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DBS checks for taxi drivers

Please note: we can only carry out DBS checks for individuals who have applied to us for a driver's licence. If you are applying to a different council, you must contact that council to arrange your DBS check.

All applicants for hackney carriage or private hire driver's licences must obtain an enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS - formerly the Criminal Records Bureau), both for new licences or renewals of existing licences.

The DBS's disclosure service provides access to a range of different information, such as:

  • details held on the Police National Computer, such as convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings in England, Wales and those recorded from Scotland. There is also some Northern Ireland conviction data held on PNC
  • data held by local police forces relating to relevant non-conviction information
  • information from the Government's Protection of Children Act List (PoCA)
  • information from the Government's Protection of Vulnerable Adults List (PoVA)
  • information held by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (formerly known as List 99)

This information will help us when we decide your application, as we have to be satisfied that applicants are 'fit and proper' to drive taxis or private hire vehicles before we can grant a licence.

Taxi and private hire drivers are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that any convictions or cautions can be taken into consideration, even if they would ordinarily be considered 'spent', due to our obligation to ensure the safety of the public.

Any decision to refuse a licence on the grounds on prior convictions will be made by our Licensing Committee, following a hearing. The applicant will have a right of appeal against a decision to refuse an application.

We have produced a set of guidelines, which give more information about how we will consider applications from individuals with previous convictions or cautions:

 Guidelines on fitness of applicants (taxi) (PDF 482KB)

Applying for a disclosure

The DBS will only accept applications for disclosures from approved registered bodies. Applicants for driver's licences will therefore need to request their disclosure through us, and we will provide the appropriate application forms with our application packs.

Completed disclosure application forms should be handed in at the same time as the licence application form. The forms will be checked by a licensing officer to ensure they have been correctly completed, as errors can drastically increase the time taken to process the disclosure certificate.

Before we can request a disclosure, we have to verify the identity of the person applying. To do this, we will need to see a number of pieces of approved identification, ranging from photographic government-issued documentation through to official letters, bank statements or utility bills. For further details on these identification requirements, please see our  guidance on completion of DBS application form (PDF 224KB).

If it is not possible to produce certain types of primary identification (such as a valid passport or photo driving licence), applicants will be required to undergo a further identity check, carried out by an external validation company. We will arrange this, but a further fee will be payable for this service.

The current fee for an enhanced disclosure is £44, and this is payable by applicants at the time of application. We do not charge an additional admin fee for licence applicants, as this cost is included in the fee you pay for your licence.

DBS Update Service

The Update Service allows you to pay a subscription fee direct to the Disclosure and Barring Service, in return for ongoing monitoring of the official records for information relating to you. Subscribers will be able to give employers and licensing authorities permission to carry out a status check, in order to verify whether an original DBS certificate remains valid, even if it is several years later.

We will allow taxi and private hire drivers to use the Update Service as an alternative to obtaining a new certificate on each application. In such cases, the original certificate must:

  • be an enhanced level disclosure (standard or basic disclosures are not acceptable)
  • give the job title as 'taxi driver', 'private driver' or similar (certificates issued for unrelated jobs are now acceptable)
  • include the words 'Other Workforce' under job title (this indicates the types of checks that have been carried out)

You must have subscribed within 19 days of the issue of your last certificate. If you let your subscription lapse, or if the police records show new information about you since your certificate was issued, we will not be able to obtain a status check, and you will need to apply for a new disclosure certificate.

More information

For more information about DBS checks, please visit the Disclosure and Barring Service website, or contact the Disclosure and Barring Service on 03000 200 190.