Dear Mr Thomas,
Thank you for your email to the Commissioner, Sir Peter has asked that I respond on his behalf.
I am aware of the impact that the delays in the Home Office’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checking system are having on taxi drivers and understand the difficulties faced by drivers unable to work.
TfL and the Mayor have made strenuous efforts at Ministerial level to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible. We also took the decision to start issuing license renewal packs to drivers four months in advance of drivers' licenses expiring. Since October, the number of outstanding disclosure applications from London taxi drivers renewing their licences has significantly decreased. The DBS now reports that the number of such applications that have been with them for more than 45 days has reduced by 60 per cent. We will continue to work with the Home Office and the DBS to reduce all the backlogs further and eliminate the risk of taxi drivers not being able to work.
TfL has made the decision that we must be fully aware of a driver’s criminal history before issuing a license, on the grounds of public safety. We have in fact identified a small number of cases where, had we issued temporary licences in the absence of DBS checks, it would have resulted in TfL licensing drivers with the types of criminal records that would have prevented them from holding a licence.
I hope you find this helpful.
Managing Director – Surface Transport
From: Jim Thomas [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 19 December 2013 01:06
To: Hendy Peter (TfL)
Cc: Daniels Leon; Gareth Thomas; Navin Shah;Caroline.Pidgeon@london.gov.uk
Subject: Drivers renewals delays, causing financial hardship.