Share Driving Licence goes live

Yesterday (Monday 11 January) our Share Driving Licence service moved from beta into live. This won’t change the user experience, but it does signify that it has successfully passed the 18 service standards for government digital services hosted on GOV.UK.

The benefits

Our online service provides:

  • up-to-date information - accessible from anywhere where there’s an internet connection or access to telephone
  • better and safer licence checking for third parties - saving nearly half a million drivers every year from having to pay £20 to replace a lost counterpart.

The challenge

Our challenge was to develop a service that allowed third parties, such as, employers, rental companies and driving instructors a way of checking appropriate driving licence details from the 45 million driving records held on our database.

We explored several concepts of how this could be done before arriving at a solution to ensure the driver remains in control of who they share their driving information with. This involves the driver generating a check code from within the View Driving Licence service, and the third party redeeming the code to access the record summary via Check Driving Licence.

Getting to this stage represents several months’ worth of user research, iteratively developing the service from prototype screens to the full live service. The team worked tirelessly to transform user’s thoughts and actions into working software to give the best user experience possible.

During the 9 months of beta we carried out 29 rounds of usability testing, observing users in real life scenarios navigating their way through the service.  We also analysed over 69,000 comments from user’s feedback.

We used all of this information to continue to make improvements - all the way up to go-live.

Since the launch of the public beta in May over 7.9 million records have been viewed with 3.3 million sharing codes created and over 1.2 million licence checks completed.

What’s next for the service?

Further usability testing is planned and we’ll be talking to and visiting the companies who took part in our private beta to gather further insight and improve the service. Sessions like these allow us to design our services to be the best they can be.

Keep an eye on our blog for updates and service improvements.


  1. Stan

    Lost counterpart? Withdrawn by DVLA so what do you mean?

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  2. Steve

    What if there is no internet access?

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    • DVLA digital comms team

      o You can also call our Contact Centre on 0300 083 0013 to generate or redeem a check code. For more information please read this article on Driving licence changes

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  3. Martin

    As an ADI I don't need to know someone's points history. All I need to know is is their provisional licence current or have they been banned? Rather than this rather complicated code generating process, why not have an app (or just go online), with a simple one stage process. Enter the driver number and back comes a yes it's valid or no it's not. Nothing 'confidential' or anything about whether this licence is valid.
    So, it could still be a simpler 1 step system for anyone to check "is this licence is valid?". More checks would be carried out as at the moment many folk don't check because of the multi-step process requiring clients to do things before meeting their instructor.

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    • Ryan Davies

      Hi Martin,

      We have a duty to protect individuals data even down to a simple yes or no. This service puts the individual in total control of who they share their data with.

      As with our other digital services we are always looking to make improvements to the services that we deliver.

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  4. Steve

    If no internet access telephone line is only open until 7pm weekdays, 2pm on a Saturday, and CLOSED on a Sunday! Not sure about bank holidays either.

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  5. Stephen Tapper

    Are their any plans to extend this to CPC information?

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    • Jonathan arnold

      Hi Stephen, yes we are considering adding CPC information to our driver enquiry services but do not have any timescales pencilled in

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  6. Paul Pleaden

    why talk about the licence counterpart when this is no longer used

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    • Ryan Davies

      Hi Paul, I can understand that this may cause confusion so I have removed from the blog

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  7. Rod

    What does 'iteratively' line 19 above, mean?

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    • Ryan Davies

      Hi Rod

      Apologies I should have explained this better. Iteratively means we repeat a process so we achieve a target or result. In our case we made small changes to the service, tested this with users to see what worked and what didn’t, and then made further changes before testing again.

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  8. Darren

    "Our online service provides ... better and safer licence checking for third parties - saving nearly half a million drivers every year from having to pay £20 to replace a lost counterpart."

    Wasn't the counterpart done away with last June?

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    • Jonathan Arnold

      Yes - although without the implementation of this service we would not have been in a position to abolish to counterpart and realise these savings to drivers.

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  9. Ben Welby

    I've used the service several times to hire a car since it went into beta last year and over Christmas used it with GOV.UK Verify. It's been a very impressive and easy experience. Of course it would be great to see the checking process integrate with the actual car booking process but no doubt that's somewhere on the roadmap!

    It's been interesting to see the response of different car hire companies. One was very grumpy about it (but seemed like he would be grumpy about anything) and another claimed the online service was down and rang through (I checked my own code on my phone at the desk and it was working perfectly) but mostly I've found the companies quite positive about it.

    You probably can't do anything about the biggest pain with hiring a car - physical card statements and utility bills are increasingly rare in my paperless billing world.

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    • Ryan Davies

      Hi Ben, Glad you found the service easy to use, all those hours of usability testing have paid off. We are looking at an API for the checking side of things to make it even easier so keep an eye on the blogs for updates on this. Not a lot we can do about the utility bills I’m afraid.

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  10. Mike

    I have used this service in beta and found it very easy to use and extremely useful.

    I tried to use the service on Sunday evening (10th) but got an error about not being able to match my details (and giving the telephone number and opening hours for support). My colleague got the same error. I tried later and repeatedly got a different error after entering my details saying there was a technical issue and to try again later. The next day all was fine and the service worked perfectly.

    Would the errors I received on Sunday be linked to the transfer from beta into live? And could the details I entered to view my record have been compromised if I was using the service during the transfer into live?

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    • Ryan Davies

      Hello Mike

      The service did experience some slight issues on Sunday evening. Please be assured that none of the details that you entered could be compromised. Glad you have found the service easy to use and continue to do so.

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  11. Bill Kavanagh

    Will the Share Driving Lcence always be a free service?

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    • Ryan Davies

      Hi Bill, we have no plans to charge for the share driving licence service.


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  12. Marie

    I am looking to start using this online licence checking facility for our small business as we have about 40 drivers. I went through the process of having a member of staff generate a code on "Share Driving Licence"
    I then used their provided code to "Check Driving Licence", and noticed that "Check Driving Licence" does not show the individuals address.
    The address can been seen on the "View/Share Driving Licence" section by the individual, but not on the "Check Driving Licence".
    Is there any reason for this information not to show?
    The business would need this information, as one of the minimum checks by a business should be ensuring the address on the licence is the drivers current address.

    Much appreciated if you could advise?

    Kind Regards


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    • Ryan Davies

      Hi Marie, The address can be found on the photocard driving licence. We would recommend a check on this in addition to the check driving licence service as this will also provide you with the photo of the person you are checking.

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