FOI request detail

Freedom of Information request - Unjustified delay in issuing a Private Hire driver's license

Request ID: FOI-0964-2223
Date published: 08 August 2022

You asked

I made an application to become a Private Hire licenced driver on 18 Dec. 2021. The application included all the required documents and payed fees except the DBS check certificate . On 10 March 2022 I successfully passed the topographical assessment. Another DVLA check code requested and was successfully provided and received on 13 June 2022. Today there have been seven months since I ve made the application and four since I ve passed the topographical assessment and because of the unexplained delay I am forced to live in state benefits. Therefore under the freedom of Information Act, I would like to know the following information: 1. What is the average time for a license to be issued to an applicant who has provided on time all the necessary elements and fees without any gaps, missing documents or delays and passed the topograhical test? 2- when is my license going to be issued after I have met all the criteria requested.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-0964-2223/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 21 July 2022 asking for information about Private Hire driver's licenses.

Given the number of applications we receive, and the fact that each one differs depending on the individual circumstances of the applicant, aspects of the licensing process is outside of TfL’s control and that each application is considered on a case-by-case basis, there is no specific timeframe for processing an application. We therefore do not hold information on the time it takes to grant a licence after an applicant has passed the topographical test.

Once we receive a private hire driver application an initial assessment takes place to ensure the required documents have been provided in support of an application and that the mandatory requirements for licensing are met. This stage also includes ensuring an enhanced DBS check has been undertaken by the applicant, which is undertaken by a third party and is outside of the applicant’s or TfL’s control. At this stage there may also be a process of requesting and receiving any missing materials until the application is deemed to be fully complete.

An applicant is then invited to apply for a topographical skills assessment and a safety, equality and regulatory understanding (SERU) assessment (for applications submitted from 1 October 2021). The time taken to complete the assessments depends on a number of factors, including how quickly an applicant books an assessment, the availability of assessments (which have been impacted by nationwide COVID lockdowns) and the applicants ability to meet the required standard, or whether any retest of an assessment is required.

The licence application process is complex, multi-staged and often iterative, which can involve requests for further information or clarity from applicants. There are also a number of elements in the licensing process that are outside of TfL’s control, such as the completion of a DBS check and submission of any required medical information. Therefore, there is no target for when licensing decisions are taken and this depends on individual applications. In each case we need to ensure that an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ to ensure the continued safety of the travelling public. 

For example, the time required to process an application may increase as a consequence of:
  • Applications being submitted but found to be incomplete or inaccurate
  • Checking that an applicant meets the mandatory requirements for licensing, such as the right to work in the U.K, and that they hold the relevant driving licence and driving experience
  • Consideration of the applicant’s medical fitness and whether they meet the DVLA’s Group 2 standard of medical fitness to drive. This may include a full review of the applicant’s medical history by our medical advisors
  • Ensuring that the applicant’s character meets the required standard, including a review of the results of a DBS check
  • The candidate successfully completing the required assessments of their topographical skills and safety, equality and regulatory understanding (SERU)

Further information on the requirements for licensing can be found at the following location:

You can complain to us about the services we provide by sending an email to: [email protected].

We are unable to provide information regarding when your license will be issued, as this is information which relates specifically to you, and personal information is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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