DBS checks for taxi drivers: the process explained

If you drive or are considering driving a taxi or private hire vehicle, it’s important to understand the rules around DBS checks for taxi drivers.

DBS checks help determine whether a driver is suitable to transport the public, and help ensure the safety of passengers.

We’ve put together a guide to explain the process for obtaining DBS checks for taxi drivers:

DBS checks for taxi drivers: who is eligible?

In 2012, the government introduced guidelines which meant that all taxi and private hire vehicle drivers would be eligible for enhanced DBS checks.

Previous to this, only drivers who regularly picked up vulnerable people were eligible. The changes help to minimise risk and provide reassurance to passengers.

Taxi driver licences are issued by local councils, and applicants for licences are usually required to undergo an enhanced DBS check before they can operate.

Drivers will then usually be required to periodically undergo a new enhanced DBS check. The length of time between checks will vary between different councils and employers, but is often every three years.

The ‘workforce’ selected on the DBS application will differ dependent on whether the driver will specifically be transporting vulnerable groups (‘child and adult workforce’) or taking on a general taxi or private hire driver role (‘other workforce’).

What is an enhanced DBS check?

An enhanced DBS check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings the applicant has.

It will also show any information held by local police that can reasonably be considered relevant to the role being applied for.

Licensing authorities will use the information revealed by the check to make a decision on whether the applicant is suitable to be a taxi driver.

Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that convictions and cautions that would usually be considered spent can be taken into account by councils when making licensing decisions.

Will a criminal record prevent me from being a taxi driver?

A person with a criminal conviction will not automatically be unable to obtain a taxi driver licence.

Whether a licensing authority deems the applicant suitable will depend on the nature and severity of any offences committed.

How do I obtain a DBS check?

Individuals cannot apply for DBS checks on themselves.

If you’re a self-employed driver, you’ll need to contact your local council to apply for a licence to drive a taxi or private hire vehicle.

If you’ll be operating in London, you’ll need to contact Transport for London to apply for a licence.

As part of the licensing process, the licensing authority will usually carry out an enhanced DBS check.

If you’re employed by a company, the company may arrange a DBS check on your behalf.

DBS checks for taxi drivers: conclusion

All drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles are eligible for enhanced DBS checks.

Licensing authorities will usually require applicants to undergo a DBS check before issuing a licence.

If you’d like to know more about DBS checks for taxi drivers, get in touch with us today – we’d be more than happy to help out.