Older and disabled people will be able to “get out of their houses for the first time in years” under moves to free social care staff from registering their private cars as minicabs.
In guidance issued yesterday, the Department for Transport said most car journeys made in the context of care and support work should not require a private hire vehicle (PHV) licence.
Naaps UK, which represents small care providers, said its members had been unable to help service users go out to meet friends without going through the “expensive, time-consuming and irrelevant” process of registering their cars under private hire vehicle licensing procedures.
“This change may seem dry and technical, but it will result in many disabled and older people being able to get out of their houses for the first time in years,” said Naaps chief executive Alex Fox.
English Community Care Association external relations manager Maria Patterson said: “ECCA lobbied hard on this issue and we are delighted that the Department for Transport has responded by exempting our sector from this onerous licensing process. Care providers strive to promote independence and access to the community for their service users, and the exemption has made this aspiration a lot more achievable.”
The DfT said care and support staff should not need a licence because they were likely to have been vetted for their work, had wider duties and were likely to have specific qualifications and training that went beyond driving and general customer care.
The move is the outcome of plans outlined in the Budget in March to reduce red tape on social care providers.
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