Banned taxi drivers won’t be able to lie about their past in Redcar and Cleveland if the council signs up to a new National Register.
Next week, Redcar and Cleveland Council‘s Regulatory Committee will decide whether to sign up to a National Register for Taxi Licence Refusals and Revocations as part of a new council policy on taxi and private hire drivers.
The National Register would allow councils to find out if a driver has ever been banned or refused a licence in another part of the country.
At present, councils rely on drivers being honest about any previous revoked licences or application refusals.
A committee report, published this week, said this had led to cases in which previously banned drivers had been granted new licences.
The report said: “Currently, local authorities rely on the applicant disclosing information about previous revocations or refusals. There is no way for the local authority to find out this information.
“This means that vital information about an applicant’s past behaviour is being missed and there are instances when this has happened.
“Adopting the national register will promote public safety by ensuring that authorities have as much relevant information as possible to assist in the determination of the applicant’s fit and proper status.”
If approved, as of January 1 next year, new and renewal applications for driver licences will be checked against the register.
Where an existing licence is revoked or an application is refused, this will be recorded on the register.
The report said: “The Local Government Association has commissioned the development of a new National Register of Taxi Licence Refusals and Revocations.
“The purpose of the register is to provide a mechanism for licensing authorities to share information about individuals who have had a hackney carriage or a private hire licence revoked or an application for one refused.
“This will prevent such drivers from going to another authority to dishonestly secure a licence by failing to disclose their previous licensing history.”
In addition, under Redcar and Cleveland’s draft policy, all drivers of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles in Redcar and Cleveland would sit a council approved safeguarding and child sexual exploitation awareness course.
“New drivers must provide evidence of passing the course before a licence is granted,” the draft policy says.
“All existing drivers must provide evidence of passing the course within 18 months of the publication of this policy.”
On Thursday, at a meeting of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Cllr Craig Hannaway, cabinet member for children, said all taxi drivers in Redcar and Cleveland had completed an E-Learning course on awareness of safeguarding and child sexual exploitation.
“It is a great achievement and credit to the drivers that all taxi drivers licensed with Redcar and Cleveland have now completed the E-Learning,” he said.
The Regulatory Committee meets on Thursday November 29 to discuss the draft policy.