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Vehicle Management (Acquire from trade and sell vehicle privately) - Service Assessment

“Acquire from trade” transaction allows motor dealers to tell DVLA when a customer has bought a vehicle from them.

“Sell vehicle privately” transaction allows motorists to tell DVLA when they sell a vehicle to another motorist. The current keeper (the seller) has the responsibility to notify DVLA that they have sold their vehicle. They will provide details of the new keeper (the buyer) and this will update DVLA's records.

Department / Agency:

Date of Original Assessment:

Date of Reassessment:

Assessment stage:

Result of Original Assessment:
Not pass

Result of Reassessment:

Lead Assessor:
M. Sheldon

Service Manager:
R. Gye

Digital Leader:
O. Morley

Original Assessment Report

The Vehicle Management (“Acquire from trade” and “Sell vehicle privately”) service is seeking permission to launch on a domain as a public beta service.

Outcome of service assessment

After consideration we have concluded the Vehicle Management (“Acquire from trade” and “Sell vehicle privately”) service should not be given approval to launch on the domain as a public beta service.

Although the service team are able to clearly articulate the user needs of the specific transactions being assessed, the panel agreed users could perceive these as separate services on GOV.UK. As more transactions are added this will only increase the complexity of the service and its content.


The team (service standard point 2)
The team lacks a designer, content designer and data analyst. In its current form the team appears consistent with business as usual service support. It does not have the core disciplines required to build and iterate a new service.

Frequent service iteration (service standard point 19)
The team have only made relatively minor changes to user journeys whilst adding the “Acquire from trade” and “Sell a vehicle privately” transactions. During private beta the team should be investigating and prototyping many potential solutions to the service’s diverse user needs and expectations.

A simple, usable service (service standard point 9)
It is not clear if the 3 vehicle management user journeys make sense as separate transactions. To the user they will appear as 3 separate services on GOV.UK and only complicate a single vehicle management service. Services should not rely on the GOV.UK start pages to remove any uncertainty users may have. This was highlighted when reviewing the relatively complex content of those start pages.

Service consistency with GOV.UK (service standard point 13)
The service content does not currently meet GOV.UK style for content design. Some pages are verbose whilst others are unclear on where the user is in the transaction and what they need to do next.

The service notification emails need to look and feel as though they are from GOV.UK and have consistency with the service. Care needs to taken in the wording of the email, its subject and sender.

The service uses a non-standard right hand column for display information during the transaction. This may be useful but the team should research variations, checking that users need and see this information.

Analysing the prototype service’s success (service standard point 8)
The team have not completed enough contextual research to show that a diverse group of users can succeed unaided, first time. The private dealership users of the current public beta are familiar with the service and have seen the trade user journeys before. The private individual users have mainly been friends and family of DVLA employees. For example, will 'selling' make sense to users if no money is being exchanged in the transfer of ownership?


The Team
To meet point 2 of the Service Standard the team should:

  • have content designers, designers and data analysts as part of the vehicle management team
  • have frontend developers and designers that can create quick prototypes for user research
  • ensure there are enough developers to allow changes to the service based on that research

Frequent service iteration
To meet point 19 of the Service Standard the team should:

  • continue in private beta allowing enough iterations for more contextual user research
  • prototype as many possible solutions to the needs identified in user research
  • include the entire team, including developers, when viewing user research. GDS recommends a minimum of 2 hours every 6 weeks for every member of the team.

A simple, usable service
To meet point 9 of the Service Standard the team should:

  • scale up their private beta to include more dealers and private individuals of different types
  • include participants that are not familiar with the service and users that have not used any DVLA digital services
  • conduct a full code review for accessibility Service consistency with GOV.UK

To meet point 13 of the Service Standard the team should:

  • get content designers trained in GOV.UK style to conduct a detailed review of the service’s content
  • a designer should review the service against the service manual and make changes to the service as necessary
  • review and ensure that the emails sent out by the service are consistent with GOV.UK and carry out research to see how the emails could be improved
  • share and discuss any new design patterns with colleagues across government

Analysing the prototype service’s success
To meet point 8 of the Service Standard the team should:

  • have someone on the team responsible for data analysis
  •  scale up the level of participation in the private beta so that there is enough data from all types of user. This will allow changes to the service to be made, and their outcome tracked, based on data.

Next Steps

In order for the service to proceed we require a reassessment of the criteria not passed.


For a private beta the vehicle management team are in a good position and already meeting many points of the service standard. The assessment panel were encouraged by the knowledge and commitment of the service team to understand and articulate the user needs of each transaction. With a plan already in place for continued user research, the team have an opportunity to iterate, prototype  and test to deliver a service that is simple and intuitive enough that users succeed first time, unaided. The assessment panel look forward to running a reassessment so that Vehicle Management service can be confidently launched as a public beta on the domain.

Reassessment Report

The Vehicle Management (Acquire from trade and sell vehicle privately) service is seeking permission to launch on a domain as a Beta service.

Outcome of service reassessment

After consideration we have concluded the Vehicle Management (Acquire from trade and sell vehicle privately) service has shown sufficient progress and evidence of meeting the Digital by Default Service Standard criteria and should proceed to launch as a Beta service on a domain.


Since the previous assessment the service team have shown improvements in the following areas:

The team (service standard point 2)
The service team now has the core skills needed to build and iterate the service. Content designers, data analysts and designers are co-located with the team and pairing with GDS where needed.

Frequent service iteration (service standard point 19)
User insight and user research sessions are now held weekly at the DVLA. All team members are attending research, with user feedback informing regular iteration and improvement to service transactions.

A simple, useable service (service stand point 9)
Having broadened the research to include more members of the public, the team now have a better understanding of the needs of private sellers. The team have made specific user experience simplifications based on their feedback. They have also carried out a full accessibility review.

Service consistency with GOV.UK (service standard point 13)
The DVLA and the GDS have reviewed and improved the content and design of the service following service standard styles. The service team are also going to share any non-standard design patterns with colleagues across government.


During public beta we recommend that the service team focus on:

  • Continuing content and design reviews to simplify the language and user experience of the service transactions. More specific recommendations will be provided in a separate document.
  • Prototyping single service solutions without relying on a GOV.UK Smart Answer as a user journey navigational guide. This will become more important as other parts of vehicle management (such as change of address) are included.
  • Trialling remote research sessions with real users of the service who have been identified through the contact centre, to observe their experience first hand, rather than relying on retrospective feedback.
  • Running user research outside of the lab situation using mobile phones and tablets to replicate how private sellers have said they would use the service.


The service team have demonstrated that they can adapt the way they work, including the skills and experience needed to focus on improvements to meet user needs. This is encouraging to see in such a short period of time. However, we would have liked to have seen more prototyped solutions to address the service as a whole. Moving to public beta will allow testing of the assumption that users can understand the individual transactions of vehicle management, as opposed to single cohesive service for vehicles. The challenge for the service team now will be to iterate based on much more qualitative and quantitative feedback from real users.


Digital by Default Service Standard criteria

Criteria Passed Criteria Passed
1 Yes 2 No
3 Yes 4 Yes
5 Yes 6 Yes
7 Yes 8 No
9 No 10 Yes
11 Yes 12 Yes
13 No 14 No
15 Yes 16 Yes
17 Yes 18 Yes
19 No 20 Yes
21 Yes 22 Yes
23 Yes 24 Yes
25 Yes 26 Yes