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Agenda item

Taxi Licensing Policy

This report advises Members of the Department for Transport (DfT) ‘Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards’ (the Standards) and changes that are required to the Taxi Licensing Policy to implement the recommendations within the Standards.

Minutes:

Members considered a report that advised them of the Department for Transport (DfT) ‘Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards’ (the Standards) and changes that are required to the Taxi Licensing Policy to implement the recommendations within the Standards. The Licensing Manager outlined the report to Members noting how the coronavirus pandemic had changed the current situation and the need to take this into account. She noted the recommendations, highlighting that under paragraph 15 of the report it was proposed that the following recommendations within the Standards formed  part of the consultation:

a)   DBS Update Service

b)   Licensee self-reporting (arrest and release, charge or conviction)

c)   National register of taxi and private hire vehicle driver licence

d)   refusals and revocations – ‘NR3’

e)   Basic disclosure checks on vehicle proprietors

f)     CCTV

g)   Use of passenger carrying vehicles (PCV) licensed drivers

 

The Senior Solicitor advised that there is an error in the penultimate paragraph of 60(d) of the report and that the licensing authority should take the Standards into account when exercising relevant functions.

 

Members then asked a number of questions to which the Licensing Manager responded that:

·        The current policy for CCTV is that CCTV is allowed if the vehicle proprietor asked the council if  they could install it as this is classed as a modification to the vehicle.  The policy for CCTV had been consulted upon previously.

·        Because CCTV was not a legal requirement, the operator was in control of the CCTV and must comply with the requirements of the Information Commissioner Office.

·        If the outcome of the consultation was different to the DfT Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards, consideration would need to be given to the consultation and the licensing authority would legally have to justify why its Policy was not in line with the statutory requirements.

·        All fees are set at cost recovery levels.

·        Any changes to a private hire operator’s licence would not be imposed until the licence was renewed.

·        Any vehicle carrying over eight people was licensed by the DVSA.

·        With regard to the DBS update service, the driver had to register with the update service. This could result in an increase in the department workload regarding the checks to be undertaken. It was difficult to estimate what the increased workload would be.

 

The Committee had the following options available to them in making their decision:

 

Option 1:

i)         Ask Officers to undertake a formal public consultation with regards to the recommendation from the DfT Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards as detailed at paragraph 15 of the report and other changes to the Policy.  Bringing the results of the consultation back to this Committee.

ii)        Ask Officers to also undertake a formal public consultation with regards to additional changes to the Taxi Licensing Policy, outside the scope of the Standards.

iii)      Ask Officers to issue private hire operators licences, grants and renewals, for a maximum period of 12 months, with immediate effect, until such time that the Taxi Licensing Policy is reviewed. 

 

Option 2:

i)         Ask Officers to undertake a formal public consultation with regards to the recommendation from the DfT Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards as detailed at paragraph 15 of the report and other changes to the Policy.  Bringing the results of the consultation back to this Committee.

ii)        Determine that a public consultation with regards to additional changes to the Taxi Licensing Policy is not required at this time.

iii)      Ask Officers to issue private hire operators licences, grants and renewals, for a maximum period of 12 months, with immediate effect, until such time that the Taxi Licensing Policy is reviewed. 

 

Option 3

i)          Determine that further formal public consultation is not required, giving reason why.  Ask Officer to amendment the Taxi Licensing Policy to bring it in line with the requirements of the DfT Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards.  Bringing the amendment Policy back to this Committee to make recommendation to  the Full Council. 

ii)        Ask Officers to issue private hire operators licences, grants and renewals, for a maximum period of 12 months, with immediate effect, until such time that the Taxi Licensing Policy is reviewed. 

 

Cllr Melly then moved and Cllr Orrell seconded approval of Option 1. In accordance with the revised Standing Orders, a named vote was taken with the following result:

Cllrs Barnes, D’Agorne, Hook, Hunter, Melly, Myers, Norman, Orrell, Pearson, Wann, Warters, Wells and Mason voted for the motion. The motion was therefore carried and it was

 

Resolved:  That, in accordance with Option 1, Officers be asked to:

i)             undertake a formal public consultation with regards to the recommendation from the DfT Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards as detailed at paragraph 15 of the report and other changes to the Policy.  Bringing the results of the consultation back to this Committee.

ii)            undertake a formal public consultation with regards to additional changes to the Taxi Licensing Policy, outside the scope of the Standards.

iii)          issue private hire operators licences, grants and renewals, for a maximum period of 12 months, with immediate effect, until such time that the Taxi Licensing Policy is reviewed. 

 

Reason:

i)          To gauge interested parties views on the recommendations within the DfT Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards, and on additional chages to the Taxi Licensing Policy.

ii)         As private hire operator licences can be issued for a maximum period of five years, this will enable the Council to make sure appropriate conditions are placed on licences at the time of grant or renewal, following the consultation on and implementation of the reviewed Taxi Licensing Policy.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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