Taxi/Private Hire Driver Licence Arrangements - Frequently Asked Questions


 

List of Frequently Asked Questions:


1. Do I have to wait for my licence before I can start driving?
2. Who decides whether or not I can have a licence in Moray?
3. What is the difference between a Vehicle and a Driver's licence?
4. What is the difference between a Taxi Driver’s licence and a Private Hire Driver’s licence?
5. As a taxi driver, can I pick up passengers anywhere?
6. Is there a situation where I have no taxi driver’s licence nor private hire driver’s licence but can carry paying passengers?
7. If I am applying for a taxi licence, will the council ask the police about me?
8. What convictions do I have to declare?
9. How long will it take for me to get my licence?
10. What can I do if my application is refused?
11. What happens after my application is granted?
12. Am I still licensed to drive a taxi/PH car if I applied for my renewal in time, but it’s now expired and I haven’t had my renewal licence yet?
13. What happens if I haven’t heard from you within 9 months?
14. What’s the position for taxi/PH drivers regarding carrying guide dogs?
15. Are there conditions attached to the licence?
16. Why do I need to meet Group 2 DVLA medical standards?
17. Why do taxi/PH drivers have to meet Group 2 medical standards when contract drivers for the council don’t have to?
18. Is it true that the council are looking to remove the exemption that 24- hour contract hires currently?
19. Why can’t I have a taxi/PH driver licence if I haven’t held a DVLA licence for a minimum of 12 months at the time I apply?
20. What do I need to include with my application for grant of a taxi driver’s or private hire driver’s licence?
21. Do I have to show you that I have the right to work in the UK?
22. What happens after my application is granted?
23. How does the council enforce the licence conditions?
24. Can I get further information?

 

1. Do I have to wait for my licence before I can start driving?

Yes, if it is a new grant.

No, if it is for a renewal. Your old licence covers you until we reach a decision on your application for renewal; we’ll write to you to acknowledge your application has been received and you should keep that letter with you at all times until your renewal is issued.

2. Who decides whether or not I can have a licence in Moray?

Moray Council is the licensing authority for the Moray area and it is the Council’s Licensing Committee that deals with licensing matters. Where there is an objection or representation by the police then the application must be decided by the Licensing Committee. However, where there is no objection or representation made, then the council’s licensing solicitors grant the licence under delegated authority. Every application is considered on its own merit.

3. What is the difference between a Vehicle and a Driver's licence?

A Vehicle Licence is for the vehicle to be operated. It is often referred to as an Operator's Licence. A Driver's Licence is for the person who will be driving the vehicle

4. What is the difference between a taxi driver’s licence and a private hire driver’s licence?

A taxi driver’s licence permits a taxi to be flagged down in the street, as well as being prior booked. A private hire driver’s licence does not permit the driver to be flagged down in the street; instead, the vehicle must be booked in advance.

5. As a taxi driver, can I pick up passengers anywhere?

Each driver/operator must either uplift or drop off passengers within the zone for which they have a licence. Taxis can be hailed in the street or from pick up from taxi ranks. Private hire cars must be pre-booked, and cannot be hailed in the street.

6. Is there a situation where I have no taxi driver’s licence nor private hire driver’s licence but can carry paying passengers?

Yes, but ONLY provided that:

a) The vehicle should carry no more than 8 persons.
b) The requirement that these must be booked in advance differentiates them from a taxi.
c) Specifically with regard to your query, and only for the time being, they do not require to be licensed as private hire cars where all the following characteristics are made clear and followed:

(i) they are to be used for 1 x a day exclusive hire (once in any 24-hour period); and,
(ii) booked in advance; and,
(iii) the cost equally shared by all or paid by one person.

d) The above applies only for the time being: by provision of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, it is likely that the exemption will be removed for private hires used for once per 24-hour period (as set out above) and instead, a private hire car licence will be required. We are not yet informed of the commencement date for this provision.

7. If I am applying for a taxi or private hire licence, will the council ask the police about me?

Yes, if you are applying for a taxi or private hire licence, the council will check that you are a fit and proper person to hold a licence. If the police have any objections or comments to make on your application in this regard, your application will be heard by the Licensing Committee, which meets every 8 weeks or so.

8. What convictions do I have to declare?

The guidance notes that are on our website give detailed information about declaring convictions and that information can also be accessed here: Guidance on disclosure of convictions in applications.

9. How long will it take for me to get my licence?

The Council is allowed by law 9 months to consider your application but we aim to deal with all applications as soon as possible.

The additional procedural steps for the licence application have led to a general increase in the processing time for licence applications. For example, the requirement for medical assessments; the requirement for us to carry out checks on your DVLA Licence Summary; and, from 1 December 2016 checks on your right to work in the UK However, applications are still decided well within the statutory timescale.

10. What can I do if my application is refused?

Within 10 days of the date of the decision you can request the council to give you a statement of the reasons for their decision. Within 28 days of the decision you may have a right of appeal to Elgin Sheriff Court. The council cannot provide guidance on making an appeal. You are advised to seek your own independent legal advice about this or, alternatively, you can contact the Sheriff Clerk at Elgin Sheriff Court.

