National register of taxi licence revocations and refusals (NR3)
Licensing authorities are required to satisfy themselves that those holding hackney carriage and private hire vehicle (PHV) driver licences are ‘fit and proper’ to do so. This is done firstly during the determination of an application for a licence, and then at any time during the currency of a licence.
The process of assessing whether an applicant or licensee is ‘fit and proper’ may vary between authorities but there is widespread consensus on the need to increase consistency and set national minimum standards for the fit and proper test at a suitably high level. This would help prevent individuals who have had a licence revoked by one authority from simply going to another area and securing a licence - assuming the second authority was aware of the earlier revocation.
At the moment, if drivers do not disclose information about a previous revocation or refusal of a licence, there is often no way for a licensing authority to find this information out. This means that vital intelligence about an applicant’s past behaviour is being missed and an individual might be able to get a new licence in another area, despite having their licence revoked elsewhere. High profile instances of this happening have undermined public confidence in the safety of hackney carriages and PHVs, and left licensing authorities open to criticism for something that is currently very difficult for them to control.
In response to this issue this council has subscribed to the national register of hackney carriage and PHV driver licence refusals and revocations, the ‘national register of refusals and revocations’ or NR3. The register will allow licensing authorities to record details of where a hackney carriage or PHV drivers’ licence has been refused or revoked, and allow licensing authorities to check new applicants against the register. This should help to prevent people found to be not fit and proper in one area from securing a licence somewhere else through deception and non-disclosure. For the avoidance of doubt, NR3 does not extend to vehicle or operator licensing decisions.