York councillors have approved a measure which will see “vital intelligence” used to protect passengers from rogue taxi drivers.
City of York Council is to sign up to a register which allows the council to see if taxi and private hire drivers have had licence applications refused or revoked in other council areas.
Using the national register of taxi and private hire licence revocations and refusals – or NR3 – will also allow the council to share when it has taken such action.
Currently, potential drivers are asked to self-verify that they have not had a driver’s licence refused or revoked by another authority.
Checks are already in place to find out whether applicants have previous convictions or other warnings as part of the vetting process.
The Department for Transport currently recommends that councils use NR3, but its use is expected to become a legal requirement.
Councillors on the licensing and regulatory committee were asked if they wanted to sign up to using the register straight away or to undertake a consultation process to gather views.
‘Forget the consultation’
Cllr John Galvin said: “This requirement is needed. Consult as long as you like, but this is pretty serious stuff and I have no hesitation in saying ‘forget the consultation’ – it’s up to us to protect the passengers in taxis and private hire.”
Cllr Rachel Melley added: “It’s important for the protection of the public in York, but it’s also important data sharing for the protection of the public in other areas of the country as well. We need to work across borders and this in an important part of that.
“We need as much information and evidence as possible available to us when deciding whether someone is fit and proper.”
According to the Local Government Association, which commissioned the National Anti-Fraud Network to develop and host the register, not having its capabilities means that “vital intelligence about an applicant’s past behaviour is being missed and an individual might be able to get a new licence in another area, despite having their licence taken away elsewhere.”
Council officers said that, if a licence had been refused or revoked elsewhere, it would not necessarily mean the same would happen in York.
A council officer said: “It is one of the many factors that we consider in relation to suitability of an applicant.”