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Taxi driver's licence

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If you want to drive a licensed hackney carriage (HC) or private hire (PH) vehicle in Middlesbrough then you must hold a HC/PH driver licence issued by us (the council). It's a criminal offence to drive a licensed vehicle without this licence.

This page lists the legal requirements you'll need to meet to be granted a licence, and what information we need from you before we consider your application. There are also step by step instructions on how to submit an application.

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 says we can't grant you a licence unless:

  1. we're satisfied that you're a ‘fit and proper' person to hold a driver's licence
  2. you've held a full driving licence for a period of at least twelve months. Only full driving licences issued in the UK, the European Community (EC), or one of the other countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) will be accepted. We can also accept Northern Irish driving licences.

You'll need to complete an online application and provide some additional information before we can process your application. All information received will be treated in confidence.

You must be honest in your licence application. You should never, under any circumstances, make false statements in order to get your licence. This is a serious criminal offence and may prevent you from being granted a licence.

All applications for a new licence or licence renewal will automatically be checked on the National Register of Taxi Licence Refusals and Revocations (NR3). Find out more about NR3 and how your data is used.

Step by step guide

1. Read this page thoroughly

Before submitting your application you must read this page thoroughly. It'll tell you whether you're eligible to apply for a hackney carriage (HC) or private hire (PH) driver licence, and if there are any reasons why your application may be refused. If you've held your driving licence for less than a year, have any problems with your health, or have a criminal record, your application may be refused.

If you submit an application but you're not a suitable applicant, your application will be refused and you'll only be refunded part of your application fee.

Reading this page thoroughly before applying, especially the part about criminal offences, may save you time and money.

2. Arrange an appointment with your own doctor

The medical standards we expect of professional drivers are stricter than those required by the DVLA of a normal road user. If you have a medical condition or have suffered from a medical condition in the past, you should refer to the guidance in the ‘medical examination certificate' document in the ‘Medical examination' section.

The ‘medical examination certificate' document must be completed by your own doctor or another doctor who has access to your full medical records.

We require HC/PH drivers to meet the Group 2 medical standard as detailed in the guidance. You should read this guidance if you have any medical condition and are in doubt as to whether you meet the necessary standards. If you don't meet the Group 2 medical standard, your application will be refused.

3. Make an appointment for your driving assessment test

Instructions on how to make a test appointment can be found under 'Driving test' below.

4. Complete the Safeguarding Vulnerable Passengers Awareness Training

Instructions on how to access this training can be found under 'Safeguarding Vulnerable Passengers Awareness Training' below.

5. Use our online form to complete and pay for your application

You'll also have the opportunity to make an appointment with a Licensing officer to submit your application for a DBS certificate, your Right to Work in the UK documentation, and your completed medical examination certificate.

What do I need to apply?

Before you can be granted a HC/PH driver licence, we have to be satisfied that you're a 'fit and proper' person under the terms of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. This means that a series of tests and checks will be carried out with various organisations to ensure that you're a suitable person to drive a licensed hackney carriage.

We expect all licensed drivers to drive safely, and be courteous and honest. In addition, any licensed driver must have a good knowledge of frequently used routes within the area, as well as places of interest and importance in Middlesbrough.

We carry out a number of checks and tests on all applicants before issuing them with a licence.

When you make an application online, you'll also need to make an appointment with a Licensing officer to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service certificate (criminal record check).

This involves a search of your personal records to establish whether or not you're a safe person to drive members of the public, some of whom may be vulnerable, elderly, or infirm. The DBS is a government department which deals with all criminal records checks for the council's Licensing department.

In order to apply for a DBS, you'll need to provide evidence of your identity. View a list of acceptable forms of ID for DBS checks.

Please note, having a previous criminal record doesn't necessarily stop you from applying for a licence. View guidelines relating to criminal convictions.

If an applicant hasn't been a UK resident for the past 5 years, an enhanced DBS disclosure won't usually be enough to satisfy the council that they're a fit and proper person. This is because the DBS doesn't usually provide criminal records information from countries outside the UK. These applicants will need to provide a Certificate of Good Conduct or an equivalent document, translated into English, from each country where they've been resident/domiciled.

Further information on criminal records checks for overseas applicants.

If you have previous criminal convictions, you may need to appear before the Licensing Committee, where the council's Elected Members will make a decision on whether or not to grant you a licence.

