The Government has reconsidered its position on enhanced CRB check requests for councils licensing drivers of taxis and minicabs. The Local Government Association (LGA) and Transport for London have been lobbying for Government to change its position on the issue.

In London, 10% of all licence applications were refused as a result of discoveries made through an enhanced CRB check. Additionally, an LGA-commissioned survey by ComRes found that 93% of people expect councils to check whether a potential driver had been banned from working with children and 92% expect the same checks to be carried out to see if they had been banned from working with vulnerable adults.

Cllr Mehboob Khan, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “The number one priority for councils is always to keep residents safe. We take this responsibility very seriously and were very concerned about the Government decision to stop enhanced CRB checks for taxi and private hire drivers. Anyone getting into a taxi or private hire vehicle should be able to do so safe in the knowledge that they can rely on their council having fully checked the background of the driver before giving them a licence.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed taxi and private hire drivers are reputable and honest individuals who provide a valuable service to the public and generate significant revenue for the areas in which they work. Councils want to help support and promote this positive image of our taxi industry by ensuring that the licensing process cannot be exploited by those looking to target vulnerable passengers.

“Enhanced CRB checks are fundamental to a robust taxi licensing process that can protect passengers effectively. We are pleased that they have listened. It is a very positive move that councils will also have additional powers to check whether any applicant is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.”

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Roy Rowlands writes for Public Sector Executive an essential guide to public sector management offering a wide view public sector news views and opinions