St Helens taxi driver information to be sent to national database

Lorraine Simpson, St Helens Councils licensing manager, told councillors the database is imperative given some of the historic issues around cross-border working
Lorraine Simpson, St Helens Councils licensing manager, told councillors the database is imperative given some of the historic issues around cross-border working

Taxi and private hire drivers licensed in St Helens will have their details added to a national database set up to protect passengers.


Changes to the law in 2015 has meant some drivers with a private-hire licence have been able to operate anywhere in England and Wales.

Subsequently, if drivers do not disclose information about a previous revocation or refusal of a licence, local authorities often have no way to find this information out.

“This has been a particular problem in the industry since the introduction of the Deregulation Act in 2015, which has presented a real risk in terms of safeguarding the public, including vulnerable transport users,” a new St Helens Council report says.

In response, the government commissioned the Local Government Association (LGA) to produce a national database for local authorities, which is hosted by the National Anti-Fraud Network (NAFN).

The register went live in 2018 and enables local authorities to record details of when a driver or vehicle licence has been refused, revoked or suspended,

Other local authorities can then check new applicants against the register.

The council report says take up has been slow from local authorities due to the large amount of work required to join the system.

Lorraine Simpson, the council’s licensing manager, told councillors this week the database is “imperative” for St Helens, given some of the historic issues around cross-border working.

Ms Simpson told the licensing and environmental protection committee the council is signed up to the database and is aiming to go live in November.

In preparation, more than 1,200 letters have been sent to previous and existing drivers, informing them of the council’s intention to submit their data to the NAFN database, should there be a need to do so.

Labour’s David Banks, chairman of the licensing and environmental protection committee, said the move was a “step forward”.

Coun Banks said: “When the 2015 Deregulation Act came in, I thought that we actually took three steps back with the cross-border issue.

“But this is putting things more in place now and I think this will be very useful going forward.”