Regulation: Taxi Licensing Handbooks, Legislation, Enforcement & Complaints

Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council issue Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licences subject to specific conditions that are placed on them to ensure public safety and acceptable standards. Public Safety being both authorities' overriding concern.

The Councils place a number of conditions on the licences they issue that reflect the character of the District and Borough and the needs of the local population. The authorities' handbooks set out the principles each Council will apply when carrying out its hackney carriage and private hire licensing functions. They act as a guide to drivers, vehicle owners, operators, officers and the councillors involved in the trade.


Adur District & Worthing Borough Councils' Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing Handbooks 

Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council publish Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Handbooks that provide the framework for members' and officers' decision making on applications for Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licences in each area.

These Handbooks are 'living documents' and will continue to be regularly updated to reflect legislation and good practice. To ensure the handbooks are reflections of good practice they need to be regularly reviewed and both Licensing Authorities have just completed formally reviewing their handbooks, which included consultation of the public, responsible authorities and stakeholders. Both Council's would like to thank all those that took the time to read the handbooks and make a written contribution. All written comments were presented to the respective Licensing Committees and new amended handbooks approved by the respective Committees.

Adur District Council's Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Handbook:

Worthing Borough Council's Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Handbook:

Due to the exceptional circumstances being experienced currently with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19) the councils have put in emergency measures to assist hackney carriage and private hire drivers & vehicle proprietors. 

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Formal Procedures

Taxi Tariff Increase Procedure:

Guide to Acceptable Right to Work Documents:

Guide to Taxi Licensing Service Complaints:

Guide to Taxi Handbook Review Consultation:

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Compliance and Enforcement

Public Health & Regulation's Taxi Licensing Team aims to maintain high industry standards by working with the police and other bodies to improve passenger safety, and to support legitimate and law abiding taxi and private hire drivers and operators.

To do this, we use a wide range of covert and high visibility tactics to deter, disrupt, and enforce against illegal and non-compliant drivers, vehicles and operators.

The team aims to educate the public on the dangers of using un-booked minicabs. Alongside targeting touts, fraudulent and unlicensed drivers, and sexual predators - all of whom pose risks to the travelling public.

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Reporting illegal activity

To help us in tasking and deploying compliance officers, and investigating allegations of non-compliance and illegal activity, we depend on information and intelligence from other authorities, the public, taxi and private hire drivers. We are grateful for all information received.

You can send us reports of illegal or non-compliant taxi and private hire-related activity using Adur & Worthing Councils' dedicated Complaint Portal with the following information:

  • The nature of the offence
  • Date, time and location
  • Vehicle registration number
  • A photo, if you're using email

What to report:

There are many types of reports we find useful. These include:

  • Touting or unlawful plying for hire
  • Unlicensed drivers or vehicles being allocated a booking by an operator
  • Accessibility complaint including refusal to pick up an assistance dog or wheelchair
  • Damaged, missing or fake identifiers
  • Illegal advertising
  • Misuse of the words taxi or cab in private hire advertising (Section 31 offence)
  • Poor vehicle condition (including as a result of a road traffic incident)
  • Smoking in a licensed vehicle

We use these reports to help determine what our compliance officers do. For example, after investigating received reports, officers may be deployed to places where problems have been reported. If the report is against a licence holder, a note may be made on their record regarding the issue and may be taken into consideration when their licence is up for review. In some cases, if the report is sufficiently detailed and conclusive and there is evidence of the offence, we may be able to take action purely on the basis of information submitted and issue a sanction.

We cannot give feedback on each report submitted. This is because while matters are being investigated the subject is protected, by law. You may be contacted to provide a witness statement as part of gathering evidence.

Road traffic offences and criminal allegations such as assault (including sexual or racially-motivated assault) should always be referred to Sussex Police in the first instance. The police will notify us if a licensed driver is involved so that we can take appropriate action and we can support investigations.

Unsafe driving should be reported to Sussex Police and to report a crime to the police that has already taken place, call 101 or in an emergency phone 999.

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Operation Crackdown

Operation Crackdown is a joint initiative run by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and Sussex Police which gives the Sussex community an opportunity to report specific instances of anti-social driving/riding as well as any abandoned vehicles left on the roads.

What constitutes as anti-social driving?

The phrase 'anti-social driving/riding' can cover many different behaviours on the road which may include:

  • Speeding by individuals
  • Using a mobile phone at the wheel
  • Not wearing a seat belt
  • Careless/aggressive driving

It is important to note that Operation Crackdown should NOT be used for emergency situations (such as obvious drink-driving) - these should be reported via the 999 emergency number.

The project also targets specific instances of antisocial behaviour, and should not be used for reporting generalised speeding complaints in an area. If you wish to comment on specific roads or areas, you should contact your local highway authority with all of the details and one of the team will look into it as soon as possible.

How can you report anti-social driving/riding?

You can report anti-social driving/riding on the Operation Crackdown website.

Alternatively, you can call 01243 642222 during office hours to speak to an operator.

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Public Health & Regulation Enforcement

The Public Health & Regulation's Licensing Team, in addition to the provision of hackney carriage and private hire transport licences, administers and determines applications for licences, permits and registrations required by individuals and business to authorise the provision of licensable activities on behalf of the councils. Including such activities as the supply and sale of alcohol, provision of regulated entertainment, sale of late night refreshment, gambling & lotteries, street trading, sex establishments, animal licensing, scrap metal dealers and charitable collections.

Officers investigate any possible breaches of licensing legislation taking the appropriate enforcement action to ensure compliance with that legislation and the terms of individual licences and permits.

This document details the process all officers will use when deciding what action to take when carrying out their statutory duties on behalf of the Public Health & Regulation (PH&R) team. It should be read in association with the documents referred to within it.

Public Health & Regulation Enforcement Policy:

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Page last updated: 23 November 2020