Venue: Phoenix House, Tiverton
Contact: Carole Oliphant Member Services Officer
APOLOGIES AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS (02.26)
To receive any apologies for absence and notices of appointment of Substitute Members (if any).
Apologies were received from Cllr Mrs E M Andrews, Cllr J Downes, Cllr Miss J Norton and Cllr S J Penny
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST UNDER THE CODE OF CONDUCT (02.45)
Councillors are reminded of the requirement to declare any interest, including the type of interest, and reason for that interest, either at this stage of the meeting or as soon as they become aware of that interest.
Members were reminded of the need to make declarations where appropriate
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME (02.55)
To receive any questions relating to items on the Agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
There were no members of the public present.
Members to consider whether to approve the minutes as a correct record of the meeting held on 27th September 2021.
The minutes of the last meeting were agreed as a true record and duly SIGNED by the Chairman
THE HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE POLICY (03.34)
To receive details of revisions proposed to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy from the Lead Licencing Officer and consultation arrangements
The Commercial Team Leader Public Health gave the following update:
Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy:
In the context of updating Committee on enforcement activities, a brief update regarding the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy which was due for its 3 yearly review, was given. As Members were aware, the Policy was to regulate the provision of a robust taxi and private hire licensing system, which ensured that the public travelled safely, received a good level of service and that drivers and operators were not overly burdened by unnecessary conditions.
A number of important updates and policy amendments were required to be included in the review. Given the recent Covid pandemic and other pressing licensing commitments, officers had decided on a plan which meant taking the review out for consultation in the New Year.
The timeline recommended was to have 2 Regulatory Committee meetings, one on 8th April, whereby officers wanted to consult with the Committee to discuss and obtain agreement about taking the proposed policy revisions out for consultation with the trade.
Following this consultation officers would then take the revised policy to the Committee in early June for recommendation to Council in June/July.
As the policy did not expire Members were assured it would be preferential to look at the plan so that officers could be confident they could address all the requirements for the review in a timely manner.
As part of this review officers would include a reference to the new tax conditionality checks that impacted on Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers (and Scrap Metal dealers), which would come into force from 4 April 2022. With regard to the legislation however, there was no immediacy for this policy addition.
Officers were also shortly going to be trialling DAVIS by encouraging take up on a voluntary basis but which would become compulsory when officers reviewed the policy next year. An explanation of DAVIS and how it would assist both the trade and the Council in relation to checking of the necessary information for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing purposes was provided.
In July 2020 the Department for Transport introduced the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards. The report contained various recommendations that Licensing Authorities must have regard to and the DfT expected these recommendations to be implemented unless there was a compelling local reason not to. These Standards would also need to be included in the revised policy.
Given the revocation of an existing licence and refusal to grant a license following recent sub-committee hearings, officers were also keen to look at some parameters in the policy around timelines for reapplying for licences that had been revoked, something the current document did not refer to. Also officers wanted to look at inclusion of the NR3 register of taxi and PHV licence refusals and revocations. This was an important national step to tackling the issue of individuals making applications to different licensing authorities following a refusal or revocation. At the moment, if drivers did ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
ENFORCEMENT UPDATE (13.28)
To receive an enforcement update.
The Commercial Team Leader Public Health provided the following update:
• We had 2 enforcement issues with one applicant having his driver application refused. He had previously held a licence with us and this was revoked after we received a complaint of in appropriate messaging to young girls.
• The other was surrounding a fight that took place in Tiverton Town centre involving several licensed taxi drivers, this led to 3 being given formal warnings by the sub-committee for their behaviour and 1 had his licence revoked (under delegated powers) in the immediate interests of public safety.
• We have had 10 new applications in the last year all have been issued licences
• The renewals come in through the year but we have 14 due to expire at the end of the year of which we haven’t received all the applications as yet.
• We have an application for a new breeder in progress
• A few complaints have been received regarding noise from barking or welfare issues which have been responded and one is ongoing
In response to a question asked by the Chairman the officer confirmed that training based on a mock hearing would be offered to all member of the Committee in the new year, and that training would be offered to all Members so that they could act as a substitute on Committee if required.