Suzy Lamplugh Trust welcomes the Government’s pledge today to legislate on national minimum standards for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing and establish a national licensing database. These are recommendations included in our own research report launched in 2018 ‘Steering Towards Safety in Taxi and Private Hire licensing’ and the report of the Task and Finish Group on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing of which it was a member. We hope this legislation will be passed at the earliest opportunity to ensure that all taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are held accountable to rigorous national licensing standards. 

However, legislation on national standards must also enable licensing authorities to carry out enforcement and compliance checks against any taxi and PHV in their area. It must also include guidance that clearly specifies convictions that it considers should be grounds for refusal or revocation of driver licences and the period for which these exclusions should apply. 

Suzy Lamplugh Trust also welcomes a review of the statutory guidance on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing but urges the Government to reassure the public this will only be a step in the move towards enforceable legislation. Our research shows that while there are guidelines currently in place to help licensing authorities determine whether drivers pose a risk to passengers and therefore should not be granted a licence, these are often not upheld, are interpreted differently and are not legally enforceable. 

We have continuously campaigned to improve personal safety in taxi and private hire driver licensing. We hope that legislating for national minimum standards for licensing taxi and private hire vehicle drivers will overcome the current inconsistencies between policies developed by individual licensing authorities across England and Wales. Passengers need to be assured that wherever they get into a licensed vehicle, and whoever the operator or licensing authority is, drivers have been vetted to the highest possible safety standards in order to protect passenger safety.