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Mandatory safeguarding training for Worcester's taxi drivers proposed

The Worcester City Council, in collaboration with the Worcestershire Regulatory Services, has laid out a proposal for mandatory safeguarding training for all licensed hackney carriage and private hire drivers.

This initiative, aimed at bolstering community safety, calls for a 12-week public consultation to garner feedback on the proposal, with results to be discussed in September 2024.

This move is largely inspired by national guidelines issued under the Policing and Crime Act 2017, following the concerning findings of the Jay and Casey reports on child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. The proposed mandatory training aims to equip drivers with the necessary skills to identify and protect vulnerable individuals from harm, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

The council introduced a 'Competency Certificate' in September 2022, mandatory for all new drivers, which includes training on safeguarding among other essential skills. However, existing licence holders have only been encouraged to undergo safeguarding training voluntarily, leading to inconsistencies in the level of awareness and preparedness among drivers. The proposed policy seeks to rectify this by making safeguarding training compulsory for all drivers, with renewals contingent upon the completion of this training.

Research conducted by the council indicates a positive response to the competency certificate among drivers, with high pass rates and minimal retakes. Feedback suggests that the training has been beneficial in enhancing drivers' knowledge and awareness of critical issues. The council believes extending this training to all drivers will standardise knowledge levels and significantly contribute to community safety.

The proposal suggests a small fee of approximately £20 for the training, aimed at covering costs without imposing a significant financial burden on drivers.

The initiative is part of Worcester City Council's broader commitment to creating a safer, more inclusive community. By strengthening the safeguarding practices within the taxi licensing system, the council aims to enhance the protection of children, young people, and vulnerable adults, thereby contributing to the overall safety and wellbeing of the community.


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