GUIDANCE NOTES FOR PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGE / PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER S LICENCE (21 February 2014 edition)

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1 St Helens Council GUIDANCE NOTES FOR PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGE / PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER S LICENCE (21 February 2014 edition) As approved by Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee 24 November 2010 and updated on 25 July INTRODUCTION Any applicant for a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver s Licence must satisfy the Local Authority regarding his/her medical fitness, honesty and integrity and fitness to drive. DETAILS OF CONVICTIONS You must disclose all convictions (including motoring convictions), fixed penalties, Police cautions, warnings and reprimands. You must disclose if you are on Police bail pending the outcome of a Police investigation or whether any criminal proceedings in the Magistrates Court or Crown Court have been commenced against you. You must also let us know if you have had any anti-social behaviour order (or any other order made by a court) issued against you, including offences dealt with by means of restorative justice You must also declare any penalty points that still appear on your DVLA driving licence. THE WITHHOLDING OF INFORMATION OR THE SUBMISSION OF FALSE INFORMATION MAY LEAD TO PROSECUTION. Under the provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, a Local Authority shall not grant a licence to drive a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire vehicle: Unless they are satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a driver s licence; or to any person who has not been, for at least twelve months and is not at the date of the application, the holder of a full DVLA licence. 2. GUIDANCE REGARDING DISCLOSURE OF CONVICTIONS/OFFENCES (A) MOTORING CONVICTIONS/OFFENCES - where a disqualification imposed: A person will generally be disqualified from holding a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers Licence for a period of four years after the completion of any disqualification period which might have applied to that person following a conviction/offence for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

2 (B) MOTORING CONVICTIONS/OFFENCES - other serious offences: A person will generally be disqualified from holding a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver s Licence during the period when he or she is required to disclose any of the Live endorsements on the DVLA licence described in the table at Section 7 below. (C) MOTORING CONVICTIONS/OFFENCES - minor offences: The Licensing and Land Charges Manager will at his discretion refer any application in which minor motoring offences have been disclosed to the Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee for consideration if there is any concern about the applicant s suitability. However it should be noted that if an applicant has nine points on his/her DVLA licence relating to minor offences not included in the table the application will automatically be referred to the Committee for consideration. (D) DRUGS An applicant with a conviction/offence for a drug related offence should generally be required to show a period of at least five years free from the date of the offence, conviction or completion of any custodial sentence whichever is the latter. Consequently during such period a person will generally be excluded from holding a hackney carriage/private hire drivers licence. If there is evidence of persistent drug use or dependency a specialist medical examination or a drug test may be required at the applicant s expense. If an applicant is shown to have been a drug addict then he/she will normally be required to show evidence of seven years free from drug taking after detoxification treatment. (E) SEXUAL AND INDECENCY OFFENCES A Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver often carries unaccompanied and vulnerable passengers. Unless there are exceptional circumstances applicants with convictions for indecent exposure, indecent assault, importuning or any sexual offence will generally be precluded from holding a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers Licence until they can show a substantial period free of such offences, at least ten years from the date of conviction or completion of any custodial sentence imposed whichever is the latter. It is extremely unlikely that a licence will be granted to any applicant who in on the Sex Offenders Register. (F) VIOLENCE As Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver s maintain close contact with the public, the Council takes a serious view of any conviction for grievous bodily harm, wounding or assault. Generally, a person will be precluded from holding a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers Licence for a period of at least five years from the date of conviction/offence for such offence or the completion of any custodial sentence whichever is the latter. Given that the range of offences that involve violence the council will consider each case very carefully. (G) DISHONESTY Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers are expected to be persons of trust and the Council will view seriously any conviction involving dishonesty. Generally, a person will be precluded from holding a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers Licence for a period of at least three years from the date of conviction/offence for such an offence.

