Decision details

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy - Public Consultation

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

To seek agreement to commence a 4-week public consultation on the draft revised policy.

Decision:

That approval is granted for the commencement of a 4-week public consultation on the draft South Kesteven District Council Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy 2020.

 

Reasons for the decision:

The draft policy reflects current statutory and best practice guidance.  Revisions in particular relate to protecting people from harm and improvements in the vehicle fleet which will have a positive impact on the environment.

 

Alternative options considered:

The current policy was adopted on 1 April 2015 and is under review to ensure it reflects current guidance and continues to be fit for purpose, whilst also promoting improvements which support environmental sustainability.

 

Members of the Licensing Committee and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee have undertaken a review of the existing policy.  The draft revised policy was considered by the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee at their meeting of 23 June 2020, where it was recommended to the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations that the draft was suitable for public consultation.

 

On 21 July 2020 (prior to the draft policy being published for public consultation), the Department for Transport (DfT) unexpectedly published its Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards.  Licensing authorities are under a legal duty to have regard to the new statutory standards and the DfT expects the standards to be implemented unless there is a compelling local reason not to. 

 

In view of the new statutory standards, the draft revised policy considered by the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee has been reviewed by officers and requirements which were not already incorporated have been included in the revised draft policy. As a result, the following additional areas have been included:

·       Incorporating details of the Council’s whistleblowing policy

·       Licensees to self-report following an arrest, charge or conviction within 48 hours

·       Utilisation of the national register of taxi and private hire vehicle driver licence refusals and revocations (the register is known as ‘NR3’)

·       Increase in the frequency of checks of Data Barring Service disclosures to 6 monthly

·       Licensed Operators to submit a Data Barring service Basic Disclosure annually

For the purposes of the consultation, paragraphs with significant changes which were agreed by the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee are shown in red, additional changes as a result of the statutory guidance are shown in green.

 

The legislation that controls the licensing of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, drivers and operators, does not contain provisions that directly require the Authority to publish a hackney carriage and private hire licensing policy. However, without a policy, the Authority will fail in fulfilling elements of the Regulators’ Code and Officers and Members of the Licensing Committee will find it difficult to make appropriate and consistent licensing decisions.

 

The Authority could continue with the existing policy without the proposed amendments; however, some minor updates will still be necessary to comply with Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards.

There is no requirement to undertake public consultation, however, it is considered good practice to consult about any significant proposed changes and provides an opportunity for interested parties to make comments for consideration.

 

Publication date: 13/10/2020

Date of decision: 12/10/2020

Effective from: 21/10/2020

Accompanying Documents: