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Next steps to Vehicle Enquiry Service (VES) and developing an Application Program Interface (API)

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: DVLA Digital Services

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on where we are with the vehicle enquiries web service and the API development.

I’m really pleased that we’ve finished most of our background insight around the VES web service. If we stay on track, we’ll launch the new look service in the New Year.

You may have noticed a change to the data set provided through VES recently. We decided to remove the precise date of first registration, only giving the month and year. We have identified that this will better protect the privacy of those who may be associated with specific vehicles. This was all done as a result of research which we carried out using publicly available data.

Over the past six months we’ve been working to understand customer needs and define the requirements for the API development. We should have a solution ready to trial in private beta by early 2017.

We’ve selected a handful of customers who will trial it for us. I’ve also had a number of expressions of interest from others wanting to develop mobile apps and improve their business processes.

Working together  

We recently met with Dan Butterworth (a User Experience designer) and colleagues at GDS. We wanted feedback on the new design and content changes which we plan to make to VES and to define our accessibility testing options. Special thanks to Jon Sanger for organising the visit and to Angela Collins (from the accessibility team) who gave us some excellent advice.

We’re working on the suggestions made by GDS and we’re hoping to provide the new service into live and undergo an assessment by late 2017.

What we’re doing

Here’s what Dan had to say...

selfy blog - Daniel Butterworth

“VES is an interesting service to improve because it has many uses for a lot of different people, including businesses. Understanding the user's needs is important to continuously improving the service.

We identified that there was simply too much information on the page, so the challenge was to break up the information into more manageable chunks. Breaking things up into tabs would make accessing important information a little easier for users. This pattern has proven to be successful from our user insight sessions.

We’re also hoping to provide the ability to view standard vehicle tax rates, which will be specific to the vehicle. This will be another piece of vital information when the new vehicle tax rates come into effect from April 2017. All in all, I believe that the VES service is shaping up nicely - even if I do say so myself!”

So what else is in the pipeline? I’ll be looking at some of our other services in the next 12 months, specifically around KADOE (keeper at date of event) which is used in congestion charging and other enquiries. I'll also be looking at the web enabled enquiries (WEE) which allows local authorities to get registered keeper details to identify abandoned vehicles.

I’ll also be working with the business to update and deliver improvements for our customers. Digitising some services is going to be a challenge, but it is all made worth it when I am reminded of the benefits it can bring for all my customers and stakeholders.

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  1. Comment by Stan Clarke posted on

    Found it interesting and informative keep the good work.

  2. Comment by John FRY posted on

    Looks good and approached using common sence! Well done.

  3. Comment by James Saperia posted on

    At present the VES requires a vehicle registration (number plate) and the make/manufacturer of the vehicle. It would be great if a vehicle check could be completed using just the vehicle registration. Is that something you have looked into?

    • Replies to James Saperia>

      Comment by DVLA digital comms team posted on

      Thank you for your question.
      We recognise that removing the requirement to search via the make field would be beneficial for customers and we are looking at the benefits or removing this at present. Hopefully, we will have more news about this in a couple of months.

  4. Comment by CK posted on

    After reading all of this I am not clear what VES and API will do for the individual.
    No wonder we all lose faith in public service and services, please state what you are going to achieve and how you are going to get there- and dispose of all of the smart alec sounding words on the way. Might impress your masters, probably doesn't do much for Joe Public.

  5. Comment by Barrie Warner posted on

    Will access to the new system be restricted to various groups or will it be available to "Joe Public"?

    • Replies to Barrie Warner>

      Comment by DVLA digital comms team posted on

      Hi Barrie,

      The API system will be available to a small group of people during private beta whilst it is being tested. However, when it is rolled out to public beta the aim is that it will be available for public use.

  6. Comment by shurleea harding posted on

    Great work ... I would like to see photographs of drivers as they pass their test, sent to the DVLA to prevent other folk sitting the test for them.

    The testing centre should take the drivers picture at the time of the 'pass' and send it to the DVLA to ensure that when a driver is stopped by police, they have actually passed the test themselves.

  7. Comment by Raymond Ongley posted on

    Good to see other people contributeing to your forward thinking

  8. Comment by Peter Wag posted on

    Wish you would not use so many 'shortenings' that you are used to and we (the general public) are not!

  9. Comment by David Read posted on

    We now need to wait for trail