Discovery phase summary

UsersIs there a need for a digital service?

Yes, there is a need for a partially digital service.

Applicants would receive an improved experience with reduced waiting times and less duplicated or unnecessary effort.  

Licensing staff would gain greater job satisfaction as they receive fewer unnecessary enquiries and follow an efficient process. This would free up their time to focus more proactively on public safety.  

Main pain points of the service today

  1. Time that the overall application process takes
  2. Limited resources available to support the service
  3. Requirement for multiple face-to-face meetings
  4. Complex language makes self-serve difficult
  5. Making payments causes additional delays and frustrations

Is there appetite for a digital service?

Yes. There is a desire for a simple and efficient digital process from all user groups (licensing team, taxi drivers and operators).

Long-term ambition

We aspire to create hassle-free, efficient and open solutions which release resources to be proactive about public safety on a national level.  

Vision for the service

We want Taxi Licensing to be seen most as:

  • proactive in protecting the public 
  • robust and authoritative to enforce safety
  • consistent across touchpoints and local authorities 
  • accessible to all 


  • standardisation across local authorities 
  • digital inclusion
  • internal culture change
  • applicants and third party influence on timeframes
  • infrastructure, technology and resources required


Discovery map

The discovery project included council shadowing, taxi driver interviews and operator interviews in Gateshead, Sunderland and Northumberland. 

How to move forward with the service

A second, more focused discovery will explore the new driver application process. This would look at the feasibility of digitising the service. Providing this discovery is a success, an alpha phase would experiment with standardising the service on a small scale.


Next: User research report