11. What happens after my application is granted?

You will receive a letter advising that your application has been granted. The letter will include your licence and explain the standard conditions and any additional ones that you are subject to – for example, you must let us know of any material change in your circumstances, such as a change in your health or any criminal offences, for example.

12. Am I still licensed to drive a taxi/PH car if I applied for my renewal in time, but it’s now expired and I haven’t had my renewal licence yet?

Yes. You can continue to drive with your old licence until we make a decision on your renewal application. The legislation says we have 9 months to make a decision

13. What happens if I haven’t heard from you within 9 months?

We must grant your licence if we haven’t reached a decision before the 9 months is up, but the licence is only for 1 year.

14. What’s the position for taxi/PH drivers regarding carrying guide dogs?

Since 3 March 2003 licensed taxi drivers in Scotland have been under a duty (introduced as a condition of licence) to carry guide, hearing and other prescribed assistance dogs in their taxis, without additional charge (The Taxi Drivers' Licences (Carrying of Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs) (Scotland) Regulations 2003). 

Drivers who have a medical condition that is aggravated by exposure to dogs may apply to their licensing authority for exemption from the duty on medical grounds. Any other driver who fails to comply with the duty is guilty of a criminal offence. 

Similar duties were introduced for private hire car drivers with effect from 31 March 2004 in The Private Hire Car Drivers' Licences (Carrying of Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs) (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

15. Are there conditions attached to the licence?

Yes. There are standard conditions attached to all Taxi Driver and Private Hire Car Driver Licences. A copy of these conditions is available on the Council’s website, and with the letter issuing your licence.

16. Why do I need to meet Group 2 DVLA medical standards?

Group 2 medical standards are standards developed by the DVLA for drivers of certain types of vehicle. Those are mainly lorry and bus drivers. However, in April 2012 the Scottish Government issued Best Practice Guidance in relation to the licensing of taxi and PH drivers. This is still the current guidance and it confirms that many licensing authorities apply group 2 medical standards to taxi/private hire drivers.

The guidance is available at:  http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0039/00391287.pdf

The Licensing Committee of the Council (“the council”) decided in their meeting of the 30 November 2005 that all taxi and PH drivers are to meet Group 2 medical standards.

So drivers have been expected to meet Group 2 since 2005. That is both at the time of application and on an on-going basis. It is not a statutory requirement, it is a licensing authority requirement in accordance with best practice. The Licensing Committee decided in their meeting of the 7th May 2014 (as amended on the 26th August 2015) that all taxi and PH drivers must produce satisfactory medical evidence that they meet Group 2 medical standards before a licence can be granted.

How often do I need to undergo this medical assessment?

A medical for licensing purposes is required once every 6 years, which is less onerous than the DVLA standards.  A taxi driver licence renewal is every 3 years and the medicals were aligned to that 3 year cycle.

The council decided that the medical would be sufficient every other renewal i.e. each 6 years, to reduce the cost and the burden on the trade. Only half the cost of a medical is included in each renewal fee. The medical is to satisfy a licence condition so it is up to the Council what to accept in terms of its own condition.

What if I become ill or my health worsens during this time?

The council continues to rely on self-disclosure for matters that may arise during the currency of any licence. Paragraph 9(1) of Schedule 1 of the Act states that “Where there is a material change of circumstances affecting a holder of a licence, or the activity to which the licence relates, the holder of the licence shall, in accordance with this paragraph, notify the licensing authority of the change as soon as reasonably practicable after it has taken place.”

Reporting to us any changes is also one of the conditions of your licence.So if there is any change to the licence holder’s circumstances – including their medical status – then he/she must notify the council.

Satisfactory medical evidence comes in three forms : 1) through the Council’s occupational health provider; 2) through your own GP; or 3) through a current HGV licence.

1) Using your own doctor.

You can choose to see your own GP if you personally arrange the appointment and pay for the report. The licence application fee will be reduced by £95 if you choose to arrange and pay for your own medical assessment.

The GP and/or any Optician/Optometrist should use DVLA guidelines linked in section 1 above.

How recent should the medical report be?

In accordance with DVLA guidelines, the report should be included with the licence application and should not be more than 4 months old.

What does the doctor have to write to confirm I meet the Group 2 standard?

The D4 medical form is a series of questions for the medical professional to complete. However the form is difficult for those who are not medically qualified to interpret. Therefore, to satisfy the council’s requirement (of producing satisfactory medical evidence that the applicant meets Group 2 medical standards), the council’s guidance asks for the GP to produce a short note, to accompany the D4, that confirms the subject meets Group 2 medical standards.

We have included more information about medicals in our Guidance on our website which can be found here:

Guidance on medicals

2) The driver submits to a medical exam by the council’s chosen medical services provider. That provider is familiar with the requirements of the DVLA’s group 2 medical standards and will provide a report confirming that the driver meets (or does not meet) the medical standards.

The medical provider was chosen in the light of the council’s decision detailed at 4 above. The council had previously experienced mixed results with GPs reports. The reports didn’t always meet our requirements and costs varied quite a bit, so a medical provider was chosen to address these issues.

