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TAXI TRADE: What are Certificates of Good Conduct?

DBS Checks are a standard part of applying for a taxi or private hire licence. But in some situations, you might also be asked to provide a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’. Certificates of Good Conduct are used alongside DBS Checks to make sure that licensing authorities have all the information they need to make safe licensing decisions.

What is a Certificate of Good Conduct?

A Certificate of Good Conduct is basically a kind of letter or certificate from an overseas authority confirming a part or all of your criminal record history. They are sometimes called different things. Some of the more common names for these certificates are:

  • Certificate of Good Standing

  • Police Clearance Certificate

  • Letter of Good Conduct

  • Certificate of No Criminal Record.

These certificates are usually equivalent to a Basic DBS Check but can sometimes go into more detail.

Why Would I Need a Certificate of Good Conduct?

DBS Checks only check against UK records. This means that if someone has committed crimes overseas, a DBS Check will not reveal this information. Most licensing authorities state that if you have not lived in the UK for at least 5 years, or have lived overseas for longer than three months within the past 5 years, they need to see a Certificate of Good Conduct.

Licensing authorities have a statutory responsibility to make sure anyone that wants to become a taxi or private hire driver is ‘fit and proper’. The fit and proper test is a tool used in several regulated industries to make sure that only suitable individuals are employed to do certain jobs. A big part of this is carrying out a criminal record check. A Certificate of Good Conduct gives them the information they need about any potential criminal activity committed abroad.

How Do I Get a Certificate of Good Conduct?

The process for getting a Certificate of Good Conduct depends on where you have lived abroad. The process generally involves applying to the relevant country’s embassy online for a certificate and providing them with some personal documentation.

The Home Office have a complete list of how to apply for every country internationally. You can find the guidance here.

What Do I Do Once I Have My Certificate?

This also depends on the licensing authority where you are applying for your taxi badge. Some councils will not let you apply for your taxi or private hire licence until they have seen a copy of your Certificate of Good Conduct.

If you have lived outside the UK in the last 5 years or spent longer than 3 months in any other country, contact your licensing authority before beginning any application. You could end up wasting money if you don’t.

Rules for Asylum Seekers

If you were given asylum or refugee status then you may not need to get a Certificate of Good Conduct. Licensing authorities usually have specific guidance for refugees and asylum seekers. If you hold either of these statuses, contact your licensing authority before applying for your badge as you may need to provide other additional documentation to support your application.

For a frank and unbiased discussion of industry news, you can also check out ‘What Time You On ‘Til?’ podcast, available on all major platforms.


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