Merseyside Council ‘aware’ of local taxi training providers supplying fraudulent qualifications

Fake qualifications submitted for taxi licences are on the rise in Merseyside according to Sefton Council.

The Council also added that it is “aware of training providers in the Northwest that provide fraudulent certificates”.

In a report made by the north Merseyside licensing authority, it recommends the council’s licensing committee only accepts “certificates from Council approved accredited training providers whilst making the knowledge test deliverable by said training providers”.

The reasons given for the new proposal follow recent revelations of fraudulent training providers issuing relevant private hire and taxi certificates on behalf of drivers for a fee without those drivers receiving any training.

According to the report, 'the Council has also seen an increase in counterfeit certificates being submitted'.

The proposals have been discussed with taxi trade representatives in Sefton, who all agree with the proposals.

In November 2019, the BBC aired an investigation into private hire vehicle drivers in London fraudulently obtaining licences. The programme, Inside Out, revealed hundreds of minicab drivers working fraudulently after purchasing the required qualifications to become a private hire driver.

Researchers on the show were seen to buy qualifications at one east London college, Vista Training Solutions, which included BTecs, for fees of £500.

Transport for London (TfL) conducted an urgent review into the claims made against colleges offering the BTEC qualifications.

If the proposals put forward to Sefton Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee are accepted, drivers in Sefton can expect two licensing changes.

These include:

  • Qualifications for new drivers only to be accepted from Council approved accredited training providers

  • Council approved accredited training providers will become authorised to conduct knowledge tests as part of the final stage of driver training.

As part of the ‘fit and proper’ checks that all drivers must undertake (medical, DBS, DVLA, knowledge test & VRQ) the ‘Level 2 Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver’ VRQ qualification is currently accepted from any training provider.

Image credit: ReptOn1x (Wiki Commons) CC2.0

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