Receiving your DBS certificate

The DBS will send the disclosure certificate to your home address. You must then provide the original disclosure to us by posting it in the designated secure postbox outside Middlesbrough House (on the Pine Street side, adjacent to the Empire nightclub). We'll take a copy, which will form part of your application, and the original certificate will be posted back to you. The information in your disclosure will be stored and used in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

To drive a HC/PH, you must be physically able to perform the duties of a licensed driver. This may involve lifting heavy objects such as luggage and wheelchairs.

To decide whether you're fit to drive a HC/PH, you must undergo a medical examination with your own GP, or another doctor who has full access to your medical records. This examination will be carried out at your own expense.

The standards we expect of drivers follow the advice offered by the DVLA regarding best practice. These require applicants to successfully meet the Group 2 medical standards which also apply to bus and lorry drivers.

New applicants should be aware that the Group 2 standard is higher than that expected of a normal road user. It's possible that someone who is legally allowed to drive a private car wouldn't satisfy the medical standard required for us to grant a HC/PH licence.

View the medical requirements and medical examination certificate.

View the DVLA guidelines for Group 2 Drivers ('Fitness to Drive' booklet for medical professionals).

The standard DVLA driving test, undertaken by all normal road users in Britain, demonstrates that a driver is capable of meeting the minimum standard of driving expected by law.

Professional drivers licensed by the council must be able to demonstrate a higher level of skill and knowledge than the average driver. As part of the application process for a HC/PH driver licence, you must pass the council-approved taxi driving assessment provided by Hartlepool Council's Road Safety team before we can issue you a licence. The test is undertaken at your own expense, and although it's similar to the standard DVLA driving test, it tests to a higher standard and includes more complex manoeuvres. To take this test you must hold a full British driving licence.

View information on how to book the test.

A HC/PH driver must have a good knowledge of the area in which they intend to work. It's also important to have a good knowledge of the laws and rules governing the HC/PH trade, and a sound knowledge of all traffic regulations, i.e. the Highway Code.

The driver knowledge test is made up of several different sections which test this knowledge.

One section will test your standard of written English. It's important that a HC/PH driver can communicate effectively with their passengers, not only when discussing fares, but also in the event of an emergency. As well as being able to communicate verbally with passengers, drivers will sometimes need to give a passenger a receipt for their journey. This means you must have sufficient skill in written English to correctly complete a receipt. Any applicant who is unable to pass the literacy and numeracy sections will fail the whole test.

Another section of the test relates to your knowledge of the rules of the hackney carriage trade.

You'll also be tested on your knowledge of the Highway Code. You'll be asked a series of questions, similar to those asked during a DVLA driving test, and these will include questions relating to road signs. All the information you need to pass this section is included in the Highway Code. It's advisable to study the Highway Code before taking the test.

Another section of the test relates to your knowledge of the Middlesbrough area. You'll complete a series of multiple choice questions where you'll be asked to identify the location of a specific road or landmark within, or close to, the Middlesbrough area.

The following documents will help you prepare for your test:

You'll need to book your appointment for this test using your online account as part of the application process.

Anyone applying for a licence, or to have their licence renewed, must prove that their immigration status doesn't stop them from holding a licence. You can do this by submitting to us (in person) one of a number of acceptable documents which show that you have permission to be in the UK and work as a driver. Your application will be refused if you don't provide this evidence.

The Home Office, via the UK Border Agency, has compiled a list of documents which prove that someone has the right to remain and work (RTW) in the UK.

You'll need to provide one document from List A, which shows an ongoing RTW in the UK. If you don't have a document from List A, you must provide relevant documents from List B. These documents will show restrictions on RTW in the UK.

View the documents in List A and List B, and guidance notes

If you produce acceptable documents from List A and you're subsequently granted a licence, we won't need to carry out any further checks when you apply to renew your licence.

If you provide a document from List B to prove your RTW in the UK then your licence will only be valid until the expiry date on the document. When the document expires, you'll need to provide further documentation showing that you're allowed to keep working in the UK if you want to renew your licence.

Sometimes we might need the Home Office to verify your RTW because:

  • you've provided a Certificate of Application which is less than six months old and indicates that work is permitted
    or
  • you've not provided acceptable documents because you have an outstanding application for permission to be in the UK, or your appeal or administrative review is pending.

In these cases, we'll give you a licence which will last for six months from the date of the decision, providing we have confirmation of your immigration status.

You must bring us your RTW documents in person, and they must be original copies; we won't accept photocopies, scans, or faxes. You'll need to make an appointment with a Licensing officer to provide these documents. We'll take copies and keep these in the file we hold about you.

All applicants must comply with the RTW policy and provide the necessary documentation to us.

A licence will lapse when the holder no longer has permission to be in the UK.

