People in Leicester are being given the chance to comment on proposed changes to the rules and procedures for licensing local taxi drivers.
Leicester City Council is reviewing its existing licensing policy for taxi drivers to bring it up to date. This includes proposals to refer to new guidance from the Institute of Licensing that aims to promote a national standard for the suitability of applicants and licencees in the taxi trade.
This will mean changes to the pre-licensing requirements that must be met before an applicant can be considered ‘fit and proper’ to be granted a licence.
The city council is proposing a dedicated service to undertake medical checks on taxi drivers. The council say this would help standardise costs and help reduce waiting lists.
Existing vehicle-based tests to establish applicants’ knowledge of the streets and places in Leicester could be replaced with computer testing under the proposed changes, and all taxi drivers would be expected to have up-to-date sat-nav equipment in their vehicles.
The city council is also proposing to sign up to a new national database of drivers who have been refused a licence or who have had a licence revoked. This will allow licensing authorities to share information and help prevent applicants from reapplying in another area without declaring this information.
It is also planning to make Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) training a pre-licensing requirement.
Other proposed changes include the way criminal record checks are renewed, and how English assessments are carried out.
In addition to the proposed changes to policy, the city council is also planning to bring the whole process, including renewal of existing licences, online to help make the process easier for applicants.
Deputy City Mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair, who leads on licensing and regulatory services, said: “We are looking at how we can improve our approach to taxi licensing to make the process quicker and more efficient for applicants while still ensuring that public protection is at the heart of the process.
“We have identified a number of areas that could be changed and improved to bring our current licensing policy in line with new national guidance. It is important that we invite views from Hackney and private hire drivers, other authorities and the public as we look to update and improve our approach to taxi licensing.”
The consultation runs until 17 November. To take part, visit consultations.leicester.gov.uk
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