Wider English qualification to be accepted for new taxi drivers in Calderdale

Councillors in Calderdale have agreed to accept a wider English qualification as a requirement for new taxi and private hire licences being awarded.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 8th April 2022, 7:15 am

At the final meeting of the full Calderdale Council before the May elections, they agreed to continue requesting an ESOL Entry Level 3 English test for all new applications – as part of a consistent approach across West Yorkshire authorities – but also to accept an English taught qualification of Level 1 or above.

ESOL stands for English for speakers of other languages, qualifications being studied for by students who did not learn English as their native tongue.

The council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee had recommended the change to councillors, arguing on English language qualifications be widened to accept a higher level taught qualification as an alternative to that designated in the policy.

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Taxis in Calderdale

The policy review follows guidance and recommendations issued by the Department for Transport.

Overall proposed changes to the policy range from basic disclosure and barring service (DBS) checks to the age and condition of vehicles, including vehicle compliance checks.

Taxi and private hire representatives had outlined concerns including some relating to extra work for businesses which might be created by expanding the English language qualifications accepted.

The Licensing councillors heard existing policy means drivers have to complete entry level three English as a Second Language, with the alternative proposed acceptable qualification being a Level One English taught qualification or above.

The council’s senior partnership enforcement officer for licensing and emergency planning, John Beacroft-Mitchell clarified to Licensing councillors that the level three qualification was entry level and the alternate was actually a higher level of qualification.

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