Taxi licensing applications - fixing complexity, inefficiency and risk DISCOVERY

Project details:

Organisation Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council
Collaboration Level Share Ideas
Budget £50K > £100k
Key Contact Roger Abbott
Phase start 18 January 2019
Phase Estimated end 31 March 2019


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This is a joint project between Gateshead Council, Northumberland County Council and Sunderland City Council .

Licensing services in local government tend not to have embraced digital approaches, with reliance on paper application processes.

This discovery project will look at how digital solutions may be able to enhance taxi licensing services locally and nationally.  A fundamental objective for exploring a digital solution is to ensure public safety; licensing authorities need confidence that digital solutions can holistically enhance safety measures and processes already in place, whilst removing inefficient paper-based processes that are costly and slow to administer. 

Licensees are sometimes reluctant to engage with licensing authorities other than by traditional means (telephone, letter and face to face) so digital solutions need to be understandable, accessible and lean.  This in turn may have a positive impact on processing time, costs and the customer journey.

A digital solution may also support with quicker decision making and more effective sharing of information with other authorities.




Status Updates

15 February 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 4 (Week commencing 11th February 2019)

    What we did

    • Visited a Northumberland based taxi operator

      • Interviewed the company owner and a taxi driver for the firm. Aiming to understand from an operator’s perspective what they do for taxi applications, pain points specific to them and their organisation, plus their thoughts on future improvements.

    • Shadowing of Northumberland licensing team

      • To see first-hand how taxi license applications are processed by the licensing team, the staff and systems involved and the pain points that occur. And to understand how this compares to the information provided by Northumberland taxi operators and drivers)

    • Service mapping workshop for Northumberland County council;

    • Visited a Gateshead based taxi operator

      • Interviewed the company owner.

15 February 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 3 (week commencing 4th February 2019)

    What we did

    • Establishing how to run a survey with the public/residents;

    • Creation of two surveys; one for the public and another for local authorities;

    • Creation of recruitment doc for each local authority;

    • Planning of journey service mapping workshops;

      • Discussing what we wanted to achieve from the mapping workshops, the best approach to take to gain insights and to engage with each council.

    • Service mapping workshops for Sunderland council and Gateshead council respectively.;

      • To get an understanding of the current as-is process involved for driver, vehicle and operator licenses, from both the frost-stage perspective of the driver and front-line staff, along with the back-stage process that are required to complete the process. including the emotions, pain points and opportunities for improvement.

      • For face to face interviews at the premises, to get an insight into how they work, their overall experience with taxi applications and the tools utilised.

    • Shadowing at Gateshead Council

      • To see first-hand how taxi license applications are processed (and how this compares to the service maps we created), the staff and systems involved and the pain points that occur.

    • Taxi operator recruitment

    • Show and tell

      • Playback of the first few weeks of the project, what we’d been up to, why we did and what we’ll be doing next.

15 February 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Week 2 (week commencing 28st January 2019)

    What we did

    • Collation and review of kick-off workshop outputs;

    • Creation of a research plan for each council;

    • Sunderland focus group session with x6 taxi drivers, shadowing licensing team, customer services team and admin staff;   

      • To get an understanding, from the perspective of a taxi driver, of the process they have to go through to obtain or renew a taxi licence, their pain points and the challenges they face, along with their suggestions for future developments.

    • Shadowing of Sunderland’s licensing team

      • To see first-hand how taxi license applications are processed, the staff and systems involved and the pain points that occur.

15 February 2019

  • Anthony Gallagher

    Orange Bus are working with Gateshead, Northumberland and Sunderland councils following a successful bid to deliver a discovery for taxi licensing applications.

    The status updates that follow provide a high-level overview of the collaborative work that has been delivered jointly.

    Week 1 (week commencing 21st January 2019)

    What we did

    • Desk research to get an early understanding of the current process and what’s available.

    • Kick-off workshop with stakeholders from all authorities (licensing and digital teams)

      • To bring all three councils together to generate a clear project direction, establish stakeholders, a project purpose, the potential challenges, and recruitment opportunities.

      • Benefits realisation (establishing the low, medium and high priority benefits);

      • Establishing what we know, how do we know it and what we need to find out;

      • Stakeholder analysis mapping;

      • Establishing critical success factors;

      • Refining scope and creation of mission statement;

    • Establishing methods for utilising findings;

    • Understanding what else is happening across the UK.