Electronic Driving License Checks - Network Rail

Dear Colleague


Network Rail have informed us that they have a legal responsibility to check that their employees hold a valid driving license before permitting them to drive on company business. The company are proposing to change from a manual system of checking driving licenses to an electronic method.

Currently workers sign an annual mandate allowing the company to check with DVLA that they still have a legal entitlement to drive. In future the information held on individual licenses will be checked by a third part supplier who is DVLA approved. Third party suppliers of this service have to meet stringent requirements of the DVLA before they are allowed to offer this service. The new system will require employees to sign a DVLA mandate (D796) every three years and gives the company permission to conduct the check with the DVLA via the third party.

The mandate explains which data will be held and how it will be used - the form states the data “will only be released for the purpose of confirming entitlement to drive and will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998”.

The DVLA form states that you can withdraw your mandate at any time and you may do this verbally or in writing with the employer. If you leave your current employment or cease to drive for your employer your consent automatically becomes invalid.

This proposal has been discussed at the National Health and Safety Council, National Maintenance Council and National Operations Council. The company have offered to provide additional support to any employee and their line manager where an employee has inadvertently not advised the company of any changes in their entitlement to drive. The company have offered a central review panel involving representatives of the RMT to review each individual problem if any arise.

The company have confirmed that after the initial review cases, staff that lose their entitlement to drive will be dealt with in exactly the same way as they currently are today.

The company originally proposed to introduce this system in March but have postponed their proposals to allow the RMT time to consult with you.

Following a similar case at another employer the RMT sought legal advice on the proposals. The legal advice concluded that if examined by a tribunal/court it would be deemed likely that the company were acting lawfully in requiring workers to sign the mandate as the information requested may be legitimately required by the company in order to ascertain an employee’s entitlement to drive and therefore, lawfully undertake their duties. Further workers were often under an ongoing duty to inform their employer of any changes to their license; given the possible impact this may have on their ability to undertake their substantive duties.

The GGC have instructed me to request your views on these proposals which should be fed back to Head Office via your local or area representatives, Branch or Regional Council. Views may also be sent to the Health and Safety Section at Head Office to p.clyndes@rmt.org.uk or by post to Unity House marked for the attention of the Health and Safety Officer. All views must be returned by Tuesday 2nd April 2013.

A copy of this Circular has gone directly to all RMT members in Network Rail who have an e-mail address. Please bring this Circular to the attention of all other Network Rail members.

Yours sincerely

Bob Crow

General Secretary