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Council blunder leaves taxi driver out of pocket after licensing delays

PUBLISHED: 06:50 23 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:00 23 November 2019

A taxi driver was left out of pocket after a council staff blunder saw him miss out on three weeks of potential work. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

A taxi driver was left out of pocket after a council staff blunder saw him miss out on three weeks of potential work. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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A taxi driver was left out of pocket after a council staff blunder saw him miss out on three weeks of potential work.

A report from the Local Government Ombudsman has ruled that poor advice issued by Norwich City Council saw a private hire vehicle driver fail to be granted a licence at first time of asking, resulting in him missing out on trade.

The driver, referred to in the report as Mr B, first contacted the council on February 28, asking staff to accept a disclosure and barring service certificate (DBS) application from him - one of the documents required to qualify as a taxi driver.

However, he was not advised that all documents required to qualify need to be submitted at the same time and as a result his DBS application was misfiled and not submitted.

This, in turn, led to unnecessary delays between Mr B completing his application and receiving his licence - as he was also required to submit a new application for the certificate, which vindicates that a person is suitable to work with vulnerable people.

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Mr B escalated his complaint to the ombudsman, with an independent assessor acting on its behalf agreeing that he had been wrong.

The report says: "The council has acknowledged that it was at fault when it failed to properly advise Mr B of the process and when it failed to submit his DBS application.
"This caused Mr B to waste fees and delayed the granting of his licence by at least 19 days.

"It also caused Mr B time and trouble in making the new application, and frustration."

The blunder could have seen Mr B miss out on thousands of pounds in earnings, with a taxi driver locally estimating the work could bring in upwards of £100 a day.

The council agreed to reimburse Mr B £27 paid for his driving assessment and offered to pay him £100 as a goodwill gesture. It also apologised and refunded further fees for his application.

A spokesman at City Hall said: "We have apologised to Mr B regarding this case and fully accept the ruling of the ombudsman."

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