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Drivers: Licensing New Drivers and Renewing an Existing Licence

As Licensing Authorities Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council have responsibility for the administration and enforcement of taxi legislation within their areas. Both Councils' primary function is protection of the public whilst providing individuals and businesses with the relevant licences and permits necessary to carry out a legitimate business. Licensing is the tool used by Government to ensure the safety of the public and enforce standards.

The law requires that the councils only issue licences to individuals that are deemed 'fit and proper'. The councils will only issue a hackney carriage or private hire drivers licence to an individual that has met this criteria.

First time applicants

To apply for a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Driver's Licence for the first time you must:

  • Have held a full GB or Northern Ireland driving licence (or a full EU driving licence) for at least 12 months
  • Have the right to work legally in the UK
  • Be a 'fit and proper person' - which means your background and character will be checked. The council will carry out an enhanced criminal records check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

You will also need:

  • A medical examination
  • Pass the 'knowledge' test
  • Pass a driving assessment

A licence will only be issued if you have met all the requirements.

Please note that Adur & Worthing Councils are required by law to protect the public funds they administer. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

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Making an application

Guidance to becoming a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire driver:

Hackney Carriage & Private Hire driver's Licence Application Form:

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Disability Awareness Training

Taxi drivers and private hire drivers take thousands of fares in any one year. Potentially hundreds of those people have some form of disability - many of which are hidden. Disability isn't all about wheelchairs - in fact wheelchair users make up just 5% of the disabled population.

The Disability Awareness Training for taxi and private hire drivers gives an excellent introduction to an area where drivers may feel uncomfortable and uncertain but overwhelmingly want to get things right. The aim of this training is to help drivers to be more confident in their day-to-day dealings with disabled people and able to provide a better service to a significant proportion of passengers.

Both Adur & Worthing Councils require that all new applicants complete and pass disability awareness training. This is an online course and is available from the:

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Child Sexual Exploitation Training

Taxi drivers are out and about at all times of the day and night. They are at train stations, bars, private addresses, hotels; they are the eyes and ears of our towns. Drivers are uniquely placed to spot and report suspicious activities. This training gives drivers an insight into the signs to look for and how to report their suspicions.

The training programme has been put together by the Councils and aims to give drivers the tools to make the whole community safer. Over 80% of Adur and Worthing's drivers have now been on the course.

All new applicants for licences in Adur and Worthing must attend the course and this is booked through the taxi licensing team.

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Immigration Act 2016

The Immigration Act 2016 came into force from 1st December 2016. A duty is placed on the Councils to carry out face to face checks will all licence applicants to ensure that licences are not issued to persons who do not have the correct 'right to work' documentation.

The new legislation relates to Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Drivers and Private Hire Operators. In addition we will continue to review all applications for licensed vehicle proprietors to ensure that they have the right to work (be self-employed) within the industry.

What will this mean?

All applicants, whether they are new or renewing a licence, will be invited to bring original documents as required by the Home Office, see what documents are required, to an application appointment where an officer from the Licensing Unit will check the documents to ensure:

  • photographs and dates of birth are consistent across documents and with the person's appearance in order to detect impersonations;
  • expiry dates for permission to be in the UK have not passed;
  • any work restrictions to determine if the applicant is prohibited from holding a licence;
  • documents are genuine, have not been tampered with and belong to the holder; and
  • reasons for any difference in names across documents (e.g. original marriage certificate, divorce decree absolute, deed poll), these supporting documents should also be photocopied and a copy retained by us

The officer will then take a copy of the documents produced and they will be retained by us.

Where there are 'No restrictions' on right to work in the UK, once we have processed the necessary checks, we will not have to repeat these checks on subsequent renewal applications, or licence extensions.

Where there are restrictions on right to work in the UK, a licence will only be issued (subject to statutory limitations) up to the expiry date of the permission to work. We will then check the immigration status each time an application is made.

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DBS checks for taxi drivers (Disclosure and Barring Service)

If you drive a taxi or are applying to become a taxi or private hire driver you need to understand the rules around DBS checks for taxi drivers. DBS checks help determine whether a driver is suitable to transport the public, and help ensure the safety of passengers.

In Adur & Worthing all taxi and private hire vehicle drivers require an enhanced DBS check. This helps minimise to risk to the public and provides reassurance to passengers.

Drivers will then be required to periodically undergo a new enhanced DBS check. The length of time between checks is usually every three years but drivers may be requested to supply a new certificate at any time.

What is an enhanced DBS check?

An enhanced DBS check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings the applicant has. It will also show any information held by local police that can reasonably be considered relevant to the role.

The Licensing Authorities will use the information revealed by the check to make a decision on whether the applicant is 'fit & proper' and suitable to be a taxi driver.

Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that convictions and cautions that would usually be considered spent can be taken into account by councils when making licensing decisions.

Will a criminal record prevent me from being a taxi driver?

A person with a criminal conviction will not automatically be unable to obtain a taxi driver licence. Whether a licensing authority deems the applicant suitable will depend on the nature and severity of any offences committed.

How do I obtain a DBS check?

Individuals cannot apply for DBS checks on themselves. If you’re a self-employed driver, you’ll need to contact your local council to apply for a licence to drive a taxi or private hire vehicle. As part of the licensing process, the licensing authority will carry out an enhanced DBS check.

Before the DBS can process an applicant he or she must have read the DBS privacy policy and then sign to declare they have read and understood the policy. If they do not sign then the application cannot be processed. If an existing driver does not comply then this would become an enforcement referral.

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