A private hire vehicle cannot pick up or drop off passengers unless that vehicle has been despatched by a private hire operator who has first accepted the booking.  A private hire operator can be any person who invites or accepts bookings for private hire vehicles.

Do you need an operators licence?

If you are inviting, accepting  or fulfilling requests for a vehicle and driver you are likely to fall within the licensing regime if the vehicle seats 8 passengers or less.  It does not make any difference if a booking is made at a booking office, by telephone, email, website or app. It also does not make a difference if the booking is for a one-off journey or a regular booking under a contract.

 Whilst the majority of business activities that require an operator licence are obvious, there are some instances where it can be unclear and exemptions apply. Any business activity that involves providing a vehicle to drive another person is likely to require a licence, even if the provision of the vehicle and driver does not itself generate a profit.  Money does not need to change hands for the activity to require regulation. 

Any person carrying out an activity for monetary or commercial gain is responsible for ensuring it is lawful before they do so.  It is a criminal offence to operate without a licence, whether intentional or not. If you are unsure if you need a licence you should contact taxi.licensing@hertsmere.gov.uk

Applying for an operator's licence 

To apply you should download and complete the application form. 

Each individual applicant, company director or partner will also need to complete an Individual Character and Conviction Declaration.

The application form should be submitted to the Council with the following documents: 

  • Basic DBS (for each individual applicant/partner or Director).
  • Proof of your right to work / Right to work share Code
  • Public liability Insurance
  • Employers Liability Insurance
  • Complaints Policy
  • Lost Property Policy and Procedure
  • Data Protection Policy
  • Criminal Record Policy for the employment of staff 


Basic DBS disclosure 

We need to know if an applicant has any unspent convictions. If the applicant is a partnership a basic criminal record must be provided for each partner. If the applicant is a company a basic DBS must be provided for each director

You do not need this if you are already a Hertsmere licensed driver. and have an enhanced DBS that remains valid and is registered on the DBS update service.

Proof of your right to work/share code 

Individuals and those applying as a part of a partnership will need to provide confirmation of their entitlement to work in the UK.  To prove your right to work you are encouraged to obtain a share code online from the government website: Prove your right to work to an employer - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

If you are not able to obtain a share code, or you are a British or Irish citizen, you will need to provide documentary proof. 

Public Liability and Employers Liability insurance 

If you invite or admit members of the public into a booking office to book private hire vehicles you will need public liability insurance. This should cover you for a minimum of £5million.If you employ staff you will also need employers liability insurance. 

Policies and procedures 

We require operators to submit to us policies or procedures in relation to the following:

  • Complaints
  • Lost Property
  • Data Protection
  • Criminal Record Policy for the employment of staff 

Private Hire operators have evolved over the last few years and it is imperative that the Council can have faith how they operate.  It is necessary for operators to have a clear process of distinguishing “service” complaints and complaints about the conduct and character of a driver – these should be referred to the Council.  Operators are also processing personal data of their customers and must ensure that this fits in with the current data protection legislation.

 To assist Operators we have provided some template documents here:

private hire operator - complaints policy - template

private hire operator - DBS policy - template

private hire operator - DPA policy - template

private hire operator - lost property - template