We are responsible for the control and supervision of hackney carriage and private hire trades. It’s our responsibility to ensure the safety of the travelling public and other road users.

We expect all licence holders to be aware of, and comply with, the licence conditions. If things go wrong, enforcement action will be taken to ensure the safety of the public.

This page provides an overview of the regulations and disciplinary policies we use as part of the licensing process.

Why is enforcement action taken?

Enforcement action is usually taken:

  • To protect the public interest
  • To support the policies of the Licensing Committee
  • To respond to individual public or trade complaints
  • To support partnerships with other agencies like the Police and VOSA
  • To complement our corporate enforcement policy

Our first aim is to offer support, ongoing help and advice to licence holders. Enforcement action is secondary to this.

However, without enforcement, standards could lower which could cause an increase in public concern, complaints and dissatisfaction.

The company you work for may have established their own rules or policies to promote and protect the image of the trade. While a breach of such rules will normally be dealt with by the company concerned, it may also lead to complaints being made about your conduct which could result in us taking disciplinary action against you.

The role of officers

Our licensing staff are all “authorised officers” for the purposes of the acts that regulate the conduct of licence holders.

You have a clear legal duty to offer assistance and information to each officer. You must not obstruct or give false information (such as if you’re asked to make a statement or to provide information) – this is a serious offence.

What can an officer do?

The officers all have the power to give any of the following disciplinary measures:

  • Verbal warning
  • Written warning
  • Points
  • Appearance before the Licensing Sub-Committee
  • Caution or prosecution authorisation

The officer dealing with you will give clear and simple guidance on any matter of concern and will explain why action has been taken. This will be either verbally, in writing or both.

Sometimes you may receive requests to provide information (for example vehicle documents or driving licence) or produce your vehicle for a spot check. You must not ignore these requests.

We (or any Police Officer) can suspend vehicle licences immediately if we’re not satisfied as to the fitness of a vehicle. We can also immediately suspend or revoke driver licences if considered appropriate and in the interests of public safety. The Licensing Committee can also decide to revoke or refuse to renew a licence.

If you are asked to appear before the Committee then you will be told clearly of the procedures to deal with disciplinary cases.

If you disagree with the action taken

If you are unhappy with any enforcement action, contact the Licensing Manager or Principal Licensing Officers in the first instance. They will review the case. If you are still not satisfied then we will give you further advice about progressing your complaint.

Your conditions of licence

Conditions maintain and regulate acceptable standards of conduct. Licences are granted and renewed subject to conditions.

Licence conditions don’t usually change, but we do have the power to amend conditions from time to time. If we do, we always consult with the trade and other stakeholders about the proposed changes before asking the Licensing Committee to adopt the new conditions. Conditions must be:

  • reasonable
  • enforceable
  • in the public interest

If a breach of condition is an offence at law then we may prosecute offenders. All prosecution files are considered on individual merit and we might issue a simple caution. The Licensing Manager and Principal Licensing Officers are authorised to recommend prosecutions on behalf of the Council. We will advise you of your legal rights.

As a licence holder you usually have a right of appeal to the Magistrates’ Court if you are unhappy with conditions imposed on respective operator, vehicle or driver licences. Other disciplinary measures (like the points system) are local initiatives. They don’t form part of your conditions of licence but are used as a tool to enforce the approved conditions.

Points and prosecution can be used together in some circumstances.

The penalty points system

We use a penalty point system. This is used as a fast track method to deal with:

  • Licence holders breaching conditions
  • Non-compliance with the licensing legislation
  • General unsatisfactory conduct
  • Sanctions following complaints from the public, other road users and the trade about the conduct of drivers

Points are issued as a formal way to deal with enforcement concerns, but officers may take other action if necessary. Points may be awarded as a final sanction or given together with a verbal and written warning. Equally, we may also consider prosecution if it’s an option for the offence under investigation.

If points are awarded, there is no financial penalty and a licence holder may continue to work. However, if a licence holder gets a certain amount of points within a 12 month period, there is likely to be a hearing before the sub-committee. The limits for each type of licence are:

  • Hackney carriage driver – 10 points
  • Private hire driver – 10 points
  • Hackney carriage vehicle – 10 points
  • Private hire vehicle – 10 points
  • Private hire operator – 40 points

The following tables list different offences, and how many points may be awarded for each offence

General and driver matters

OffencePenalty points - driverPenalty points - vehiclePenalty points - operator
Failure to notify change of address or other contact details222
False declaration on application or renewal of licence444
Failure to notify criminal or motoring charges, convictions or failure to produce documents upon request444
Failure to behave in a civil and orderly manner to customers or other road users by reason of abusive/foul language or gestures600
Failure to behave in a civil and orderly manner to customers or other road users by reason of threatening behaviour 600
Failure to behave in a civil and orderly manner to customers or other road users by reason of poor driving600
Failure to behave in a civil and orderly manner to customers or other road users by reason of violence1000
Failure to display badge or return same on request of authorised officer 400
Overdue medical, DBS, drug screening202
Driver smoking in vehicle (including e-cigarettes)200
Obstruction of authorised officer444
Failure to abide by company dress code or to be clean and tidy in appearance400
Refusal to carry passengers without reasonable excuse400
Refusal to carry passengers with wheelchair or by reason of disability10010
Refusal to carry guide or assistance dog10010
Carrying more passengers than permitted by vehicle licence600
Illegal ranking400
Standing or plying for hire402
Unattended hackney carriage on taxi stand200
Failure to convey or assist with luggage200
Failure to report lost property600

Vehicle matters

OffencePenalty points - driverPenalty points - vehiclePenalty points - operator
Failure to properly display vehicle licence plate420
Failure to display vehicle licence windscreen disc420
Failure to return licence place at request of authorised officer040
Failure to report accident damage within 72 hours040
Failure to produce vehicle documents to include insurance, registration document and/or certificate of compliance 060
Permitting no insurance0100
No "White book" in vehicle020
Unauthorised notices or company window stickers either inside or outside the vehicle 044
Failure to notify transfer of vehicle licence within 14 days040
Failure to carry byelaws in vehicle240
Failure to display tariff of fares or to conceal same420
Defective or unsealed taxi meter240
Defective TAXI top light220
Faded TAXI top light or livery220
Out of date tax060
Vehicle not clean, well maintained or comfortable422
Illegal tyres (points for each tyre)410
Defective CCTV020
Failure to attend mechanical inspection060
Late cancellation of mechanical inspection060
Use of vehicle without a current certificate of compliance0100

Operator matters

OffencePenalty points - driverPenalty points - vehiclePenalty points - operator
Failure to keep proper records or bookings004
Unauthorised vehicle livery004
Failure to display prescribed vehicle livery (driver or proprietor)440