy. The Don himself went for a glossy wood interior with white leather seats. As you can see by the next set of photos, he has done a very good job with it.

What a transformation!

As you can see, Robbie McDonald did a fantastic job transforming the old, orange, rusty bucket of a car into this amazing family camper van. Take a look at the full finished product:


Say hello to Doris!

Well done, Robbie!

New Employee

October 16, 2013
Posted in Nationla Numbers News — Written by Nationla Numbers

Say hello to Jasper.