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Private Hire Operators

Private hire operator licence

A private hire operator's licence is required to enable a person to accept or invite bookings for private hire vehicles.

Any firm which uses private hire vehicles, and takes bookings for journeys, must be licensed as a private hire operator. Firms which only use hackney carriage vehicles do not need an operator’s licence.

Operators licensed by St Albans Council can only use vehicles and drivers licensed by the council.

One person can be licensed and employ/sub-contract an unlimited number of licensed vehicles. However, a licensed private hire driver cannot accept any bookings unless they either hold a licensed private hire operator.

Members of the public have initial contact with the operator and make the contract with them even if the operator does not provide the vehicle and/or the driver.

Before an operator's licence is granted the applicant must satisfy the council that the address from which they intend to operate is suitable and, where applicable, satisfy any conditions that maybe attached to the licence in order not to disturb the ambience of the area.

If you are a vehicle proprietor you may work for any existing operator. However, if you wish to apply for your own licence to operate from premises which will be used as a booking office, you need to obtain planning permission from the council allowing use of the building.

Deregulation Act 2015 – Changes to Private Hire Sub Contracting Toggle accordion

Since 1st October 2015 Private Hire Operators have been allowed to subcontract bookings to Private Hire Operators licensed in other council areas. Previously they were only permitted to subcontract to other Private Hire Operators in the same council area as them.  

Where a booking has been subcontracted, it must be completed by a vehicle and driver licensed by the same council as the operator who has received the subcontracted booking.

For example, if a Watford based operator subcontracts a booking to a St Albans operator, the booking must be carried out by a driver and vehicle licensed by St Albans City and District Council. If a St Albans based operator sub-contracts a booking to a Watford operator, the booking must be carried out by a driver and vehicle licensed by Watford Borough Council. 

If you are licensed as a private hire driver by St Albans City and District Council, you may only take bookings given to you by a licensed St Albans operator. St Albans private hire drivers can only drive private hire vehicles licensed by St Albans City and District Council - this remains unchanged. You may not go and work for operators in other areas without a licence from that Local Authority.

If you are a St Albans licensed Private Hire Operator, you may subcontract work to, and accept subcontracted work from, licensed Private Hire Operators in other districts.  If you do so you must record the full details in your records for each individual booking. 

However, for bookings in St Albans District you may only give them directly to drivers and vehicles licensed in St Albans District. You may not give St Albans District bookings directly to drivers licensed by other councils.  

 

Apply for an operator licence Toggle accordion

To apply for an operator licence, you need to submit your completed application to:

licensing@stalbans.gov.uk

For an operator licence a complete application must include:

  • A completed and signed copy of the operator application form
  • Basic Disclosure Check for each applicant.
  • A recent (taken at the time of application) photograph (head and neck only)
  • Copy of your public liability insurance
  • List of licensed drivers engaged/employed to drive and any vehicle operated by you
  • Fee payment of £700
  • Evidence of your - and any other applicants' - right to work in the UK

The council has a duty to ensure that only those persons who are entitled to work in the UK are issued a licence to act as an operator. For this reason all applicants must provide evidence to show that they are entitled to work in the UK, and that there are no restrictions on the work that you can do. You must produce your original proof of your right to work in person to a licensing officer. You will need to contact the licensing team to fix up an appointment to do this.

Applications will not be accepted without production of the above.

Once a new application is submitted you will then be booked on our Operator Training day. The cost of this is £65.

Once your application has been accepted, the relevant checks will take place, if successful the licence will be issued.

If we grant the licence, it will be valid for 5 years

Once you have your licence, you will need to ensure you comply with your private hire operator conditions.

Tacit consent does not apply. We must grant your application before you can start operating.

Renew your operator licence Toggle accordion

To renew for an operator licence, you need to submit your completed application to:

licensing@stalbans.gov.uk

You must apply to renew your licence at least 28 days before your licence expires.

For an operator licence a complete application must include:

  • A completed and signed copy of the operator application form
  • Evidence of your - and any other applicants' - right to work in the UK
  • Basic Disclosure Check for each applicant.
  • A recent (taken at the time of application) photograph (head and neck only)
  • Copy of your public liability insurance
  • List of licensed drivers engaged/employed to drive and any vehicle operated by you
  • Certificate of completion of the Equality Act 2010 and safeguarding refresher training.
  • Fee payment of £700
  • Applications will not be accepted without production of the above.

