FOI request detail

DBS checks

Request ID: FOI-1350-1718
Date published: 21 September 2017

You asked

Please can you provide all correspondence between TfL (TfLTPH) and Onfido (your approved DBS checking company). Between the dates of - September 2016 to September 2017.

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-1241-1718, FOI-1271-1718, FOI-1280-1718, FOI-1350-1718

Thank you for your emails.

Your requests have been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require. You asked for:


Please could you provide me with all correspondence between TfL and The Metropolitan Police Cab Enforcement Unit between the dates, 1st January 2015 and 1st February 2016.


Please can you provide all correspondence between TfLTPH and Onfido. Between the dates of - September 2016 to September 2017.

Unfortunately, to provide the information you have requested in both of the above two requests would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees Regulations 2004).

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a request if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. This is calculated at £25 per hour for every hour spent on the activities described.

We have determined that there are several thousand emails that potentially fit within the scope of the above requests combined. These emails would each need to be manually reviewed to determine whether they are caught by your requests. Many of the hits are likely to be not relevant, duplicates, due to emails being repeated within email chains, as well as emails being forwarded internally for discussion during this time period. Therefore the actual number of emails covered by your request will be a sub-set of these hits. However, locating those that are relevant would require us to manually review all of them to determine whether the email, or email chain, is relevant to your request and then we would need to extract and compile all of those that meet your request

It should also be noted that our email search facility does not determine searches by department and so we can not run a remote search on “TfLTPH” but would need to conduct a search of the entire email archive across the full organisation and then manually review the results to determine which of the results were sent to/from individuals employed within the Taxi & Private Hire directorate at the time you have specified. A review of the results found within a search in FOI-1350-1718 has shown that the vast majority of these emails are likely to be in relation to building and facilities management of office space that is utilised by Onfido. Additionally, for FOI-1241-1718 we have no way of separating correspondence to/from the Metropolitan Police Cab Enforcement Unit from all other correspondence between TfL and other Met Police units other than to manually review the emails individually.

We have therefore estimated that it would considerably exceed the cost limit to provide a response to your requests. To help bring the cost of responding to your request within the £450 limit, you may wish to consider narrowing its scope so that we can more easily locate, retrieve and extract the information you are seeking. For example you may wish to focus your request to specific individuals. Please note that we do have the option to issue a refusal notice in relation to the aggregated cost limit, and we are mindful of the fact that you have submitted a total of seven requests within a 60 working day period. Therefore, please be aware that this may be taken into account for any further requests.

However, as your other outstanding requests have not incurred any notable processing time we provide our response to these below.


1) The number of Private Hire drivers that have had their licenses revoked in the last 12 months.

2) The reasons for these revocations.

Between August 2016 and August 2017, 558 private hire driver licences were revoked.

When we are notified by the police of an allegation against a Transport for London (TfL) licensed taxi or private hire driver, we immediately assess whether there is a risk to public safety. We may immediately suspend the driver's licence prior to charge or conviction, if we believe the individual is not 'fit and proper' based on the initial evidence.

The driver will remain suspended until we receive the results of the police investigation and any court outcomes. In some cases, we may revoke a driver's licence immediately, irrespective of the results of the police investigation and subsequent court proceedings.

This information is subject to change given the outcome of any legal proceedings.

The reasons for revocation are listed below:

Allegations of crime or misconduct


Medical not returned/driver does not meet medical requirements


Complaints/compliance breaches


Right to live and work in the UK status changed




3) The amount of these revoked drivers that provided a 'certificate of good character' and did not undergo a full DBS check.

4) The number of PH drivers convicted of sexual assault misdemeanours that only provided a 'certificate of good character'.

All drivers licensed by TfL have undertaken an enhanced DBS check prior to becoming licensed and in advance of any decision to renew their licence. Therefore we do not hold information in relation to questions three and four of your request.

If a driver has lived in a country other than the UK for one or more periods of three months or more in the last three years, they will also be required to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct issued by the relevant country. This certificate would be produced in addition to them undertaking an enhanced DBS check. A driver would not be granted a licence by TfL if they only provide a Certificate of Good Conduct.


1) All correspondence between Uber and TfL (TfLTPH) regarding the issue of Uber's relicensing (in May and September)

2) All information TfL can supply as to the reasons Uber were only given a 4 month operators license.

The correspondence I require is between April 1st 2017 and August 28th 2017.

In accordance with the FOI Act, we are not obliged to supply the information requested as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 30(2)(iii) as the information is held in accordance with our responsibility for regulating the private hire trade in London. This information contains details which otherwise wouldn’t have been made available to TfL and the exemption applies to protect our ability to clarify and confirm details on specific issues.

This benefits the public as it enables greater oversight and better scrutiny of services by the regulator because proactive discussion avoids costly enforcement activity, delayed access to information and increased bureaucracy.

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise that there is significant public interest in this matter, however we feel the balance of the public interest supports the exemption in order to enable the effective and timely sharing of information between ourselves and the taxi and private hire trade.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

Yours sincerely

Lee Hill

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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