applicants and licensees under criminal investigation or formal cautions. In some cases, a person can be subject to a criminal investigation or accepted a formal caution without having been arrested or charged.

The requirement relates to a limited scope of offences; sexual, dishonesty, violence or any motoring offence. The issue here is that there is much variation in the definition or understanding of these offences. For exam- ple, violence is a very wide offence encapsulating a variety of actions – some very serious but others arguably minor. For example, there is a wide range of circum- stances that might be relevant to “assault” as a sub-category of an “offence involving violence”.

The point here is that whilst on paper the requirement might appear clear, in prac- tice the issues can be very complex and this complexity might cause licensees to potentially fall foul of the reporting requirements.


“In some circumstances it may be appropri- ate under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 for licensing authorities to make referrals to the DBS. A decision to refuse or revoke a licence as the individual is thought to present a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult, should be referred to the DBS.”

A referral to the DBS can have a devastating impact for any individual and this is not lim- ited to licensing. Clearly any referral to the DBS must be carefully considered and only once all legal appeals and recourse have been exhausted or passed.

The significance of this is such that it again demonstrates the importance of proper legal advice and representation at hearings.

Similar to DBS referrals, “action taken by the licensing authority as a result of information received should be fed-back to the police” can present the same difficulties. This type of information sharing could very well include very sensitive information and if reported wrong or inaccurate, could hold significant implications for licensees with very difficult and expensive legal recourse.


“Licensing authorities should seek or require applicants to provide where possible crimi- nal records information or a ‘Certificate of


The potential difficulty is that the guid- ance’s approach takes a very broad brush approach to convictions. For each of the categories mentioned above, there is a

Good Character’ from overseas in this cir- cumstance to properly assess risk and support the decision-making process.”

‘Certificates of Good Character’, or overseas criminal records can be difficult to obtain and/or translate in certain cases. This might present an issue for applicants who are from, or have spent, extended periods of time abroad. It will be for each individual licensing authority to define its own approach and policy on this.

The official Home Office advice regarding overseas criminal records checks is that applicants who cannot obtain such a certifi- cate should provide a written explanation detailing the reasons why they have not been able to obtain the certificate. These reasons will then need to be assessed and a decision made whether to exempt the requirement or not.

In the absence of any detail in the guidance, it is assumed that licensing authorities will follow a similar practical approach as set out above.


My last PHTM article looked at the issue of criminal records check in greater detail. Here I briefly want to look at an aspect of the guidance’s convictions and rehabilita- tion proposal that has come in for some criticism. Briefly, the proposals for convic- tions and rehabilitation are:

• Sexual Offences = No licence • Weapon = no licence for 7 years • Dishonesty = no licence for 7 years • Supply drugs = no licence for 10 years • Possession drugs = no licence for 5 years • Discrimination = no licence for 5 years • Drink Driving = no licence for 7 years • Using hand-held device = no licence for 5 years

whole range of circumstances that could give an indication of how serious an offence might be and this range should be taken account of. Not any offence of the cate- gories mentioned above should automatically result in the guidance’s reha- bilitation times. Licensing authorities should note the guidance does state that “These periods should be taken as a starting point” rather than an absolute. The guidance places the duty on “past offenders to suffi- ciently evidence that they have been successfully rehabilitated” and that appli- cants are entitled to a “fair and impartial” hearing notwithstanding the guidance’s rehabilitation periods.


Ways to make complaint to the authority should be displayed in all licensed vehicles

There is a requirement in the guidance for vehicle licence holders to display, inside their vehicle, public information on how the to make a complaint.

In order to implement this requirement at a local level, licensing authorities will either, need to make this a requirement via their licensing policy or through the imposition of licensing conditions on vehicle licences. Either way, it is arguably possible for a vehi- cle licence to be subject to a suspension notice in cases where the notice is not on display or incorrectly displayed.


Under the guidance, “Operators should be required to evidence that they have had sight of a Basic DBS check on all individuals listed on their register of booking and dis- patch staff and to ensure that Basic DBS checks are conducted on any individuals added to the register and that this is com- patible with their policy on employing ex-offenders.”

This requirement not only compels opera- tors to have its own policy on employing ex-offenders, but also for them to act on the policy. To act will require operators to have an adopted policy that stipulates its approach to dealing with employees with a criminal record. Similar in principle to the guidance’s convictions and rehabilitation policy, a policy adopted by an operator should include details of offences and acceptable rehabilitation times but could also include provisions of managing people ex-offenders such as excluding them from certain duties of supervision.


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