Council approves changes to licensing policy for taxi and private hire drivers

09 February 2018

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Proposed changes to the current taxi and private hire (mini-cab) licensing policy that will help prevent the sexual exploitation of children and vulnerable adults was approved by elected members at last night’s meeting of Council (8 February 2018).

The changes will see the introduction of mandatory Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) training for new and existing taxi and private hire drivers that will enable them to spot the signs of CSE and know how to report it. A new Surrey-wide approach to the licensing of drivers with convictions was adopted which will remove the unacceptable risk of a driver being refused or revoked by one local authority, but potentially accepted by another.

Existing and new drivers will also be required to pass a BTEC Level 2 Certificate Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver qualification. This will ensure that taxi and private hire drivers in the Borough meet the highest possible professional standards and deliver outstanding service.

Cllr Ashley Bowes, Portfolio Holder for Licensing, said: “The main aim of taxi licensing is to safeguard the public, particularly children and young people who are amongst the most vulnerable groups in our society.

"By making these important changes to our licensing policy, drivers will be more aware of, and help spot, signs of child sexual exploitation and safeguarding issues. They also standardise the conviction policies across the County and ensure that passengers receive a professional service.

"The changes to the licensing policy come after a County-wide public consultation highlighted that an overwhelming majority were in favour of CSE training and applying a consistent approach to drivers with convictions between all of Surrey’s 11 boroughs and districts."