3 Offences of dishonesty include:- Theft Fraud Handling or receiving stolen goods Conspiracy to defraud Taking a vehicle without consent Burglary Benefit fraud Forgery Obtaining property by deception (H) PUBLIC ORDER OFFENCES A person will generally be precluded from holding a hackney carriage/private hire drivers licence for a period of three years from the date of conviction/offence or completion of any custodial sentence for public order offences such as affray, criminal damage, drunk and disorderly etc. (I) POSSESSION OF AN OFFENSIVE WEAPON A person will generally be precluded from holding a hackney carriage/private hire drivers licence for a period of three years from the date of conviction/offence or completion of any custodial sentence for an offence of possession of an offensive weapon. (J) HACKNEY/PRIVATE HIRE OFFENCES The main purpose of the licensing regime is to ensure the protection of the public. Consequently, any new applicant (who has a live conviction/offences) or any existing licence holder who is convicted for an offence (during the currency of his/her licence) can expect the application/licence to be referred to Committee for consideration. For this purpose hackney/private hire offences means offences under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 or the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (K) EXISTING DRIVERS REPORTING OF CONVICTIONS/OFFENCES Current licence holders should note the following:- If any licence holder fails to report convictions or fixed penalty notices in accordance with the 7 day rule on two separate occasions within a period of three years ending on the date of the latest conviction or offence the licence will be referred to the Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee for review, even if the convictions are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, or if in the case of a motoring fixed penalty notice, that offence is no longer live on the DVLA licence. Other fixed penalty notices will be dealt with having regard for the age, type of offence and apparent seriousness. It is in all licence holders interests when reporting convictions/offences to produce to the Licensing Unit copies of any notification of intended prosecution etc or similar document in order to identify when he/she first became aware of the proposed action. This will enable the Licensing Unit to establish whether he/she has complied with the 7 day rule or given notice within a reasonable timescale after the commission of the offence. The Council reserves the right to review any licence if the Licensing and Land Charges Manager has established that the failure to report a conviction/offence has deprived the Licensing Authority the opportunity to consider the matter previously. For example where it has been established that a driver would have had 9 points live on the DVLA licence if the facts had been reported to the Council at the appropriate time and such status would at that time have led to an automatic review of the licence in accordance with the Council s conviction policy.

4 (L) THE REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS ACT - SHOULD I DISCLOSE MY CONVICTIONS / OFFENCES? By operation of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 2002, hackney carriage/private hire drivers are regulated occupations for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act As such, hackney carriage/private hire drivers are exempt from the provisions of the Act, meaning convictions are never spent. This reflects the significant element of trust that is imposed with the holder of a licence and the overriding considerations of public safety. In considering the relevance of these convictions, St Helens Council will have regard to the class of offence and apparent seriousness to determine the fitness and propriety of the applicant to hold a licence, in accordance with the Council's policies. (M) THE DISCLOSURE & BARRING SERVICE RECORDS CHECK You should be aware that the Licensing Authority is empowered in law to check with the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) for the existence and content of any criminal record held in the name of an applicant. Information received will be kept in strict confidence while the licensing process takes its course and will be retained for no longer than is necessary. The DBS Disclosure application form and guidance notes cannot be downloaded from the Council s website therefore you will need to telephone or to arrange for an enquiry form to be sent to your home address. The DBS application form must be completed with extreme care and in black ink. If your completed form includes errors, crossing out or use of corrector fluid, it is likely you will be asked to complete a new form when it is checked. As an applicant you must not send your form directly to the DBS. Please note that a separate fee is payable for this enquiry to be undertaken. The fee and enquiry form must be submitted to the Licensing Unit with your driver application. If you are paying by cheque, separate cheques are required for the two fees. Cheques should be made payable to St Helens Council. The disclosure of a criminal record or other information will not debar you from gaining a licence unless the Authority considers that the conviction renders you unsuitable. In making this decision the Authority will consider the nature of the offence, how long ago and what age you were when it was committed and any other facts, which may be relevant. Any applicant refused a driver s licence on the grounds that he/she is not a fit and proper person to hold such a licence has a right of appeal to a Magistrates Court. The return of the DBS report is outside the control of the Council. Record your Form Reference Number from the front of the application form so that you can track the progress on line by going to

