Publication date: 30 March 2015
To support the DSA Guidance and ensure only appropriately licensed taxi providers are used, SFE have introduced some internal process changes and now require two quotes for taxi provision.
Travel Recommendations for New Students 15/16 and New Recommendations
7.4 - DSAs funding for taxi fares only relates to appropriately licensed taxi providers.
Students are required to set up an account with an appropriate taxi firm and payments will be made direct to the company, on receipt of an invoice. Students may need to make ad-hoc taxi journeys from time to time with a company that they do not hold an account with. These will be treated exceptionally and be reimbursed on receipt of a valid itemized company receipt.
To enable SFE to ensure the above guidance is adhered to, changes to Taxi Travel Recommendations are required.
Is an Account Required? (Frequent vs Occasional Travel)
To determine if an account is required SFE and BIS have agreed that less than 15 return or 30 single journeys per year can be considered occasional/ad hoc travel and would not require an account to be set up. As per the guidance, in these cases, SFE will still accept receipts from students and will process these cases as reimbursement, following the current process of student reimbursement. Recommendations above these amounts would be considered frequent and an account would need to be set up with a licensed Taxi Provider.
What is required from the Needs Assessor?
To ensure that a level of protection of public funds is included, SFE now require that 2 quotes are provided for taxi recommendations. A data capture exercise indicated that approximately 50% of Needs Assessment Centres already provide at least one quote.
As part of the recommendation for Taxi Travel the following information is required:
- Name and Contact Details of two Taxi Providers
- To and From Destinations (inc Postcodes)
- Price (or estimated price) from two Taxi Providers
- Public Transport Costs
- Number of required journeys
- Frequency e.g. per week/year
- Information regarding access to a Motability Car.
Locating Taxi Providers
Needs Assessors are free to obtain quotes from any Taxi Providers as there are no ‘agreed providers’ (similar to NMH arrangements).
However, SFE have created a database of Taxi Providers that are currently used for student accounts. This is an optional reference tool for Needs Assessors to identify Taxi Providers. This list will be maintained and updated by SFE.
NB. SFE do not endorse any of the listed Taxi Providers and this will not be an exhaustive list.
Ensuring Taxi Providers are Appropriately Licensed
SFE will be responsible for this action and are requesting copies of licenses from Taxi Providers before they are added to the list. New Taxi Providers that are recommended by Needs Assessors and do not already appear on the list will follow the same process and then added to the list.
This new process of obtaining two quotes and ensuring Taxi Providers have sufficient licenses will provide a level of protection to the public purse and reduce potential fraudulent activity. This new approach also allows the current process to be streamlined as we are able to remove additional tasks. For example the current process involves sending a Taxi Account Proforma to each student, waiting for this to be returned and then contacting the Taxi Provider for every student. Having quotes and a list of Taxi Providers we know are able to arrange accounts would remove these tasks and ultimately get the support in place quicker.
Another benefit to the student is with an account they will not have to pay upfront for the full taxi cost and claim this back.