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Council licensed taxi drivers to continue without criminal record checks due to ‘serious’ error

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Council licensed taxi drivers to continue without criminal record checks due to ‘serious’ error 20th September 2018

Council licensed taxi drivers to continue without criminal record checks due to ‘serious’ error

It has been reported that York Council licensed drivers without doing proper criminal checks.

The report by the council’s third party auditors Veritau said: “the renewal of criminal record checks had not been kept up to date for existing drivers. Checks were out of date by several years and records had not been updated.”

The auditors’ report said that they initially selected at random eight existing hackney carriage and eleven existing private hire driver licences for testing looking to ensure that all of the necessary checks as per the Licensing Policy had been carried out before a driver's licence was issued. Nine of the sample was for licence renewals. A current up to date criminal record check from the DBS was not found for any of these nine. The previous checks that had been carried out were a number of years overdue for five of them, and no details could be found for the other four drivers.

“Following further analysis of all drivers, it was found that at the time of the audit DBS checks had not been refreshed for 789 of the 1049 total drivers. (205 of these have up to date clearance which has been checked by the schools team). A PNC check or CRB check was done when the driver first applied for a licence, but this has not been refreshed. There is a backlog of DBS checks to complete and review. The task of updating and renewing the DBS checks was started in 2017 but was never completed due to staff leaving.”

The audit report did however find that: “For new driver applications … all of the checks as detailed in the Licensing Policy were being carried out. These included checks to insurance documents, immigration and right to work status, medical checks where necessary, knowledge test and driver assessments, and equality and safeguarding training.”

Neil Ferris, corporate director of economy and place at City of York Council, responded by saying:

“We are taking this matter very seriously and have put additional resources in place to clear the remaining DBS checks and have made good progress with this.

We work closely with the police to ensure any drivers who are believed to be of risk are dealt with immediately, regardless of their DBS clearance which only deal with past incidents.

“All drivers dealing with school contracts have been routinely checked.

“Those drivers requiring a check have responded positively and to-date there have been no issues of concern.”

Source: Taxi Point

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