5 PLEASE NOTE: ANY DRIVER WHO ALLOWS AN EXISTING HACKNEY CARRIAGE / PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER S LICENCE TO EXPIRE BY MORE THAN ONE MONTH WILL FIRST BE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A NEW DBS REPORT AND MEDICAL CERTIFICATE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE GUIDANCE BEFORE A LICENCE IS ISSUED. ANY DRIVER WHO ALLOWS AN EXISTING HACKNEY/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE TO EXPIRE (HOWEVER SHORT THE PERIOD) WILL BE REQUIRED TO UNDERTAKE AND SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THE TRAINING COURSE DETAILED IN PARAGRAPH 4 BEFORE A LICENCE IS ISSUED. 3. APPLICATIONS BY FOREIGN NATIONALS If you are a foreign national, then for your application to be considered you MUST also provide the following documentation:- (a) Provide a certificate of good conduct/character/citizenship from your embassy / consulate (This must be obtained at your own expense) (b) If necessary, obtain a written English translation of the certificate together with documentary proof that the translation is correct. (This must be obtained at your own expense) (c) Provide documentary evidence that you are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (pursuant to The Asylum and Immigration Act 1996) THIS GUIDANCE DOES NOT APPLY TO FOREIGN NATIONALS WHO ARE FROM MEMBERS STATES OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY. 4. KNOWLEDGE TEST AND DRIVER TRAINING PROGRAMME KNOWLEDGE TEST All applicants for a hackney carriage/private hire driver s licence in St. Helens must undertake and pass a knowledge test. The knowledge test has six sections and involves a series of questions in relation to the St. Helens area and some of the popular destinations in the surrounding districts. The knowledge test also includes questions on licensing regulations; driver and vehicle responsibilities; fare calculations; and a basic written literacy assessment to ensure that they have the necessary communication skills to be a hackney carriage/private hire driver in St. Helens. Further details of the knowledge test are available on request. The knowledge test is being provided by St. Helens College Business Development Unit, Water Street, St. Helens, Merseyside WA10 1PP. Telephone Please note there is a fee of payable to St. Helens College to undertake the knowledge test. If a retest is required there will be a charge of Applicants can sit a maximum of three tests. Applicants who fail a third test will be unable to re-take the knowledge test for a minimum period of six months.

6 TRAINING FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS Following discussions with Merseylearn the St Helens Council Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee have on 28 September 2011 approved the following revised training requirements for hackney/private hire drivers. ENTRY REQUIREMENT FOR ALL NEW APPLICANTS FOR A HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER S LICENCE With immediate effect the entry requirement for any new applicants (including any previously licensed drivers who have allowed their licence to expire) is: - Level 2 Certificate in Introduction to the role of the professional taxi and private hire driver (known as the VRQ) (This is an entry level qualification designed to give new drivers the essential skills and understanding of legislation, equalities issues, disability awareness, health and safety etc Candidates must achieve 15 credits). OR The five tutorials from the NVQ Level 2 Certificate in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving (Taxi and Private Hire) (If you choose the five tutorials training route you should consult your training provider BEFORE you start the course as you will subsequently need to complete the NVQ during the currency of your first licence to gain accreditation) Note: Applicants must produce evidence of successful completion of this training before any licence is issued All new applicants for a hackney carriage/private hire drivers licence must also successfully complete this Council s Knowledge Test before any licence is issued. DRIVERS WHO HELD A CURRENT HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS LICENCE AT 23 SEPTEMBER 2009 AND CONTINUOUSLY SINCE THAT DATE By 25 August 2014 have successfully completed either of the following training courses: - Level 2 Certificate in Introduction to the role of the professional taxi and private hire driver (known as the VRQ) OR The NVQ Level 2 Certificate in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving (Taxi and Private Hire) It is essential that any existing licence holder who has completed the relevant training course should bring his/her certificate to the Licensing Unit so a copy may be made. Licence holders who complete training in future should do the same. To obtain up-to-date advice and information about local courses you are asked to contact Merseylearn For any other information please contact St Helens Council Licensing and Land Charges Unit Telephone

