Rossendale Borough Council’s Licensing Department commissioned Personnel Checks to help improve the efficiency of their Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Licensing process by implementing an online Enhanced DBS Checking system to replace their face-to-face, paper-based appointment system, which was incredibly labour intensive.
Rossendale Borough Council is based in the North West of England. Despite successfully processing hundreds of hackney carriage and private hire driver licence applications every year, Enhanced DBS check turnaround time had become an issue, with applications taking 6 to 8 weeks to be completed. This was putting considerable strain on staff within the licensing department and causing Drivers licence applications to be delayed.
Following initial discussions with the Licensing and Enforcement Manager, a meeting was scheduled with the aim of dissecting their current Enhanced DBS Check procedure to establish how we could streamline the process of obtaining an Enhanced Disclosure from the DBS.
From the meeting, we identified key areas where a clear benefit would be felt by the department if it were outsourced. These areas were:
- Enhanced DBS Disclosure application completion
- Taxi Driver eligibility and suitability
- Renewal tracking and reminders
- Applicants queries and progress tracking
Based on the information gained through a number of meetings and telephone discussions a package was designed to include the following:
- Implementation of a fast, state-of-the-art, online DBS checking system with an average turnaround of around a week
- Handling the entire DBS check process meaning no council involvement would be required, including application completion, ID verification, application tracking and payment
- Special training of our staff to be in line with Rossendale Borough Council’s licensing procedure and gaining extensive industry knowledge
- Checking applicant suitability and eligibility; ensuring drivers to be issued with a Rossendale Borough Council Taxi Licence have obtained the required documentation and qualifications
- Keeping track of licence renewals and handling the process of notifying applicants of their upcoming expiry dates
- A telephone line dedicated to Taxi Licence applicants providing guidance, advice and support on every aspect of the DBS check process and Rossendale Borough Council’s licensing process
- A dedicated page on our website designed in line with Rossendale Borough Council’s procedures
At the time the contract was agreed and implemented, Rossendale Borough Council had a backlog of around 250 Taxi Drivers waiting for their Enhanced DBS check appointments. In light of this, for the first stage of the contract, we focussed on clearing that backlog and transferring these applicants on to our online software, allowing them to continue with their hackney carriage and private hire driver Licence applications. After the first month, we had cleared this backlog of applicants and handled all new applications on the council’s behalf.
The Licensing Department no longer had the administrative strain of the Enhanced DBS application process and were, therefore, able to process higher volumes of completed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Licences at a much quicker rate as well as deploy staff previously used in the enhanced disclosure process to other areas of the Licensing Department. The Taxi Drivers embraced the new process, even though the initial cost of the DBS check had slightly increased. They identified the benefits of streamlining this aspect of the licensing process and were delighted to be able to obtain their hackney carriage and private hire driver Licences more quickly than they had originally anticipated.
Through clear and concise communication of expectations and requirements, we were able to create a package that radically changed timescales and through this, improved the productivity of the Licensing Department at Rossendale Borough Council
Feedback from Rossendale
The volume of DBS requests we were receiving exceeded the number of appointments we were able to offer. A dedicated officer spent 20 hours a week on ID verifications and at its peak, it was taking three months for an applicant to get an appointment.
Since contracting Personnel Checks as our DBS checks provider we have been able to divert those 20 hours of officer time to another area of licensing, ensuring an increase in productivity.
I am very happy with the service offered by Personnel Checks and rate their customer service very highly. They are extremely professional, efficient and are also happy to answer any questions that arise without delay. I was sceptical at first, mainly because the service first offered was not the one I was interested in. However, after discussions with Personnel Checks it was evident we would be able to work together and negotiations ended with a very pleasing result. I have already recommended Personnel Checks to other councils as they are very professional, easy to work with, efficient and most importantly, adaptable. The Drivers have been extremely happy with the process citing speed of service and receipt of the certificates positively.
Licensing & Enforcement Manager, Rossendale Borough Council