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Leading the way on driver safety at DVLA

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Drivers medical, Features

Emma Melrose, Head of Drivers Medical

I’m Emma Melrose and I’ve had the privilege of being Head of Drivers Medical at DVLA since February. And I don’t use the word privilege lightly. It’s an extremely important role, at the heart of ensuring driver safety in Great Britain. I head up a large team of people making decisions about people’s fitness to drive every single day.

My career spans lots of different leadership positions in retail, contact centre telecoms, media and IT outsourcing, before moving to the public sector and DVLA in 2015. I’m passionate about providing excellent customer service and coming back into an operational environment has been energising. I enjoy leading people, and this role allows me the pleasure of doing this as well as playing an important role in supporting the mobility of the GB population.

A fresh pair of eyes

My first 6 months in Drivers Medical have been a steep learning curve, but I’m lucky enough to have been supported by a fantastic team of knowledgeable and enthusiastic colleagues. I was immediately struck by the importance of being the only group of people in GB doing what we do. Around 600 colleagues handled about 750,000 customer cases last year. Getting out and about to understand the important roles that my team do has allowed me to understand what we do well and identify areas for improvement.

Meeting experts in the field

Two months in, I attended the Secretary of State’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panels where I sat amongst leaders in the field of medicine. I was humbled as I listened to the medical experts taking time to consider any impacts on the driving population and the complexities that we need to consider. I’ve also had the pleasure to meet with a number of our medical charity stakeholders, which has given me the opportunity to consider and understand the challenges their members and our customers face.

It’s a balancing act

We in the Drivers Medical team are responsible for road safety while ensuring the wellbeing of those affected. Our purpose is to make efficient, accurate and timely decisions for drivers who have contacted us about a medical condition that may impact on their ability to drive.

Each one of these customers has their own story to tell, a situation that presents difficulties in their lives. It is so important that we treat them with compassion and empathy.

What’s next

Over the coming months, I will be working with my colleagues in other areas of DVLA to review our existing services. This will tell us where we are doing well but will also tell us where we need to make improvements that benefit us and our customers.

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  1. Comment by Keith Clark posted on

    I hope everybody involved will ensure all information is made available in a variety of languages to embrace the multicultural society of today NOT forgetting a format acceptable to the profoundly deaf who often have poor reading skills

  2. Comment by Joseph Mannion posted on

    Perhaps drivers GP or healthcare professionals should have more a say of a drivers fitness to drive? Not a faceless person in Swansea who has never seen the driver let alone examined them yet they have the power to decide whether someone can drive or not .

    • Replies to Joseph Mannion>

      Comment by Emma Melrose posted on

      Hi Joseph - the input from a driver’s healthcare professionals is crucial to all driver licensing decisions and we consider their views in all cases. DVLA’s role is to make sure that road safety is maintained, and a licensing decision is therefore based on all the information submitted to us.

  3. Comment by Ian posted on

    6 months - I bet that has flown!
    It's good to see a human being behind what is sometimes a daunting organisation.
    Good luck for the coming years ahead.

  4. Comment by Peter MW posted on

    It is interesting to hear about the work being undertaken by the DVLA regarding Drivers Medical reviews - keep up the good work you do.

    I appreciate the complexity of the task you and your team have and the difficult decisions you have to make.

  5. Comment by June posted on

    Nice to be kept in the loop and put a name to the department.

    I receive many emails regarding DVLA updates which I find really useful as I work with visually impaired people.

    Good luck in your new role Emma.

  6. Comment by Maureen Kent posted on

    Pleased you have introduced yourself and look forward to any improvements you can make to help each individual.

  7. Comment by Ben Rusholme posted on

    Thanks for sharing your experience so far Emma, interesting to hear about your work. Looking forward to reading about plans to improve the service.

  8. Comment by Dee Scully posted on

    Thank you for sharing and giving us an insight into your department. Each day must be varied and different, its refreshing to read, and you have provided a human perspective to a public office department.
    can I ask who would we contact if we had a question regarding mobility scooter safety?

  9. Comment by Lewis Wilson posted on

    Good luck with your job ,it will not be easy

  10. Comment by Mr T. Oldfieldlloyd posted on

    T.Oldfield-Lloyd on 18th July 2018

    Well done and good luck in your all your future endeavours.