The Licensing Manager (Interim) introduced the report and outlined the background to the review which was in response to recommendations from the Department for Transport published in July 2020 which had the primary aim to protect children and vulnerable adults.
She advised that the council was proposing to adopt all of the proposed recommendations, with the exception of two. One related to undertaking a review of the introduction of CCTV (as detailed in 13.3 to 13.7 of the report). The second related to the requirement to obtain a certificate of good character where applicants had spent an extended time oversees where a period of six months was considered to be more appropriate than the recommended three month period.
The Licensing Manager also highlighted two additional pieces of relevant legislation published since the report was prepared – the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Act 2022 and the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022. She summarised the main proposals in both and confirmed that the council was either already implementing these or were in a position to implement quickly, easily and without any further change to the policy.
The Licensing Manager and the Service Lead – Public Protection responded to Members’ questions on the report and appendices. It was clarified that the new guidance did not prohibit cross-authority hiring of vehicles, but did establish a common core of minimum standards in relation to taxi and private hire vehicles and drivers which all local authorities were expected to adopt. The Licensing Manager also outlined more detail regarding the work required to be undertaken in a review to ascertain whether the introduction of CCTV vehicles was proportionate and justified and confirmed that it was intended to carry out the review in 2023.
1. That, subject to recommendation 2 below, the amendments to the Policy and the associated changes to driver, vehicle and operator licence conditions be agreed as set out in Appendix 1-4 of this report.
RECOMMENDED (to Cabinet):
2. That the Statement of Licensing Policy as relates to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles, Drivers and Private Hire Operators, Appendix 1, be referred for consideration and approval.