Embassy fleet managers discussed ways to streamline processes with the DVLA and Diplomatic Card Services previewed the launch of a new tax free fuel card.
A streamlined, online application process will be the future for diplomatic vehicle and licence registrations, Kieron Thomas of the DVLA’s specialist registrations told fleet managers during the Transport Session.
Although the system was still in the initial stages, it is hoped the three main stakeholders – the DVLA, FCO and HMRC – will be able to share information with each other so that the turnaround times for registrations could be “drastically reduced”.
Thomas also referred managers to the information booklet INF267 which provides detailed information how to register a vehicle on diplomatic number plates, customs procedures, how to apply for a diplomatic driving permit and how to apply for a Flag number plate.
The booklet also includes information on procedures to de-register a diplomatic vehicle. This could be at the end of a tour of duty, when a vehicle is exported, sold (to another diplomat or non-diplomat), registered under UK plates or scrapped. If a vehicle is written off or stolen, the DVLA also needs to be informed. At present there are a number of vehicles in circulation registered to diplomats who are no longer in the UK. Failure to inform the DVLA could have consequences for the diplomatic mission in future if a vehicle is still registered in a diplomat’s name and there is an incident involving the vehicle.
This booklet is available from the DVLA or can be downloaded from the FCO Protocol’s password protected website (http://protocol.fco.gov.uk/). Content on the FCO website will be updated and simplified. Information is also available on the gov.uk website.
Transport managers were reminded of the DVLA’s temporary Q registration. This is particularly for visitors who may be staying the UK for fewer than six months and bring their own vehicles over, which have registrations that are in another script and are not readable in the UK.
Diplomats were encouraged to inform their nationals to register their vehicles temporarily using the Q registration.
For any queries, diplomats can contact DVLA specialist registration on the dedicated phone line or email.
Diplomatic Fuel Card
Fleet managers also heard from Diplomatic Card Services about an upcoming pilot project to launch a tax-free fuel card for diplomats in the UK. The project is a partnership between the FCO, DCS and the fuel card company Allstar, which owns an extensive network of fuel stations across Britain.
Diplomats will benefit from purchasing tax-free fuel of any brand at any Allstar station and the payment, net of tax, will be deducted by direct debit. There is no need to collect receipts or fill in TX10 forms and wait for a refund.
Instead, DCS pays Allstar the full amount, including tax, which is then reclaimed from HMRC. Although the project is still in its initial stage and prices are not yet set in stone, it is thought that diplomats using a fuel card will pay an annual administrative fee of £12 and a transaction fee of £3.75, as well as a refundable deposit, to cover the initial costs incurred by DCS.
Fleet managers will benefit from being able to monitor fuel consumption and can even set usage caps. There will also be a dedicated help desk and account managers to resolve any issues that arise.
One fuel card will be issued per diplomatic vehicle and it is hoped that temporary cards can be issued for hire cars, pending approval from the FCO.
Information sharing protocols between the FCO, HMRC, the DVLA and DCC needs to be ironed out, but it is hoped that a pilot to test the system can be launched this year.
Sources of information
DVLA Contact Details
Specialist Registrations D16, DVLA. Swansea, SA6 7JL
T: 0300 123 1347
Kieron Thomas of DVLA