An Overview on Centralized Registration

You know about private number plates. But, do you know about centralized registration?

If you don’t know, this article will give you the overall information about centralized registration. It was by the 1960s that the registration system was starting to display solid signs of breakdown and strain. The main reason was the ever-increasing vehicles and the keepers’ portability.

Rules were there to transfer the logbook details from one location to another when the keepers moved to another place or they were selling their vehicles. Again, the rules made it simpler for any disqualified driver to make an application for a new license through a false declaration to any other location.

The system had a flaw and it could not get along with passing documents. Then, in the year 1965, the government planned to administer a new system centrally embracing automatic data processing. The decision declared that the location of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Center must be at Swansea. 81 Local vehicle Licensing Officers gave a green signal to the decision.

About the Center:

  • It has the record of a central vehicle.
  • It issues registration documents.
  • It issues licensing reminders.
  • It pays vehicle excise duty refunds.
  • It imposes pay of vehicle excise duty.
  • It provides details of vehicle registration to the police to make sure that the Police national computer is kept updated.

About local office network:

The Local Office Network was controlling the new and imported vehicles’ registration. Also, it took care of the issuance of vehicle licenses related to those particular motorized vehicles that not cared for by post offices. The rule was to attach the applications with insurance and certificates. The offices were supposed to execute local enforcement works and many related services which include arrangements of vehicle export licensing, cherished transfers, and trade registration plates.


There was a reduction in the number of local offices that were supposed to assist the centralized function. By the year 1985, only 53 offices remained. It was partially because of 3,000 post offices that got the authorization of undertaking the task of vehicle licensing. The post office used to take care of around 95% of all vehicles.


The local offices that can assign private number plates are called DVLA Local Office. This led to the introduction of procedures of automated first registration and licensing. It smoothened further decrease in size of the network. In 1997, only 40 offices remained.

The development of registration since centralization:

About registration number plates: The appearance of registration number plates changed in 1973 for the very first time since its introduction in the year 1903. The vehicle, since then, must carry reflective number plates from January 1. At the front of the car, it should be black on white. At the back of the car, it should be black on yellow. The reflective plates helped people and police to see any private number plate from a long distance and at night. The regulations also include changes in size, characters, and shape of registration marks.

Since 1974:

DVLC started providing registration and license to all new vehicles. The conversion of VE60 that is the old style logbook started entering the computer. It continued till 1983. The department was already encountering problems linked with the falsification of old-style logbooks and fake claims of getting unique registration marks. Hence, the continuing registration of old motor vehicles had to stop.

The full-stop of vehicle record:

The authorities launched publicity campaigns like advertising in the newspapers. Specific reports were showing up in special magazines. Circulation of information to vintage vehicle societies and clubs was there.

By the 1983’s November 30th, retaining of original mark registration was to become into effect. Over 2,00,000 motorists took the convenience of that particular opportunity. So, after that, the record vehicles could reclaim their original mark of registration only if they were able to display that they were either historical or rare.

About suffix registration:

The year 1983 experienced the suffix registration marks’ completion. At that time, the decision was taken that there must be an uncomplicated change that is the reversal of the distinct suffix format. Until 2001, prefix registrations lasted.

Introduction of ‘Q’ marks:

The introduction of the ‘Q’ marks took place simultaneously which were provided to vehicles that were of indeterminable age. This includes kit conversion vehicle, imported vehicle, etc. It was a vital step in safeguarding the used vehicle buyers. They used to get police assistance along with support from the motor trade.


Currently, people are focusing on the new 21 series of registration numbers. Many are booking private number plates containing a unique set of numbers and letters. But, everything is being done obeying the present law of the country.

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