CHRISTCHURCH council could ask taxi drivers to complete BTEC and NVQ qualifications in a bid to ‘improve the level of service’.
A report to the licensing committee which meets today asks members to decide if they want to introduce new measures and go out to consultation with the taxi trade on the proposals.
They will also discuss whether to introduce a safeguarding module for drivers to complete.
It comes after Bournemouth council asked their drivers to complete BTEC and NVQ courses, which led to a concern that drivers were moving to Christchurch to work.
The report said: “It was also felt that such qualifications may improve the general level of service offered to the public by taxi drivers.”
Across the different council areas there are variances on the requirements for taxi drivers.
Bournemouth and Poole run safeguarding courses, Christchurch and East Dorset require English spoken tests for hackney carriage drivers and some authorities do knowledge tests on the area and aspects of the law.
The courses at Bournemouth are run by Bournemouth and Poole College and cost around £800 per driver.
Some of this is paid for via a government contribution, but this may not be available after 2017.
Previously, when the policies were reviewed, the idea of qualifications were “vehemently opposed” by the Taxi Liaison Forum, the report to members says.
And council officers have warned about the possibility of even stronger opposition in the light of the lack of government funding.
Councillors on the licensing committee will also be asked to look at a new safeguarding policy following the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in Rotherham.
Officers have considered an e-learning course and seminars, but “have reservations” they could be too in depth and irrelevant.
“There is also concern that applicants would not complete the on-line course themselves, but instead enlist help from others.”
The practicality issue is also raised, with officers suggesting questions to be included as part of the council’s Knowledge test.