Coronavirus - Information for taxi drivers

What about taxis that are licensed by the Council?

The use of taxis and movements of people is and will decline significantly during the current coronavirus pandemic. For those in operation, who continue to provide an important service for many, taxi and private hire drivers will follow national guidance. They are encouraged to follow these simple and sensible steps at all times and particularly in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus:

· Always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes

· Dispose of used tissues in the bin as soon as possible

· Wash hands with soap and water, or use sanitiser gel, to kill germs

We would also encourage licensees to take sensible and routine precautionary measures such a cleaning surfaces regularly with sanitising wipes or spray to get rid of germs. Taxi drivers should consider regularly cleaning card payment devices. Licensees who share a taxi or private hire vehicle should consider regularly cleaning the steering wheel and instruments.

Update (18 November): The government has published guidance for the taxi and private hire vehicle sector to encourage drivers and passengers to travel safely.

Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-taxis-and-phvs

Alongside this, the Government has also published specific assets which can be used by stakeholders to download and promote key messages from it.

Materials: https://extranet.dft.gov.uk/safer-transport-campaign/resources-for-taxi-phv/

Taxi and Private Hire Licensing

The basic difference between the two types of vehicle is that Hackney Carriages can be 'flagged down' off the street or on a rank and private hire vehicles must be pre-booked through an operator.

Licensing provides a visible assurance to the public that the vehicle has been checked for safety and that the driver has been checked medically, and is a fit and proper person to hold a licence. Drivers take a knowledge test, ability test,  have a Group 2 DVLA standard medical and have a DBS check (previously CRB) undertaken on them before their licence is issued.

The driver’s licence issued by the Council entitles the holder to drive both private hire vehicles and Hackney Carriages. The Council licence Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles, as well as Private Hire Operators.

Applying for a licence

Once you have read all the information in the licensing policy document and are satisfied that you meet the necessary criteria, the application forms and fee information is available to download from our website.

When you have completed the application form, you will need to make an appointment with the Licensing team. Appointments are available on a Tuesday and Thursday between the hours of 10:00 and 12:00 and 14:00 and 16:00. Please call 01636 655280/655894 to make an appointment. A driver’s application can take approximately 6-8 weeks.

All applicants are required to complete and pay the appropriate fee for an enhanced Disclosure Service and Barring check (previously CRB) on first application and every 12 months thereafter. Applicants are required to join the DBS update service once the DBS application has been made to enable us to carry out an annual online check.

Applicants are required to satisfy the identification requirements in order to obtain an enhanced DBS as outlined here DBS evidence criteria (PDF File, 80kb) Applicants who have previously been known as a different name are required to provide evidence of this name change. Applicants will also need to provide their national insurance number.

Any DBS certificate submitted in support of an application shall not be accepted if it is more than three months older than the date the certificate was issued and must be for the position applied for 'other workforce, taxi driver'.

Where an applicant has resided in the UK since their 10th birthday or has spent a period of 3 months or more as a non-resident, the Authority will require a certificate of good conduct authenticated by the relevant embassy of that country of residence and a translated copy, provided at the applicant's own expense, in addition to the enhanced DBS check. Further information on Certificates of Good Conduct is available on the GOV.UK website.

Applicants are required to pass a medical examination of Group II standards. Medical examinations must be conducted by the Council’s independent medical advisor. In exceptional circumstances, the applicant may use their own general practitioner or medical practice. In these cases the applicant must provide evidence as to why this should be permitted. The Council’s independent medical advisor is MC Occupational Health in Colwick, Nottingham.

Drivers aged 45 or over will require an examination every 3 years thereafter until aged 65 years. Drivers aged 65 or over or those drivers with a specified medical condition will be required to have examinations on an annual basis (or as specified by the medical practitioner). 

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) checks and references are also taken.

A knowledge test (Knowledge Test info sheet (PDF File, 628kb)and driving ability test are also carried out.

If satisfied, from the information available, that the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a licence, the Licensing Officer has delegated power to grant the application and issue a three year licence. 

If the Authority is not satisfied, from the information available, that the applicant should be granted a licence, the matter will be referred to the General Purposes Committee for a hearing.

Right to work in the UK

Following the implementation of the relevant section of the Immigration Act 2016, Newark & Sherwood District Council is required to conduct checks to ascertain that an applicant is not disqualified by their immigration status from holding a Private Hire or Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence. 

If you have time-limited permission to be in the UK and work, the check must be repeated at each subsequent application to renew or extend the licence until such time as you are able to demonstrate that you are entitled to remain indefinitely in the UK, without restriction on your ability to work.

The documents referred to in the list of acceptable documents (see below) will indicate whether you have temporary permission to be in the UK or if you are entitled to remain indefinitely in the UK.