Once your application has been accepted, the relevant checks will take place, if successful the licence will be issued.

A decision will then be made on your renewal application.

If we grant the licence, it will be valid for 5 years

Once you have your licence, you will need to ensure you comply with your private hire operator conditions.

Tacit consent does not apply. We must grant your application before you can start operating.

HMRC: Mandatory Tax checks at renewal Toggle accordion

From 4th April 2022 licensing authorities will have to carry out checks on applications from individuals, companies and any type of partnership to make sure they have completed a tax check.

The rules will apply to renewal applications for:

  • hackney carriage driver licences
  • private hire driver licences
  • private hire vehicle operator licences
  • scrap metal site licences
  • scrap metal collector licences

 

From the above date we will not be able to accept renewal applications unless we are provided with a valid Tax check code. You will be able to complete this tax check on GOV.UK, using your Government Gateway account.

If you don’t have a Government Gateway account then you are advised to create one now in preparation for your next renewal. This can be done by registering for HMRC Online Services:  https://www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services

For those without access to the online system HMRC will be providing a telephone support via 0300 200 3310.

 

The Tax Check system is now live and can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/complete-a-tax-check-for-a-taxi-private-hire-or-scrap-metal-licence

The Tax Check code will be valid for 120 days so you are advised to obtain it in plenty of time for use at renewal. By way of an example if you will be renewing your licence prior to 14th July 2022 you could apply for your tax check code now and it would still be valid when you renew.

The process of completing a check will be simple and should only take minutes and please rest assured that we, as the Licensing Authority, will not have access to any of your tax information.

Below are links to the current HMRC information which explains what you need to do and what is required of us as the licensing authority:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/licence-application-tax-check-communications-resources/tax-check-factsheet

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/changes-when-dealing-with-taxi-private-hire-or-scrap-metal-licence-applications-from-april-2022

 

Application information Toggle accordion

Application form

You can download the application pack here.

Payment

You can make payment for your application here.

Equality Act 2010 and safeguarding refresher training Toggle accordion

All drivers and operators renewing their licence will need to complete a refresher course on the Equality Act 2010 and safeguarding upon every renewal. The refresher training must be completed before your renewal application can be granted. You do not have to attend the refresher training before submitting your renewal application.

This training course aims at refreshing your current knowledge as well as insuring you have all the up to date information. The course will take 2-3 hours to complete, and can be accessed at any time. The cost of the training is £40 and payable by the applicant.

To accesses the training please visit the below link:

https://unifiedtransportsystems.co.uk/course/driver-training/advanced-professional-driver-level-2/

You will have to enter the password: StAlbans2021 

All licences will be granted with our standard conditions. We will also consider your application in line with our guidelines for the grant, suspension and revocation of hackney carriage driver, private hire driver and operator licences. For information on licensing conditions and suitability please see our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy Toggle accordion

The Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy was adopted by the Licensing & Regulatory Committee on 26th January 2021. This came into effect the day after, on 27th January 2021.

Our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy brings all our existing guidelines, standards, licensee requirements and information together in one place, as well as updating our approach as a result of changes to national guidance; the DFT Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards.

The policy can be found here.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Fees Review 2022 - closing 17/06/2022 Toggle accordion

Our hackney carriage and private hire fees are being reviewed.

The fees are being reviewed as they have not been reviewed for some time and we need to ensure that the fees reflect the actual costs incurred. In addition the Government Standards have also been included within the new fee structure. You can view the proposed changes in the document below.

The consultation period commenced on Friday 6th May 2022 and will continue for 6 weeks ending at midnight on Friday 17th June 2022.

This is your opportunity to raise any issues you may have or contribute information for the Licensing and Regulatory committee to consider.

All responses, during the consultation period, will be considered. A summary of all responses will be included in the report to Elected Members during the committee process. The final determination will be made by the Elected Members.

Please note that where responses include personal details in the body of the response this information may be subject to publication or disclosure.

How to respond

Please send your comments on the policy and/or the proposed changes by email to: licensing@stalbans.gov.uk. The deadline for receipt of comments by email is 17th June 2022 at 23:59.

You can also send comments by post to Licensing Section, Community Services Department, St Albans City and District Council, St Peter’s Street, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3JE to arrive no later than 17th June 2022.

Contact Details
Licensing Service

St Albans City & District Council, Civic Centre, St Peter's St, St Albans AL1 3JE
Tel: 01727 819264

Licensing@stalbans.gov.uk