It's illegal to discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, ethnicity, or nationality, and we'll never make assumptions about anyone's RTW in the UK based on their background, appearance, or accent.

We'll conduct checks on your DVLA driving licence to ensure that it's valid and has no endorsements which would make you a risk to the public. These checks will be carried out for each new driver's licence application and at least annually after that.

For us to make these checks, you'll need to complete a driving entitlement consent form, also known as a DVLA mandate form. This form gives us the authority to check the status of someone's DVLA driving licence. The fee for the check will be paid by you as part of the application fee. Download the DVLA mandate form.

Anyone applying for a HC/PH licence must undertake council-approved Safeguarding Vulnerable Passengers Awareness Training. The training will equip you with the knowledge and skills to identify the signs of potential abuse, and teach you how to respond. You'll need to provide the certificate showing you've passed the training before we can grant you a licence.

Access the Safeguarding Vulnerable Passengers Awareness Training.

Anyone applying for a HC/PH licence must undertake council-approved Disability Awareness Training. The training will give you the confidence and self-assurance to provide disabled people with the same high level of service you give to everyone else.

The approved courses are provided by JD Training Solutions and Great Expectations.

You can book your session at JD Training Solutions by emailing pam@jd-training.co.uk or calling 01642 602600. The course costs £33.60.

You can book your session at Great Expectations by visiting Calvary House, 36-40 Grange Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 5BQ, or calling 01642 220777 or 01642 220778. The course costs £30.

You'll need to provide the certificate showing you've passed the training before we can grant you a licence.

Please note, if you already have the Level 2 BTEC award in Transporting of Passengers by Taxi and Private Hire, you won't need to complete the Disability Awareness Training. This is because these issues are dealt with in some detail as part of the course.

What happens next?

  1. Register for a MyMiddlesbrough account. Without a MyMiddlesbrough account, you won't be able to apply for a licence.
  2. Complete the application and make an appointment for an interview with a Licensing officer as directed.
  3. Attend your appointment with the Licensing officer and bring:
  • the documentation needed to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service disclosure certificate (see 'Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check' above)
  • Certificate of Good Conduct (where appropriate)
  • evidence that you have the Right to Work in the UK (see 'Right to work in the UK' above)
  • your DVLA driving licence, or equivalent
  • the completed DVLA mandate form (see 'DVLA licence check' above)

If you don't bring the necessary documentation, you'll need to make another appointment, which will delay your application.

You should also bring the following documentation with you to your appointment, or upload it to your account:

  • driving assessment certificate
  • Safeguarding Awareness Training certificate

Once you've made your application, you'll be asked to make an appointment to take your driver knowledge test.

We try to deal with applications as quickly as possible, but because we rely on other organisations for information, there can sometimes be delays in the process. We can usually decide all applications within 6 weeks of receiving the application, except in exceptional circumstances.

Please note, an application won't be processed until we've received all the necessary documents from you. If your application needs to be referred to the council's Licensing Committee, the application process will take longer.

Assuming that no issues have been raised during our checks, and you've passed all of the necessary tests, we'll issue you with a HC/PH driver licence and badge.

Once you've received your HC/PH driver badge, you're licensed to drive a hackney carriage which is licensed by Middlesbrough Council. Please note, if you want to drive a vehicle licensed by another local authority, you'll need to apply for a separate HC/PH driver licence from that authority.

Along with your badge, you'll also receive a paper licence, which you'll need to show to any vehicle proprietor who you work for.

The application fee is a single fee which covers the whole of the application. The fee is refundable, minus administrative charges, if you're unsuccessful in your application. However, this refund doesn't include the cost of obtaining a DBS check, medical certificate, and Driving Assessment test.

Like the standard DVLA driving test, you can retake the driving assessment, however there's often a waiting list for the test, so the time taken to get your HC/PH badge may be greatly extended. There's also an additional cost for resitting the test.

The council's driver knowledge test can also be retaken if you're unsuccessful on your first attempt. If you don't pass the knowledge test within three attempts, you should expect to have your application refused. You'll then need to wait for at least six months before making another application. This should provide you with sufficient time to develop the knowledge needed to pass the knowledge test. You'll need to pay a fee each time you resit the test.

If you fail to attend a test, or attend late, you'll need to take a further test, which you'll have to pay a fee for.

Please note, if for any reason there's more than a 6 month delay in your application being granted, you'll need to apply for a new DBS check before we can grant you a licence. You'll also need a note from your doctor confirming that there has been no change in your health since your medical certificate was obtained. If the delay results in your medical certificate being over one year old, then you'll need a new full medical certificate.

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