Last Updated: 03/02/2012
Responding to complaints about data release
At DVLA we are extremely protective of the information we hold. We have safeguards to ensure that data is only ever released from the DVLA Vehicle Register for legitimate purposes. And we also have comprehensive procedures for investigating any complaints or suspicions that data may have been misused.
In all matters regarding data release we act responsibly and in accordance with legislation.Putting complaints in to perspective
Last year we received approximately 9.4 million requests for information, of which about 7.8 million came from the police and local authorities. Parking companies accounted for around 800,000 information requests.
Within the same period we also received 450 complaints. When we investigated these we found that 425 related to incidents where the parties requesting the information had properly shown ‘reasonable cause’ to receive it. Of the other complaints, 25 involved human error either on the part of DVLA or the requesting party.Safeguards for protecting privacy
Anyone requesting information from DVLA needs to provide evidence to show that their request is legitimate. For instance, if a private car parking company requests information, before we release anything we ask it to provide details of its business operations, to confirm that they are acting on behalf of the land owner and also that adequate ticketing arrangements and signage are in place.
With manual applications we review the details to ensure that reasonable cause is shown and that the intended use of the information is appropriate. If we are not satisfied in either respect then we refuse the application. We also consider the evidence provided to support the application.
Before allowing access to information via an electronic link, companies must first serve a six month probationary period making manual requests, during which time their behaviour in the use of data is monitored.
We conduct ad-hoc audits on companies to ensure that all requests are appropriate and that data is stored and used as agreed. If we have any concerns we carry out targeted audits.Working with Accredited Trade Associations
From 23 November 2009, all private car parking companies requiring either electronic or manual access to DVLA data will be required to be a member of a DVLA Accredited Trade Association (ATA). The ATA for the parking industry is the British Parking Association (BPA). Complaints about parking companies
Of the relatively small number of complaints we receive, most are from motorists complaining about the release of data in instances where they are alleged to have infringed parking terms and conditions.
However, some complaints are not so much about the release of data, but more about the way a car parking company may have breached the BPA’s Code of Practice. The BPA will investigate whether the code has been followed and will advise DVLA of the outcome.How to make a complaint
If you think your details have been wrongly disclosed to others by DVLA then you should write to us in the first instance and ask for an explanation. The address to write to is:
Release of Information
Fee Paying Enquiries Section
When you write to us your letter should state your vehicle registration number and details of how you believe your information has been misused.
Be assured, we will investigate all complaints. If it seems that information has been requested unlawfully we will refer the matter to the Information Commissioner for possible prosecution.