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Taxi drivers entitled to refund for CRB checks
TAXI drivers could be in line for extra cash from Castle Point Council after it overcharged cabbies for criminal record checks.
Anne Seex, the Local Government Ombudsman, has criticised the authority for not fully compensating taxi drivers who overpaid their fees.
It follows another report in February last year which ruled the council acted wrongly by effectively charging its licensed taxi drivers twice for the checks since 2003.
She asked the authority to reimburse the complainant – a licensed taxi driver known as Mr H – and “take steps to remedy the injustice” caused to other drivers since 2004.
But a new complaint from another licensed taxi driver, known as Mr A, claims the council has taken some steps, but not fully reimbursed him and 24 other drivers for their losses.
Mrs Seex said: “Mr A and other drivers who have held a license since 2004 have been caused an injustice due to the overcharging. The council has not provided a full remedy for that injustice.”
Angry cabbie, Martin Jones, 51, from Canvey, claims many drivers have been “left hanging”, but they fear the council won’t pay out for its mistake.
He said: “It had the opportunity to rectify it when the first report was published, and a year and a half later it hasn’t. Why?
“My fear is they still won’t pay out. It’s an absolute disgrace.
“If I had the money I would have them in court tomorrow. It has been covering this up for ten years.”
The council says it has already implemented the recommendations in the previous report and waived the following for each affected driver: l It waived the £44 cost for the next CRB check.
l License fee reduction and absorbing some of the retail price index increase amounts to £27 per driver.
l It has also waived the disability awareness training which costs £40 and the DVLA check increase of £1.90 David Marchant, chief executive of Castle Point Council, said: “We received the ombudsman’s response to this latest complaint last week and have a period of three months to respond.
“Under those circumstances, it would be in appropriate for us to comment further at this time.”
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