PASSENGER safety and good practice remain top priorities for the district's taxi licensing service, says a new report.

Bradford Council, which deals with 330 hackney carriage and 3,970 private hire drivers, was found to be operating to highest national standards in all main areas.

The independent review, carried out by inspectors from Leeds Council, reported that an advanced driving test was used and a basic standard of English for all drivers was required.

It said taxi drivers received a good level of customer service in relation to enforcement and suspensions, maintaining a balance between public safety and minimum disruption of trade.

All drivers must attend training in safeguarding and awareness of issues regarding child sexual exploitation.

Concerns raised in the report include that some applicants may be asking family members to complete their application forms or speak to licensing officers by phone during the initial procedures.

But the council says this has now been changed, with all applicants required to liaise with officers in person.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, executive member for environment, sport and culture, said: "The council has always had confidence in its taxi licensing service but it's great to see that an independent review has found that such confidence is fully justified.

"We have received some complaints about the service and we've answered those issues that have been raised.

"This review shows that the vast majority of drivers, operators and customers are completely satisfied with the way we operate.

"Another bonus of this independent report is that it also identifies areas where improvements can be made and the service is already taking action to progress these."