7 5. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (a) All new applicants for Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver s Licences must submit a medical certificate on the approved form completed and signed by a general practitioner. Drivers will also be required to complete an annual declaration regarding their health on the application form for renewal. BECAUSE NEW APPLICANTS ARE REQUIRED TO SUBMIT A DBS ENQUIRY FORM IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO PRODUCE THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE WITH THE APPLICATION FORM. ONCE THE DBS REPORT IS RETURNED YOU HAVE TWO MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF THE REPORT TO COLLECT YOUR LICENCE DURING THIS PERIOD YOU CAN OBTAIN AND SUBMIT YOUR MEDICAL CERTIFICATE REMEMBER ONLY MEDICAL CERTIFICATES COMPLETED BY A G.P. WHO HAS HAD ACCESS TO YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY ARE ACCEPTABLE (b) If there is, from examination of the medical certificate, any suggestion that the applicant has been or is an alcoholic, a special medical examination (at the applicant s expense) will be arranged before the application is considered. If the applicant is found to be an alcoholic, a period of five years should elapse after treatment is complete before a further licence application is considered. (c) If the GP states on the medical certificate that an eye test is recommended or required this must be provided at your own expense. Important changes to medical requirements from 1 February 2011 At it meeting on 24 November 2010 the Council s Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee resolved to adopt the Group 2 (Vocational) medical standard as recommended by the Department for Transport and D.V.L.A. for hackney and private hire drivers The requirement to produce a Group 2 medical certificate will be implemented as follows: - The new medical will be required in support of all new applications received on or after 1 February 2011 (this includes any existing driver whose licence has lapsed by more than one month before reapplying (i.e. treated as a new application). From 1 February 2011 for all existing drivers whose licence expires on or after that date as and when their next medical certificate is due. This means that the change to Group 2 standard will phase in over the next three years. Once existing drivers have provided a Group 2 medical certificate further medicals will thereafter only be required on the renewal of the licence immediately BEFORE he/she reaches the 45 th, 50 th, 55 th, 60th and 65 th birthday (amended 25 July 2012). Any driver who has reached 65 years of age will be required to produce a Group 2 medical certificate with every renewal thereafter. Any driver who has suffered a DVLA notifiable condition / illness since his/her last medical. Note: The frequency of medical examinations has been amended to reflect the Group 2 standard and whilst it is recognised that some existing licence holders may, because of other driving commitments have already undertaken a Group 2 medical examination he/she will be expected to obtain a new certificate at the appropriate time during the currency of his/her

8 licence UNLESS an original or certified copy of a Group 2 medical report which is no more then three months old can be produced at the time the licence renewal is due. (d) If it is necessary to refer your application to the Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee for determination, you will be invited to attend (with a representative if you choose) and will be allowed to address the Committee in support of your application. 6. CHECKLIST This Authority is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers and to this end may use the information you provide on this form within this Authority for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies administering public funds solely for these purposes. Before your application is considered, you must complete fully the appropriate forms and attend the Licensing Unit with the application/dbs forms and following supporting documents: - (a) Your current DVLA Driving Licence you must have held a full driving licence for at least twelve months prior to the submission of this application (as required by Section 59 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Photocopies will not be accepted and the licence produced must show your current address. If you are the holder of the new style driver licence with photograph, the counterpart driving licence must also be produced. The issue numbers for the two parts of the licence must match e.g. issue 10 and issue 10A In accordance with Department for Transport Guidance citizens of member states of the European Community may produce the driving licence issued by their own state to satisfy Section 59 as described above. (b) Your birth certificate (required for all new applications). If not available, a current passport may be produced. (c) One front facing colour photograph (passport size) is required as part of proof of identity. Your photograph will be taken by Licensing staff when you deposit your application this photograph will be downloaded onto your badge before issue. If you are required to wear glasses for driving you must wear them when your photograph is taken. Note: If your appearance subsequently changes, e.g. beard shaved off, please attend the Licensing Unit where a new photograph will be taken and a replacement badge will be issued free of charge. (d) (e) (f) (g) Fee payable - See separate fees list. The medical certificate (where applicable) completed (see Section 5 above). New applicants must produce a valid National Insurance Card or other formal document (e.g. a payslip) on which the number is recorded. Disclosure & Barring Service record check. This must be completed by all first time applicants. Existing licensed drivers will be required to undergo a check every three years. Payment of the fee is the applicant s responsibility. Additional Identification - you are also required to produce the original of one of the following documents. It must be no more than three months old and include your name/address: - Bank / credit card statement Council Tax bill, utility bill e.g. gas/water/electric

