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Agenda item

Taxi and Private Hire Licensing - Quarter 3 Performance and General Update Report

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. C1 of the meeting between Commissioner M. Ney and Members of the Advisory Licensing Board held on 26th September, 2016, consideration was given to a report, presented by the Business Regulation Manager, providing an update on the implementation of the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, including details of the Performance Management Framework relating to the Policy. The report highlighted:-

 

-          the Licensing Performance Framework – Third Quarter Results;

 

-          update on the audit of licensed drivers against the requirements of the Council’s Licensing Policy;

 

-          the proposed priorities for the Licensing Service in the 2017/2018 financial year;

 

-          enforcement actions being undertaken by the Licensing Service;

 

-          the current position in relation to appeals (in both the Sheffield Magistrates’ Court and in the Crown Court) against the Council’s decision to refuse or to revoke drivers’ licences;

 

-          Licensing Service – restructuring and staffing update;

 

-          policies and protocols in respect of the sharing of sensitive information (eg: between the Council, the South Yorkshire Police and the National Crime Agency);

 

-          during December 2016, the Council had successfully defended a legal challenge against the requirement for taxi cameras to be installed in licensed vehicles.

 

The Licensing Board Members discussed a number of salient issues:-

 

-          licensed drivers – complaints about use of mobile telephones whilst driving;

 

-          ensuring that taxi company signs are correctly affixed to the front doors of licensed vehicles; (nb: for personal security reasons, of the licensed driver, there is not yet a requirement for such signs to be permanently affixed to licensed vehicles);

 

-          taxi cameras in licensed vehicles – ensuring that passengers are informed of how to switch-on the audio system and that there is adequate filming of the interior of the vehicle (ie: all seats are visible and persons in the vehicle are visible from the chest upwards);

 

-          the Council has not granted any exemptions from the Policy requirement for taxi cameras to be fitted within licensed vehicles;

 

-          licensed drivers who may work for two or more taxi companies – ensuring that the correct company sign and/or logo is affixed to the licensed vehicle when the driver is at work as a taxi driver;

 

-          information available from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) about licensed drivers and operators and applicants for such licences; nb: there is not yet a national database in respect of licensed drivers and operators;

 

-          issues concerning food delivery drivers and hot food take-away premises (eg: the London initiative);

 

-          ensuring that all licensed drivers complete the BTEC training course successfully;

 

-          safeguarding training for licensed drivers;

 

-          Hot Food Take-aways and Late Night Restaurants – review in the context of the Licensing Act 2003 objective of protecting children from harm;

 

-          the Swinton Lock awareness-raising project with staff of hot food take-aways and late night restaurants.

 

Resolved:- (1) That the report be received and its contents noted.

 

(2) That the progress being made with the implementation of the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, as now reported, be noted.

 

(3) That the following priorities for the Council’s Licensing Service for the 2017/2018 financial year be endorsed:-

 

(a) Private Hire Operators – review;

 

(b) Hot Food Take-aways and Late Night Restaurants – review in the context of the Licensing Act 2003 objective of protecting children from harm;

 

(c) BTEC qualification course for licensed drivers – review to ensure quality of provision and completion success rate of licensed drivers and licence applicants;

 

(d) safeguarding training for licensed drivers – review of progress and whether the training ought to be refreshed (eg: possible sessions of smaller numbers of people).

 

(4) That a report detailing the outcome of the appeals (ie: heard in both the Sheffield Magistrates’ Court and in the Crown Court) against the Council’s decisions to refuse or to revoke drivers’ and other relevant licences be submitted annually to a meeting of the Licensing Board.

Supporting documents: