A hire driver licence is required before any person can drive a Private Hire vehicle or Hackney Carriage. North Kesteven District Council (NKDC) issues a combined licence, which allows applicants to drive either type of vehicle.
The Council has adopted a policy for taxi licensing; applicants are strongly advised to make themselves familiar with that policy before making an application. The policy gives details about how we deal with applications, it can be found in the Downloads box.
Licences are generally issued for a period of 3 years, there are exceptions for drivers who require annual medical checks (see below).
Before we grant a licence the applicant must satisfy the Council that:
- He/she is a fit and proper person to hold a licence;
- He/she has a legal right to work and hold a licence in the UK;
- He/she has successfully completed Safeguarding Training and signed up to the Code of Conduct;
- Is medically fit;
- Has attained the age of 18 years;
- Has held a full UK car driver’s licence (not provisional) for at least twelve months prior to the application.
The Council requires applicants and licence holders to undergo criminal record checks, have a medical examination and have checks made on their driving history with the DVLA. You will need to sit a knowledge test designed to assess basic literacy, numeracy and knowledge of local roads and landmarks. There is a fee of £25 per test.
It is a legal requirement that all of the licences, including a driver’s licence, required to operate a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle must be issued by the same local authority. NKDC will not normally grant a hire driver licence unless it has received information regarding the vehicle which the applicant intends to use. The Council may also require additional information regarding the intended use, including the geographical area of operation, of any licensed hackney carriage.
Right to a Licence Checks
The law requires us to check every applicant’s right to work in the UK. This may include checking immigration status with the Home Office. All applicants must therefore provide a document or document combination suitable for this check. The list of documents can be found in the Downloads section of this page. The right to work check will be conducted by us at a face to face meeting with the applicant. We will need to see the original document(s), such as a passport or biometric residence permit so that the check can take place. We will retain copies of any documents produced for checking.
Where an applicant has restrictions on the length of time they may work in the UK we cannot issue a licence for any longer than this period. In these circumstances the right to work check will be repeated each time you apply to renew or extend your licence.
Criminal record checks
Applicants will undergo a criminal record check to enhanced level with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to ensure that public safety is not compromised. We will not be able to proceed with an application until the check has been returned to us by the DBS. This process can take up to 6 weeks.
NKDC conduct DBS checks on a 6-monthly basis so it is highly recommended that, on first licensing, the licence holder signs up to the DBS Update Service. This will enable the Licensing Team to conduct an online check to be conducted every 6 months (as long as the DBS update account remains active).
If the licence holder down not wish to sign up to the DBS Update Service, they will be required to complete a DBS application every 6 months and pay the relevant application fee.
Criminal Record checks for school contracts
Applicants who also intend to seek school contract work with Lincolnshire County Council Passenger Transport Unit will need to undergo a separate DBS check with them, this is because their checks have to be completed to different levels and the results cannot be shared between different organisations.
Hire Drivers Code of Conduct and Safeguarding Training
All new applicants and all existing drivers upon renewal will be required to sign up to and abide by the Code of Conduct. All new applicants and all existing drivers will be expected to complete a Safeguarding Awareness training module as a prerequisite to making their application or continuing to hold a licence.
Applicants must submit a medical report from their GP, this can be submitted with the application or subsequently once the various other checks have been completed; the application will not proceed without a valid medical report. Further medicals will be required every 6 years, or annually for drivers over 65. Drivers over 65 will have the option of having either a 3 year or an annual hire driver licence.
Applicants will be required to give their consent for us to check their driving history with the DVLA. The check will be done on first application and annually thereafter.
Hackney carriage drivers need a good working knowledge of the area for which they are licensed, because they can be hired directly at ranks or on the street. The Council also considers it necessary for private hire drivers to know the local area.
Applicants are required to undertake a test of basic reading, writing, arithmetic, and a test to challenge their knowledge of the area within the district of North Kesteven and the wider Lincolnshire area.
Applicants will be allowed three attempts to pass the tests which are usually held every Wednesday. After three failed attempts the application will be deemed unsuccessful and they will have to wait 12 months before making a further application.
Making an application
To obtain an application pack, contact us by telephone or email, call in to our customer service centre or download a PDF copy of the application and guidance notes - available under the ‘Downloads’ tab. Prospective applicants should contact the licensing team before making an application. Every application is different and will depend upon a number of matters such as:
- Whether or not an applicant meets the fit and proper test.
- Whether the applicant has a legal right to work in the UK;
- Spent convictions, including motoring fines, driving licence penalty points and fixed penalty tickets, will be taken into account but will not necessarily debar you from gaining a licence unless the authority considers that the conviction renders you unsuitable.
- Medical conditions
- Having held a full UK/European driving licence for at least 12 months
The licensing team will discuss the application process and answer any questions in strict confidence.
Once the application form is complete, the applicant must contact the Licensing Team and make an appointment to attend our offices in Sleaford. We cannot guarantee to see people who attend without an appointment.
Applicants must bring with them:
- Completed application form and DBS application.
- Identity documents to accompany DBS application.
- Prescribed identity documents for immigration status checks.
- Safeguarding training Certificates issued by the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children and Adults Boards.
- Medical Report – with declaration signed by examining Doctor.
- DVLA Mandate – signed by applicant.
- DVLA driving licence photo card showing applicant’s address.
- Passport (if issued)
- Passport sized photograph
- Current fee
- Documentary proof of National Insurance number such as:
- Recent Payslip.
- Recent Pension statement.
- Any documentation from the Department for Work & Pensions.
- P45, P60 or any documentation from HM Revenue & Customs.
- Alternatively contact the National Insurance Contributions Office on 0845 915 7006 who may be able to provide documentary evidence of your National Insurance Number.
You must bring proof of your National Insurance number. Failure to provide this may result in your application being rejected or delayed. If you do not have a national insurance number, checks will be carried out to make sure you are entitled to work in this country.
Applications will not be processed without production of all of the above.
Further information relating to the supporting documentation and checks to be undertaken can be found in the Downloads box, and in the application pack.
If you have any questions about the application process or encounter any difficulties completing the forms, contact the Licensing Team.
Make a Hackney carriage/ private hire vehicles complaint
Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles play a vital part in an integrated transport system, within our District. They provide services in situations where other forms of transport are not available and are a vital means of transport for people who may not be able to easily access other forms of public transport.
All hire vehicles, drivers and Operators undergo a series of checks relating to safety, fitness and propriety, with the overriding primary concern being the safety of the public.
The Department of Transport requires Licensing Authorities to publish details of how members of the public can notify any complaints about the service they receive.
In the first instance, and where it is appropriate, complaints should be directed to the driver/owner or vehicle operator. Where this is not possible, or appropriate, the following procedure can be followed.
- Any allegation of criminality should be reported to the Police, as they have primacy in all matters relating to such allegations
- Any general complaints and allegations should be directed to the Licensing Team at NKDC
Full detail of the complaints process can be located at Appendix O of the Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing policy.
Reports can be made using the online form or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All reports are required to include the name and contact details of the person(s) making the report and as much information relating to the complaint as possible. This should include, but is not limited to:
- Time, date and place of the incident
- Vehicle and or driver details, including licence details if known
- Details of the booking or journey arrangements and any contact numbers