Becoming ‘Digital By Default’

As the Chief Technology Officer at the DVLA leaves the company, he has said he is proud of how the department has become ‘digital by default’, thanks to a new IT department.

Before 2013, the DVLA outsourced it’s IT work to contractors. The most recent contract, between Fujitsu and IBM was more than 10 years old and was due to expire. However, rather than replace the contractors with a new contract, the DVLA decided to focus on building up a strong in house team. When Mr Patterson, the chief technology officer arrived, he made the bold decision to embark on a project of bringing the IT systems under the DVLA’s control.

By the time the contract expired in 2015, Patterson and his team had firmly implemented several elements required to firmly cement the DVLA’s long term ambition to become fully digital.

Motorists in Britain can now view their own driving licences online as well as buy, transfer and register licence plates. When the tax discs were abolished in 2014, the DVLA had a system in place to allow users to tax their car online- the DVLA’s in-house team built the system themselves in just seven weeks.

Patterson said of the project:

“With digital transformation, you need to be your own systems integrator, or risk not having the ability to make the changes you really need.”

When asked what ‘digital by default’ means, Patterson said:

“My definition of this is that digital should be the preferred channel of choice for citizens because it’s so user-­friendly and efficient and convenient for them to use. The DVLA now has a self­-sufficient team of people who are trained and empowered to deliver ‘digital by default’ and who are happy in their day-­to­-day work.”