Do I have to wait for my licence before I can start driving?

Yes, if it is a new grant.

No, if it is for a renewal. Your old licence covers you until we reach a decision on your application for renewal, provided it has been submitted correctly before the expiry. Late applications received after the expiry date will be rejected and a new application will be required - this will require a driving assessment, medical, new DBS and DVLA check (from 1 January 2019 this will also include a knowledge and competency test and safeguarding training) before you can start driving again.

Who decides whether or not I can have a licence in Huntingdon?

Huntingdonshire District Council is the licensing authority for the Huntingdonshire area and it is the council’s Licensing Committee that deals with licensing matters. Where the application indicates matters that are outside of the current licensing policy, for example criminal convictions, then the application will be referred to the Licensing Committee.

However, if the information submitted as part of the application and subsequent checks give no cause for concern, the application will normally be granted. Every application is considered on its own merit.

What is the difference between a vehicle and a driver's licence?

A vehicle licence is for the vehicle to be used as either a private hire or hackney carriage. It is referred to as a vehicle licence. A driver's licence is for the person who will be driving the vehicle

What is the difference between a taxi driver’s licence and a private hire driver’s licence?

A taxi driver’s licence permits a taxi to be flagged down in the street, as well as being pre-booked. A private hire driver’s licence does not permit the driver to be flagged down in the street - instead, the vehicle must be booked in advance through an operator licensed with Huntingdonshire District Council.

As a taxi driver, can I pick up passengers anywhere?

Taxis (hackney carriages) can be hailed in the street or for pick up from taxi ranks only within the Huntingdonshire district area. Private hire cars must be pre-booked and cannot be hailed in the street.

If I am applying for a licence, will you do any checks on me?

Yes. We issue dual licences (private hire and hackney carriage driver licences combined) so, if you are applying for a licence, we will check that you are a fit and proper person to hold a licence with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - this will be an enhanced check. We also check with the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

What if I already have a DBS check?

If your DBS check is an enhanced check for taxi driver/other workforce and is less than 3 months old, we will accept it as valid

If you have signed up to the DBS update service and can provide us with your update reference details, we will accept this.

What if I signed up for the update service but don't have my details any more?

If this is the case you will be required to do a new DBS check.

What convictions do I have to declare?

No convictions cautions or warnings are ever spent if you are applying for a driver licence. Therefore, if you have had any conviction, caution or warning in the past you MUST tick yes on the application form.

If I have points on my licence can I get a driver's licence with Huntingdonshire District Council?

This will depend on how many points and over how long. In general, an isolated incident of 3 points on your current DVLA licence would not affect any application. Applicants with 6 or more points will be referred to either a senior officer or a committee for a decision.

Where there are other convictions, cautions or warnings along with any points, a decision will be made taking all information into account.

I am licensed in another borough - can I drive a vehicle licensed by Huntingdonshire?

No, you need a licence with Huntingdonshire to drive a vehicle licensed by us

How long will it take for me to get my licence?

The length of time can vary significantly as we have to wait for the DBS check to be completed and returned.

Once we have all the information we need to make a decision to grant/refuse or refer the licence for a decision at a committee, we will endeavour to let you know within 10 working days.

What can I do if my application is refused?

Any applicant who has a licence refused or revoked has a right of appeal within 21 days of the decision. The council cannot provide guidance on making an appeal. We advise you to seek your own independent legal advice about this.

What happens after my application is granted?

You will receive a call, text or email advising that your application has been granted and is ready for collection from our Huntingdon Office. New applicants will be required to pay for the licence when collection is made.

Am I still licensed to drive a taxi/private hire car if I applied for my renewal in time, but it’s now expired and I haven’t had my renewal licence yet?

Yes. You can continue to drive with your old licence until we make a decision on your renewal application provided your application was submitted and complete before the expiry date of the current licence. If an application is submitted after the expiry date it will be returned and a new application must be submitted. This will mean that you will need to comply with all conditions relating to new applicants.

What’s the position for taxi/private hire drivers regarding carrying guide dogs?

Drivers are under a duty to carry guide, hearing and other prescribed assistance dogs in their taxis, without additional charge.

Drivers who have a medical condition that is aggravated by exposure to dogs may apply to their licensing authority for exemption from the duty on medical grounds. Any other driver who fails to comply with the duty is guilty of a criminal offence.

Are there conditions attached to the licence?

Yes. There are standard conditions attached to all taxi and private hire driver licences. View the Taxi Policy and Conditions - these are also sent out with the letter issuing your licence.

Why do I need to meet Group 2 DVLA medical standards?

Group 2 medical standards are standards developed by the DVLA for drivers of certain types of vehicle. Those are mainly lorry and bus drivers. However, Huntingdonshire District Council considers the role of a licensed driver to be a professional occupation carrying passengers and therefore safety is paramount. To ensure that medical fitness is considered we apply Group 2 medical standards to taxi/private hire drivers.

What if I become ill or my health worsens during this time?

As part of our licensing conditions we require you to self-disclose any matters that may arise during the period of any licence.

Can I use my own doctor?

Yes, you can choose to see your own GP. You, the applicant, are responsible for the cost of the medical.

The GP and/or any optician/optometrist should use the medical form supplied as part of the application.

How recent should the medical report be?

The report should be included with the licence application and should not be more than 6 months old.

What happens where the doctor’s assessment needs me to have follow-up checks?

If follow up medical issues are identified as part of the medical report then further investigation may be needed, including where:

  • the applicant fails to meet Group 2 visual standards - he/she may be referred to their optician for corrective action. In this case, the applicant will simply be asked to forward confirmation from the optician that eyesight has been corrected and that the person remains fit to drive. A copy of the receipt for the spectacles and a copy of the eye test should be forwarded to the council’s licensing section.

  • the medical professional identifies a need to review the applicant in a defined period but confirms that the applicant is fit to drive in the meantime - then no further action will be taken by the council.

  • the medical professional identifies a need for the applicant to undergo a further medical test before it can be determined whether the applicant meets Group 2 medical standards - then each case will be assessed individually.

Why can’t I have a taxi/private hire driver licence if I haven’t held a DVLA licence for a minimum of 12 months at the time I apply?

It is a requirement of the Local Government  Miscellaneous provisions) Act 1976 that any applicant must have held a full driving licence for a period of more than 12 months.

What do I need to include with my application for grant of a taxi driver or private hire driver licence?

Before bringing any documents to the council you will need to have started the online DBS check by filling in your personal details. Then, when making your application you will need: 

  • your application form

  • your driving pass certificate issued by Blue Lamp Trust

  • our Group 2 medical signed and completed by a GP

  • a passport-style photo

  • your completed DVLA check code

  • to bring in documentation as identified online by Carecheck so that we can verify your criminal records check (DBS). An enhanced check is required.

From 1 January 2019 a knowledge and competency test and safeguarding training will be introduced for all applicants. We will provide further information when we have finalised the details.

Can I bring my documents in as I get them?

No. We will only accept your application when you have all the documentation as detailed above. Incomplete applications will be returned.

Do I have to show you that I have the right to work in the UK?

Yes. You will need to bring documents in, including a passport-style photo. Please see our website for the list of acceptable documents. Checks under the Immigration Act 2016 are now the law and every licensing authority is required to make these.

Can I get further information?

If you have any further questions about the application process, the Licensing Team will be happy to help you. Please note that while the team can provide guidance, they cannot offer you legal advice. You can contact us by email at licensing@huntingdonshire.gov.uk.