We're working on a new digital service for people to manage their taxi licence.


We ran a discovery phase to understand the problem that needed to be solved. This found that:

  • Drivers and operators can be uncertain of licensing processes and rules with impacts on communication and efficiency
  • The cost and complexity of new driver licensing / on-boarding is a barrier to entry for a business
  • Licensing authorities might be better joined up
  • Operators, drivers and staff would benefit from escalation of impending/outstanding deadlines
  • Service users are pleased with our licensing team performance
  • Electronic records systems do not currently provide sufficient meta-data for analysis of specific drivers of licence holder contact
  • Data suggests no particular trend for overall contact volumes over the 2017-2020 period
  • Data shows a shift in volumes from Hackney Carriage to Private Hire over the 2017-2020 period
  • Data shows some licence cases involve significantly more work than others
  • Over half of taxi drivers said they would do all licence tasks online
  • More taxi drivers said they were not sure about doing tasks online than said they would not do tasks online
  • Taxi driver technical ability and confidence are expected to be key challenges for uptake of an online service
  • Current contact with the licensing service appears out-of-step with comparable ongoing services taxi drivers use
  • Greater use of push notifications is widely viewed as means to improve communication and timely action
  • Some division on social media usage
  • The licensing tasks we consulted on are generally considered easy, paying fees especially
  • Online tasks involving sensitive information were linked to lower confidence but reasons for this vary
  • An online service is in-keeping with taxi operator expectations for where the business is headed and how taxi drivers could be expected to operate
  • Private hire and hackney carriage drivers showed no significant differences in their approach to contacting us or in their attitudes to using an online service
  • Ease-of-use and efficiency of the service are priorities for operators and an online portal style solution was expected to improve both aspects
  • Operators are willing to support drivers and would like access to clear, relevant information about the drivers, the licence process and licence progress

You can read more about our findings and recommendations in our discovery report and the show and tell presentation.


After mapping our users' journeys, we created a range of prototypes as we explored the problems and potential solutions for a 'manage my taxi licence' service. This included an interactive prototype which we used to test our ideas with taxi drivers, operators, and our licensing team. We found:

  • Licence holders would like email reminders of tasks to be done
  • How licence holders expect the log in user experience to work
  • The priority of features from the perspective of licence holders and the licensing team

Using the prototype, we explored:

  • How the user experience worked for users
  • How the various features could work together

Local Digital Fund bid

We successfully applied to round 6 of the DLUHC Local Digital Fund, seeking funding for an Alpha collaboration with the councils of North Tyneside, Basingstoke and Deane and Hart. The title of this Alpha is 'exploring and prototyping a digital service for taxi licence holders to manage their licences'. 

This Alpha will build on our existing Discovery and Alpha work to explore this problem in multiple local authority settings, asking:

- Are licensing user needs common across different local authorities?
- Can these needs be met with a consistent, scalable digital service solution?
- Can such a solution deliver meaningful and realisable benefits?

With a multi-disciplinary team, the councils intend to test a set of hypotheses with users, iterating a range of suitable prototypes. A steering group with representatives from each council will oversee our proposed delivery plan for this Alpha:

Licensing service 12 week alpha delivery plan

Our user research will focus on licence holders and licensing teams to explore and understand their user needs and local ways of working with a view to identifying and testing a scalable digital solution

We will 'work in the open' using this page to promote regular virtual show and tells and share sprint notes and recorded updates. Our latest post describes how we kicked off the project

Please visit our Local Digital Fund - Alpha application for licensing page for details about our successful application.

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