A recent move by authorities in Guildford could drastically change the way in which taxis operate in the borough, and how drivers are licenced. New requirements being introduced mean that drivers will undergo a DBS check twice a year, following guidance set out by the Department of Transport. The council will also require all licenced black cabs and minicabs to be fitted with CCTV equipment, and there will be in addition extra training and vetting for both people running private hire companies, and their staff. More stringent rules about emissions and pollution standards should also ensure that the cabs on the road are cleaner and less polluting than ever to.
Highest Standards in the Country
These new, stricter rules as set out by Guildford Borough Council are among the highest in the country. A Council spokesman agreed that the aim was to drive up operator standards and ensure that anyone getting into a cab can be as reassured as possible about their safety. But building consumer confidence costs money, and it appears that in this case, it is the taxi operators and drivers of Surrey who will be bearing the cost.
DBS Checks – Why twice a year?
Expecting taxi drivers to have enhanced DBS checks is nothing new. For several years, everyone who wishes to apply for a licence to drive a minicab or black cab has to go through the criminal records checking in addition to other checks on themselves, and on their vehicle. However, until now, the DBS checks are generally only done when the licence is renewed, every year or two years.
Many Councils don’t believe that this goes far enough, with many quite rightly pointing out that any crimes which happen in between the checks won’t be recorded or passed onto business owners in many cases. But is asking taxi drivers to have a new DBS check every six months really the answer?
DBS Checks Process
The main issue with increasing the frequency of the DBS checks is the increased administrative burden on employers, and the cost for applicants. If every taxi driver in an area have to go through the process of filling in forms, having their applications checked and having their identity documents verified every six months, this is going to tie up a considerable amount of staff time. If any delays are encountered in processing a DBS check, it might be time to apply for a new one already. Cost is also an important consideration for drivers, with the basic fee for an enhanced DBS check being £40 for each check. Drivers who find themselves requiring repeated checks are therefore recommended to sign up for DBS Update, which requires an annual subscription but will reduce the overall cost of your checks.
Good News for Passengers?
Despite the burden on taxi drivers and operators, it’s important not to lose track of why this is being done. More frequent checks should make things safer for passengers and weed out the very small number of taxi drivers who pose a risk.