A Guide to DBS Checks for Taxi Drivers
Safeguarding taxi passengers is important, especially as people are often left alone with a taxi driver. However, the process of getting a taxi driver DBS Check can be quite complex.
To help you get it right and make sure that you are clear on what level of DBS Check to get, we have created this mini-guide on how to apply for DBS checks for taxi drivers.
A Brief History of Taxi Driver DBS Checks
Let’s start with a bit of background on taxi driver DBS Checks. The Police Act 1997 was amended by the UK government in 2012 to include regulations that made it a requirement for taxi and public hire vehicle (PHV) drivers to get Enhanced DBS Checks in certain circumstances.
The purpose of the amendments were to minimise any risk to passengers and improve their safety when hiring a taxi ride. Before the changes to the legislation were made, the only taxi drivers that were eligible for Enhanced DBS Checks were those frequently transporting children or vulnerable adults.
DBS Checks for Taxi Drivers – Eligibility Criteria
People who apply to drive taxis and PHVs need to first get a license. Before issuing a license, the licensing body will ask the applicant to submit an application for an Enhanced DBS Check, along with a barred list check that includes children and adults. In other words, the license applicant must complete the highest possible level of DBS Check.
In normal circumstances, to qualify for an Enhanced DBS Check with a barred list check, the applicant must be involved in a regulated activity. Driving a taxi or PHV is an exception to this, as it is not a regulated activity, but the highest level of check is still required, due to the nature of the job.
Drivers are unable to apply for an Enhanced DBS Check individually, they must submit their application through the licensing body who will verify the details and ID documents before sending it to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
On the Enhanced DBS Check application form, the driver must choose the option that says “Other Workforce”, as it will make a difference to the details that show up on the DBS certificate when it is issued.
DBS Checks for Taxi Drivers that Transport Children
Most taxi drivers will transport children as part of their day-to-day job at some point, but if it is only occasionally done as part of their normal licensed taxi driving, then it isn’t considered to be a regulated activity. This is true even in cases where the child is alone.
It only becomes a regulated activity if the taxi driver transports a child or children in their vehicle more frequently than three times within a thirty day period. The child may be supervised or unaccompanied for this to be the case.
For example, a taxi driver that has signed a contract with a local education authority or school to transport students to and from the school building, then this will be considered a regulated activity and will qualify for the highest level of DBS Check.
In the example above, the school or local authority will be responsible for verifying and submitting the application to the DBS on the taxi driver’s behalf.
However, it should be noted that if a taxi driver happens to be hired by a parent to drive their child into school, then this will not count as a regulated activity as it is just a standard part of their normal work day and is not likely to be a frequent occurrence.
Taxi Driver DBS Checks for Those Transporting Adults
In the case of taxi drivers carrying passengers that are adults, there is guidance from the Department of Health that states that this will not be considered as a regulated activity. This means that the taxi driver won’t need an Enhanced DBS Check with barred list.
The taxi driver may still need an Enhanced DBS Check, but the barred list is only necessary for regulated activities. If a licensed taxi driver is frequently carrying vulnerable adults that are under the care of the health services or social support, then the Police Act 1997 (criminal record) amendment says that they will need an Enhanced DBS Check, but without a barred list check.
In this case, referred to by the DBS as “work with adults”, the word “frequently” is defined as:
- More than 3 times over a 30-day time span
- Overnight, between the hours of 2am and 6am in direct contact
Summary of DBS Checks for Taxi and PHV Drivers
Taxi drivers that transport children frequently will need to get an Enhanced DBS Check with children’s barred list check.
Taxi drivers that transport vulnerable adults often only require an Enhanced DBS Check, without a barred list check.
If you want to find out more about DBS Checks for taxi drivers and public hire vehicle drivers (minibuses, private coaches, etc.) then please get in touch with one of our advisors today.