Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Cherwell District Council (19 003 041)

Category : Environment and regulation > Licensing

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 10 Jul 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s decision to revoke the complainant’s taxi driver licence. This is because there were appeal rights the complainant could have used and because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complained that the Council revoked his taxi driver licence after a passenger made a report of inappropriate sexual conduct by Mr X.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if we believe it is unlikely we would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  2. The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone could take the matter to court. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to go to court. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(c), as amended)
  3. The magistrates consider appeals against a decision to revoke a taxi licence.

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I read the complaint and the Council’s responses. I considered the licence revocation letter, the Council’s taxi policy and the letter reinstating the licence. I considered comments Mr X made in reply to a draft of this decision.

Back to top

What I found

Taxi licensing policy

  1. One of the aims of the licensing policy is to protect the public. The law says a driver must be a fit and proper person to hold a taxi driver licence. The policy says the Council will monitor if a driver’s conduct satisfies the ‘fit and proper’ test and, if not, it can suspend or revoke the licence. In addition, the policy and regulations state that a council can immediately remove a licence if there are concerns for public safety.
  2. The policy says the Council will normally issue a licence for three years but it can issue one for a shorter period.

What happened

  1. Mr X was a taxi driver. A passenger contacted the Council and the police to report inappropriate sexual behaviour by Mr X.
  2. Mr X was interviewed by the police and the Council. The Council immediately removed Mr X’s taxi licence. The letter says Mr X had admitted touching and kissing the passenger. The Council said Mr X no longer met the conditions to be regarding as a fit and proper person to hold a licence and, in the interests of public safety, it immediately revoked the licence. The letter said Mr X had 21 days to appeal to the magistrates’ court if he disagreed with the decision to revoke his licence. Mr X did not appeal.
  3. The police decided not to take any action.
  4. The Council renewed Mr X’s licence for one year. Mr X objected to the Council not renewing the licence for three years.
  5. The Council renewed the licence after Mr X had complained to the Ombudsman. He complained about the Council revoking the licence and said he wanted the Council to reinstate it.

Assessment

  1. I will not start an investigation for the following reasons.
  2. Mr X disagreed with the decision to revoke his licence. However, he could have appealed to the magistrates. It is reasonable to expect him to have appealed because the magistrates’ court is the appropriate body to consider if the Council was correct to have removed the licence.
  3. Secondly, there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council. The decision to revoke the licence was one the Council was entitled to make under the terms of the policy. In addition, the policy allows the Council to issue a licence for one year.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. I will not start an investigation because Mr X could have appealed to the magistrates and because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page