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ADCU condemns West Northamptonshire Council for proposed ‘Good Conduct Certificate’ rule tightening

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

Image credit: ADCU

The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) has condemned West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) for proposing to tighten the rules around good conduct certification for foreign nationals applying to become taxi and minicab drivers.

The council has opened a consultation on the proposed new rules which remains open until 26 March 2023.

All taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) driver applicants, both new and on renewal, are required to provide an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check with a check of both the Adult and Children Barred Lists, at their own expense.

Once a licence has been granted, all licensees will also be required to subscribe to the DBS Update Service.

In the new WNC taxi and PHV draft policy, the council are proposing that applicants who are foreign nationals, and have not lived continuously in the UK for more than 5 years since the age of 18, must obtain and produce a certificate of good conduct. The certificate must be authenticated by the relevant embassy for each and every country in which they have resided for more than 3 months from the age of 18 until arrival in the UK.

The ADCU claim the new proposed policy unfairly targets the industry’s minority and migrant worker demographic. Representatives are concerned that the changes will unfairly single out migrant workers or those who have close family ties abroad especially in the South Asia region.

The union is also concerned that the draft policy fails to impose a requirement on licensed operators to obey employment and taxation law as a condition of licensing.

As a result the ADCU Northampton members have called a demonstration against the Council on 23 February.

Shafqat Shah, Northampton Chair of ADCU, said: “The council’s proposed new rules for our trade are ill thought out and represents a missed once in a generation opportunity to markedly improve safety and quality of the trade for drivers and passengers. Instead of focusing on what matters most for the future of the trade, the council appears to instead have made it a priority to shield bad minicab bosses from worker rights claims while putting safety on the back burner.”

Yaseen Aslam, ADCU President, said: “It is sad and disappointing that the council has chosen to indulge in racism and prejudice in the formulation of these new rules.

“For generations, migrant workers and ethnic minorities have worked hard to keep Northampton residents moving safely and reliably in good times and bad. For generations, the council has also knowingly presided over a trade which generates massive profits from workplace discrimination, exploitation and tax evasion.

“It is morally offensive that predominately migrant and ethnic minority minicab drivers must now face disproportionately invasive and punishing scrutiny yet continue to lack even any meaningful protection and respect for their own rights from the Council.”

Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services, responded to the claims saying: “The key purpose of this new draft policy is to keep passengers in private hire vehicles and taxis safe.

“A huge amount of work has gone into devising an approach which levels the playing field for drivers and operators across West Northamptonshire. “We engaged with drivers and operators as part of the process, and this is now out for consultation, which is the most appropriate route for anyone to offer their views and suggestions.

“The Licensing Team are more than happy to speak with any further taxi and private hire drivers and operators, and representatives acting on their behalf as part of the consultation process, and we would urge them to contact us to make arrangements for that.”


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