Wednesday, October 09, 2013

London Taxi Drivers Anger Over Licence Delays.

Posters of the home secretary are being used by taxi drivers campaigning against delays in background checks.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said certificates proving safeguarding checks take up to 10 weeks to arrive.

It wants the Home Office to send certificates directly to Transport for London (TfL) so drivers can be licensed quicker.

A Home Office spokesman said the procedure was a matter for the body which performs the safeguarding checks.

Protest posters featuring Theresa May will appear on black cabs in London as well as on advertising vans and in newspapers.

'Angry and frustrated'

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said he had written to the home secretary and other civil servants to ask to remove the "red tape", but to no avail.

He said: "There are currently upwards of 200 drivers out of work, unable to pay their mortgages, rent and feed their families.

"Our members are angry and frustrated at the intransigence of the Home Office and this campaign is aimed at venting that anger towards the one person who could solve the problem quickly and easily but refuses to do so."

But the Home Office spokesman said: "The decision to not renew taxi licences pending the result of checks has been made by taxi licensing authorities - not the Home Office."

'Quicker and easier'

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) replaced the Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority in December 2012, and it sends a certificate listing the results to the applicant instead of the employer once the safeguarding checks are done.

If asked, the cab driver then has to provide the certificate to the employer before getting a licence.

Mr McNamara said adding an option on the application form of sending the criminal record check certificate straight to the licensing authority would mean a licence to operate could be issued while the actual certificate arrives.

Helen Chapman, TfL's manager in charge of taxis and private hire, said: "This new system is causing delays for drivers, and we share their frustrations."

She said the Mayor of London had raised the issue with the Home Office, and transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy would be meeting with the government shortly to try to resolve it.

The Home Office said: "Three quarters of Disclosure and Barring Service certificates are issued within 14 days and the changes we introduced in June have made the system quicker and easier to use.

"Certificates can now be reused for the first time - eliminating unnecessary repeated checks - and they remain vital in helping employers make informed safeguarding decisions."


I'm Sparatcus said...

They have of course gone for the wrong targets,

The decision not to licence drivers is Ms. Helen Chapman LTPH manager of TfL and hers alone!

The Home Office reply is quite clear where the responsibility lies.

LTPH and the operations of TfL are overseen by the board of TfL, chaired by the Mayor, one board member is Mr bob Oddy who is also deputy general secretary of the LTDA.

Questions therefore need to be asked about the effectiveness of those person and the effectiveness of their role of oversight.

So spend as much as your members money as you wish on vans and cab ads with pictures on but please put the right people on them.

You have plenty of photos in the library LTDA!

Anonymous said...

LTPH must be too busy issuing RD2.COM more licenses!

Dick Emery said...

It's TFL that's to blame here, one of our members had his CRB (now called DBS) within 2 weeks but TFL did not send the licence for another 6.

So the LTDA can meet with the Home Office all day, what's needed is an ad van with the photos of Boris, Hendy and the TfL Board as those responsible.

The departure of John Mason has brought no improvement, so maybe Ms. Chapman needs to consider if she can do the job.

Of course not a word of dissent from the UTG, LTPH is being effectively disbanded, everything contracted out so they have no one to meet with so the 'engagement' policy has in fact turned into a divorce.

Special relationships?

Maybe we should leave all that fanagling to some in Windsor House.

'Ooh you are awful, but I like you'

Anonymous said...

how does an immigrant mini-cab driver, from abroad, get a CRB CHECK - it's impossible, to check on their PREVIOUS

yet, they ALL seem to get Licences!

Anonymous said...

200 drivers sitting at home waiting for their licence? Really?? I doubt it, given the option of not being able to pay the bills or eat most would be out there....Whats the worst that can happen if you get a bill and badge with an expired licence while waiting for tfl to issue your new one??? With tfls track record of prosecuting and enforcing touts, a slap on the wrist at most.