Newark & Sherwood  District Council must be satisfied you are not disqualified from holding a licence before we issue you with a licence.

Right to work in the UK (PDF File, 112kb)

Drivers licence renewal

A renewal form will be sent to your recorded address. (Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure your licence is renewed before it expires).

All drivers must be enhanced DBS checked every year with effect from 1 October 2015 on renewal. Applicants are required to join the DBS update service once the DBS application has been made to enable an annual on-line check to be carried out by us.

Please note, it is the drivers' responsibility to ensure that an annual DBS check is recorded with the Licensing office, as failure to do so will result in the suspension of the licence until such time as a DBS check is carried out.

Drivers requiring a medical, must use the Council’s independent medical advisor. In exceptional circumstances, the applicant may request in writing to use their own general practitioner or medical practice. In these cases the applicant must provide evidence as to why this should be permitted. The Council’s independent medical advisor is MC Occupational Health in Colwick, Nottingham.

Once a driver's licence has expired it cannot be renewed. The legislation requires late applicants whose licence has expired go through the 'new licence' process.

Registers for licensed drivers and vehicles are kept in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and the Town Police Clause Act 1847. These registers are available at the council offices for public inspection. If you are interested in viewing this information please contact us.

Safeguarding training

Following the report into child sex exploitation in Rotherham, the role of taxi drivers has been in the public eye.  Sometimes, taxi drivers are the eyes and ears of the community due to the unique role they have in transporting and engaging with children, vulnerable adults and their carers.  Because of this, we feel it is important that taxi drivers understand how to raise concerns about vulnerable children and adults.

After lengthy discussions, the councils in Nottinghamshire are introducing compulsory training for taxi drivers and operators on the very important subject of safeguarding, particularly around vulnerable young people.  This means that our drivers and operators are now required to undergo our Safeguarding Vulnerable Passenger training as a condition of their licence and/or the application process.  

There is no cost for the training held at NSDC.  All drivers are required to attend one of the courses within one year of the condition being introduced.  Failure to attend the course will result in your badge either not being renewed or being revoked or suspended.

Drivers may attend a course being held at another Council. Please note that some Councils are charging a fee ranging between £25 and £38.

For further information, please call the Licensing team on 01636 655280 / 655894.

National Register of Taxi Licence Refusals and Revocations (NR3)

The Local Government Association (LGA), the representative body for local councils, has commissioned a new National Register of Taxi Licence Refusals and Revocations (NR3). The register will be hosted by the National Anti-Fraud Network (NAFN). The intention of this is to prevent drivers who have had a hackney carriage or PHV licence revoked or an application for one refused, going to another authority to dishonestly secure a licence by failing to disclose their previous licensing history.

Instances of drivers doing this in the past have undermined public confidence in the hackney carriage and PHV trade and licensing authorities. The purpose of the NR3 initiative is therefore to provide a mechanism for licensing authorities to share details of individuals who have had a hackney carriage or PHV licence revoked or an application for one refused. The development of NR3 has been welcomed by all sections of the taxi trade, safety groups and charities, the Department for Transport and by licensing authorities.

From 4th January 2021, this authority will begin using the NR3. This means that from that point:
• Applications for new hackney carriage/PHV licences and for renewals will be
checked on the NR3.
• Where an existing licence is revoked or an application for renewal or a new
licence is refused, this will be recorded on NR3.

This authority, and other licensing authorities, will also be adding historic information on refusals and revocations of licences to the register. Historic data will not go back beyond the retention period of 25 years. Any relevant data entered onto NR3 which relates to existing licence holders may be considered as part of future renewal processes.

The information recorded on NR3 will be limited to:
• name
• date of birth
• address and contact details
• national insurance number
• driving licence number
• decision taken
• the date of the decision
• the date decision was effective

Information will be retained on NR3 for 25 years.

Where an applicant’s details are flagged on NR3 during a search, this will be followed up separately between the authorities. Any such request in relation to your record will be responded to in accordance with the authority’s published policy.

Licensing authorities will still be required to consider each application on its own merits, but the introduction of NR3 will help ensure that they are able to do so on the basis of all the information that is relevant to an application.

All data processing and sharing undertaken by this authority on the NR3, and with individual authorities in regard to entries on the NR3 will be undertaken in accordance with the Data Protection Act (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The legal basis for processing this information is that it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the licensing authority – that is, assessing whether an individual is a fit and proper person to hold a hackney carriage or PHV licence. It is not intended that any NR3 data will be transferred out of the United Kingdom.

If you wish to raise any issue related to the data protection legislation, including by relying on any of the rights afforded to data subjects under the GDPR, you can do so to the authority’s Data Protection Officer at freedom@nsdc.info

You always have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

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