9 (h) If you have changed your surname by marriage or by Deed Poll you are required to produce the Marriage Certificate or Deed Poll document / Statutory Declaration made before a solicitor, with your first application. (i) All new applicants must complete a DVLA mandate to enable the Licensing Authority to check their driver licence history. All existing licence holders will be required to undergo a similar check every three years to coincide with the DBS check. The fee for a DVLA check is (j) In cases where an applicant has unspent convictions it may be necessary to obtain a copy of the memorandum of conviction from the court. You will be liable for any fees incurred (usually 60 per extract) payable in advance. If you do not pay the fee your application will be incomplete and not processed (The above requirement applies to all new applications received from and for all renewal applications for licences that expire on or after that date as well as any subsequent review of a licence).. and finally The issue of a receipt does not imply that a licence has been granted. You must not drive a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire vehicle without the prescribed licence. It is the responsibility of each new applicant to register for training immediately after he/she lodges the application with the Licensing Unit. If you don t and training is delayed it may compromise the issue of your licence. Payment will not be refunded in the event of withdrawal or refusal. Licences are only valid for twelve months. Renewal of the licence is the responsibility of the holder. Expired licences must be returned immediately to the Licensing Unit. If a new licence is being issued, you must collect it in person within two months of the date of the DBS report or the date the Council receives the DVLA History report (whichever is the latter) otherwise you will be required to undergo a further DBS check at your own expense. New applicants can arrange to submit their medical certificate during this period If your medical certificate is dated more than two months before the date when the Licence is ready for issue then you will be required to provide a new medical certificate or arrange for your existing medical certificate to be endorsed and countersigned/dated by your G.P. If you have any queries contact the Licensing Unit on or to Note: The licence comprised of a written document (which should be deposited with your proprietor/operator) and an ID badge

10 7. Live endorsements on the DVLA Licence See paragraph 2(B) Description of Offence DVLA co de Accident offences These codes must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence Failure to stop after an accident. Failure to give particulars or to report an accident within 24 hours Other undefined accident offences AC10 AC20 AC30 Disqualified driver These codes must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence Driving while disqualified by order of court Attempting to drive while disqualified by order of court BA10 BA30 Careless driving Codes CD10 to CD30 must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence Driving without due care and attention CD10 Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users CD20 Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users CD30 Codes CD40 to CD70 must stay on a driving licence for 11 years from the date of the conviction Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink Causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs Causing death by careless driving with alcohol level above the limit CD40 CD50 CD60

11 Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a specimen for analysis CD70 Reckless/dangerous driving These codes must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the conviction Causing serious injury by dangerous driving Dangerous driving Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle Causing death by dangerous driving Furious Driving DD10 DD40 DD60 DD80 DD90 Drink or drugs Codes DR10 to DR30 must stay on a driving licence for 11 years from the date of the conviction Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis DR10 DR20 DR30 Codes DR40 to DR70 must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive Failure to provide specimen for breath test DR40 DR50 DR60 DR70 Code DR80 must stay on a driving licence for 11 years from the date of the conviction Driving or attempting to drive when unfit through drugs DR80 Code DR90 must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence In charge of a vehicle when unfit through drugs DR90

12 Insurance offence Code IN10 must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risk IN10 Licence offences These codes must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence Driving other than in accordance with a licence Driving after making a false declaration about fitness when applying for a licence Driving a vehicle having failed to notify a disability Driving after a licence has been revoked or refused on medical grounds LC20 LC30 LC40 LC50 Miscellaneous offence Code MS90 must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence Failure to give information as to identity of the driver etc MS90 Special Code Code TT99 must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the conviction. It shows disqualification under totting-up if the total of penalty points reaches 12 or more within 3 years, the driver can be disqualified. Disqualification under totting up procedure TT99 Theft or unauthorised taking Code UT50 must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence Aggravated taking of a vehicle UT50 For aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring offence as above table but with 0 changed to a 2 e.g. LC20 becomes LC22For causing or permitting offences as above table but 0 changed to a 4 e.g. LC20 becomes LC24. For inciting offences as above table but 0 changed to a 6 e.g. DD40 becomes DD46. DD40 becomes DD46.

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