The fee for this report is paid by the council but recovered through the licence fees. This is in accordance with section 12 of the Act which states that “A licensing authority shall charge such fees in respect of taxi and private hire car licences and applications for such licences as may be resolved by them from time to time and shall seek to ensure that the total amount of such fees is sufficient to meet the expenses incurred by them in carrying out their functions under sections 10 to 23 (other than section 19) of this Act in relation to such licences.”

3. DVLA driver records, as detailed in 20 below, demonstrate that the driver already meets Group 2 medical standards for the DVLA as the categories of vehicle for which the driver is licensed include Group 2 vehicles such as lorries or buses.  

What happens where the doctor’s assessment needs me to have follow-up checks?

Where follow up medical issues are identified as part of the medical report then further investigation may be needed, including:

Where the applicant fails to meet Group 2 visual standards then he/she may be referred to their optician for corrective action. In this case the applicant will simply be asked to forward confirmation from the optician that eyesight has been corrected and that the person remains fit to drive. A copy of the receipt for the spectacles and a copy of the eye test should be forwarded to the council’s licensing section.

Where the medical professional identifies a need to review the applicant in a period shorter than the 6 years set by the council but confirms that the applicant is fit to drive in the meantime, then no further action will be taken by the council. However, the applicant is advised to follow up any issues with their own GP / medical professional. As stated in 4 above the onus is then on the driver to notify the council if the driver’s status/fitness to drive changes at all. The council will neither commission nor pay for any follow up medical report in this instance and the applicant should not contact the council’s chosen medical services provider directly.

Where the medical professional identifies a need for the applicant to undergo a further medical test before it can be determined whether the applicant meets Group 2 medical standards then each case will be assessed individually. Where necessary the council will commission and pay for further tests for licensing purposes. The applicant should not instruct further medical tests without discussing the matter with the council first.

Medical evidence that is produced is used for licensing purposes only. It will not be disclosed to other parties or used for other purposes.

17. Why do taxi/PH drivers have to meet Group 2 medical standards when contract drivers for the council don’t have to?

Contract drivers and other council drivers may be required to meet Group 2 medical standards of fitness, depending upon the type of vehicle they drive. They are not regulated by the same legislation as taxi/PH drivers.  However, it is anticipated that the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 will bring in changes to the law so that those who don’t yet need to meet Group 2 standards will eventually be required to do so. This particular provision is not yet in force and we await a date for this.

18. Is it true that the council are looking to remove the exemption that 24- hour contract hires currently?

That is not the case. The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 is the piece of legislation that proposes this change, and the Scottish Government consulted upon it before it was introduced into Parliament . This particular provision is not yet in force and we await a date for it coming into force. It is for Parliament to make the law and for us to implement it

19. Why can’t I have a taxi/PH driver licence if I haven’t held a DVLA licence for a minimum of 12 months at the time I apply?

It is a requirement of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 at section 13(3) that “A licensing authority shall not grant a licence to any person under this section unless that person has held, during any continuous period of 12 months prior to the date of his application, a licence authorising him to drive a motor car…” That is a driver’s national licence from the DVLA.
So the council must check the DVLA driver licence records to ensure that an individual qualifies to drive a taxi. You must provide us with your licence summary when you apply to us.
Guidance that explains the position can be found here: http://www.moray.gov.uk/downloads/file105285.pdf

20. What do I need to include with my application for grant of a taxi driver’s or private hire driver’s licence?

(i) When lodging your application you will need to provide a copy of your current electronic Driving Licence Summary record held by DVLA. You can do this by using the ‘View or Share your Driving Licence Information’ service at: https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence.
We have given instructions on how to do this and what we need from you on our website here at Driver Record/Licence Summary

(ii) Your application form
(iii) the correct fee according to whether you are looking for grant or renewal

21. Do I have to show you that I have the right to work in the UK?

Yes. You will need to bring documents in and have your photograph taken. Please see our website for the list of acceptable documents, here at Guidance on Right to Work Checks under the Immigration Act 2016. It is now the law and every licensing authority is required to make these checks.

22. What happens after my application is granted?

You will receive a letter advising that your application has been granted. The letter will include your licence and explain the standard conditions and any additional ones that you are subject to – for example, you must let us know of any material change in your circumstances, such as a change in your health or any criminal offences, for example.

23. How does the council enforce the licence conditions?

We follow up on all complaints with the complainant and the licence holder. Where there are issues regarding unlicensed operations, these are forwarded to the police for investigation and enforcement. We do not currently undertake a planned programme of compliance visits; however the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 will require all licensing authorities to have one or more Civic Licensing Standards Officers. Their role will be advice, guidance, compliance and enforcement. We will let you know when this role is in place.

24. Can I get further information?

If you have any further questions about the application process, the Council’s Licensing Team will be happy to assist you. Please note that whilst the Licensing Team can provide guidance, the team cannot offer you legal advice. You can contact us in person or by phone or email.

Access Point
The Moray Council
High Street
Elgin IV30 1BX

Telephone  01343 563456

Email  licensing@moray.gov.uk

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