I know you all share concerns regarding the issues with the DBS following the changes implemented by the Home Office earlier this year.
The Mayor and TfL have continued to raise this issue with the Home Secretary and other delegates within the Home Office. As a result of our correspondence the Home Office agreed to a meeting with Sir Peter Hendy and this took place last week.
I am pleased to advise you that following discussions, the Home Office have agreed to escalate cases for taxi and private hire drivers that are older than 45 days with the relevant police forces to ensure these are prioritised. Usually the DBS would not escalate a case until it is over 60 days old.
We are confident that this will go a long way to resolving the issues of drivers being unable to work.
For the longer term with renewal packs now being sent with four months notice and drivers signing up to the update service this issue should soon diminish as everyone settles into the new ways of working and the transition period comes to an end.
The Home Office have confirmed the agreement in writing and I attach a copy of the letter.
Regards Helen Chapman
REPLY FROM THE HOME OFFICE
22 October 2013
Dear Sir Peter,
DISCLOSURE AND BARRING SERVICE CHANGES
Thank you for your letter of 17 September to Mike Anderson here, and for attending our meeting on 15 October. I hope you found it helpful.
As we discussed, the change in your licensing procedures has coincided with a backlog of DBS checks which have been referred to police forces. These cases have been referred to police forces because they may be holding relevant police intelligence information. The police must in each case consider whether or not the information relates to the applicant and, if it does, whether it should be disclosed. Delays in this part of the process have resulted in delays in the issuing of some checks and this is clearly impacting upon taxi drivers seeking to renew their licenses.
The DBS already has specific recovery plans in place with the police forces responsible for the greatest delays but we agreed some additional measures for taxi drivers. As I explained, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has agreed to put in place specific arrangements to help conclude those checks as quickly as possible.
It will actively follow up on individual applications from taxi drivers which are significantly delayed, highlighting these cases so that they can be quickly resolved. We agreed that we should focus on clearing the oldest checks first and, as a result, DBS will highlight any case which has not been resolved after 45 days, drawing it to the attention of the relevant police forces. This new process will be brought into effect immediately.
You also indicated that renewal packs are now being issued to drivers at least 4 months in advance, which should provide sufficient time for certificates to be issued.
In addition, the DBS e-bulk service provides information on when certificates have been issued and whether they are clear of any criminal record information. In these cases, TfL are able to go ahead with renewing licenses as soon as this information is available.