York councilors have approved a measure that will see ‘vital information’ used to protect passengers from rogue taxi drivers.
York City Council must sign up for a register which enables the council to see whether taxi and private hire drivers have had their license applications refused or revoked in other areas of the council.
The use of the national register of taxi and VTC license revocations and refusals – or NR3 – will also allow the municipality to share when it has taken such measures.
Currently, prospective drivers are asked to check themselves that they have not had their driving license refused or revoked by another authority – but there are already checks in place to see if applicants have previous convictions or further warnings as part of the verification process.
The Department for Transport currently recommends that councils use NR3, but its use should become a legal requirement.
Advisors to the Licensing and Regulation Committee were asked if they would like to register immediately to use the register or undertake a consultation process to gather opinions.
Councilor John Galvin said: ‘This requirement is necessary. Consult as long as you wish, but it’s quite serious and I don’t hesitate to say “forget the consultation”, it’s up to us to protect taxi and VTC passengers.
Councilor Rachel Melley added: ‘It’s important for public protection in York, but it’s also important data sharing for public protection in other parts of the country. We have to work across borders and that’s an important part of that.
“We need as much information and evidence as possible to decide if someone is fit and suitable.”
According to the Local Government Association, which commissioned the National Anti-Fraud Network to develop and host the registry, lack of capacity means that “vital information about an applicant’s past behavior is missed and that an individual might be able to obtain a new license”. in another field, although their license has been withdrawn elsewhere.
Council officials said that if a license had been refused or revoked elsewhere, that would not necessarily mean the same thing would happen in York.