Oxfordshire Director of Legal

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Institute of Licensing rejects criticism of its guidance on determining suitability of applicants for taxi/PHV licences

The Institute of Licensing has defended its guidance on determining the suitability of applicants for taxi and private hire licences amid claims from the industry that it is unfair.

Its guidance was published in 2018 and has been adopted by many local authorities. This states that a driver who accumulates at least seven points on their driving licence should not be licensed for five years.

There has though been criticism from drivers that they may accumulate seven points inadvertently and should not be penalised by losing their licence.

A statement from the Institute said: “The Institute maintains its guidance under review. However, it does not consider that any change in this regard is warranted.”

It said just 0.27% of driving licence holders had seven or more points on their licence and it was “fair to hold a professional driver conveying members of the public to a higher standard than drivers in general”.

Institute president James Button said: “The purpose of hackney carriage and private hire licensing is to ensure public safety.

“The vast majority of drivers are competent and professional and with no criminal or driving issues, who give no cause for concern. They provide excellent and essential services to the public.

“The guidelines are aimed at those who do not meet those standards and will help to protect the public from the 0.27% of all drivers with seven or more points on their DVLA licences.” 

The guidance did not specify the loss of a licence in every case and the Institute said a driver could seek to persuade a licensing authority that licence retention was merited on the facts.

Mark Smulian