Consideration was given to the report presented by Alan Pogorzelec, Licensing Manager, which provided an update in relation to the Licensing Team’s performance against the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Performance Framework.
In addition, an update was provided on key issues/activities and actions undertaken and year-end results for the performance framework since the previous update report to the Licensing Board.
Particular reference was made to the five demonstrated outcomes, the measures with and without targets, processes for review; some of which were yet to be presented to the Licensing Board, complete implementation of the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy, performance in relation to the requirements of the Policy, significant developments in the final quarter and the detail contained the Licensing Performance Management Framework.
The Board, in considering the detail, welcomed the progress in the report, but sought clarification on a number of points:-
· Data Protection Regulations.
· Voluntary National Database and the Private Members’ Bill.
· Content and security around the LGA funded Voluntary National Database.
· License revocations and lessons learnt from previous decisions.
· Timeframe for listing appeals to the Magistrates’ Court.
· Applications to work in other areas by drivers subject to proceedings.
· Challenges being faced in Rotherham and recognition of the work being undertaken nationally.
· Proactive work by Members of Parliament promoting Rotherham’s Licensing Policy.
· Training updates and spot checks.
The Committee went on further to consider the Council’s approach to enforcement and how individual enforcement was adhering to the Principles of Good Regulation.
The report outlined the enforcement work undertaken in relation to the licensing function and how such activity complied with the requirements of the Council’s General Enforcement Policy.
Reference was made to Appendix 2 which detailed the 2017/18 Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 Enforcement Data. The last six months had seen complaint numbers triple, but this was attributable to proactive action by officers and the public becoming more familiar with reporting routes.
The installation of cameras had proved invaluable for complaints regarding the conduct of drivers and it was for this reason, due to demand, a role was to be created two days per week primarily to deal with taxi camera downloads. Whilst the Committee suggested a reasonable realistic charge be made to insurance companies and third parties for downloads data, this had not been considered at the moment.
Reference was made to the proactive/multiagency enforcement operations undertaken during 2017 and the early part of 2018 and the partnership work undertaken with the Security Industry Authority.
Although the report primarily related to Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Licensing a number of other enforcement work had been undertaken and the details in the report illustrated both the volume and variety of work by the Licensing Team.
It was also noted that an investigation was ongoing in relation to one private hire operator, which was to be presented to the Licensing Board once completed.
The Board again welcomed the progress in the report, but sought clarification on:-
· Taxi camera diagnostics and specifications.
· Advantages to having cameras in vehicles.
· Annual figures of enforcement data, direct comparisons and performance monitoring.
· Capacity within the Licensing Team, use of agency staff and the ongoing recruitment processes.
· Working relationships with the National Crime Agency.
· Role of Commissioner Ney as a decision maker.
· Use of acronyms.
· Success rate of appeals and excellent working arrangements between Licensing and Legal Services.
· Action and decisions taken by the Licensing Board and Officers.
· Broad comparative data against other Local Authorities.
· Wearing of cameras by Enforcement Officers and if this was an option in the future.
The Chair wished to place on record the Board’s thanks and appreciation to Clive Betts M.P. and his support for Rotherham’s Licensing Policy. A further updated report and evidence would be forwarded onto him in due course.
Resolved:- (1) That the report be received and the contents noted.
(2) That the progress made regarding the implementation of the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy be noted.