Hackney carriage and private hire policy consultation

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) now affecting many areas of our services to the residents and businesses of Amber Valley, we are keen to keep you right up-to-date with the changes we are being forced to make. Read more about your council services.

Introduction

The Department for Transport (DfT) published its Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards in July 2020 with a strong focus to protect all passengers and users of taxis and private hire transport services.

The statutory guidance makes it clear that the government expects the recommendations contained within it to be implemented unless there is a compelling local reason not to. Furthermore, it is noted that the statutory standards document sets out a framework of policies that, under section 177(4), licensing authorities "must have regard" to when exercising their licensing and safeguarding functions.

In light of the DfT statutory standards and requirements contained within it, Amber Valley Borough Council licensing department has undertaken a review of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. The result of this is the subject of this consultation. 

Wheelchair accessible and mobility specific questions

We are particularly keen to hear from wheelchair users and mobility access croups as well as from taxi operators, drivers and proprietors. As such we would greatly appreciate it if comments could be provided in relation to the specific questions provided below as well as any comments in relation to the hackney carriage and private hire policy itself.

  1. How many times per week do you require to use Taxis?
  2. On average how far do you travel when using Taxis?
  3. Do you have any alternative transportation arrangements? (i.e. converted private vehicle, mobility specific services, other public transport)
  4. What type of vehicles do you prefer? (i.e. Saloons, Wheelchair specific)
  5. Do you have difficulty obtaining a suitable Taxi when travelling to or from home either by pre-booking, using a taxi rank or ‘hailing’?
  6. Do you feel that currently there are sufficient specific wheelchair accessible vehicles within Amber Valley

Proposed changes

The below drop down menu shows the proposed changes and their location within the draft policy document. This is intended to provide you with an easy to follow guide to the amendments and should be read in conjunction with the draft policy.

  • Inserted a version control section and document classification
  • Inserted reference at section 1.6 to the production of an annual performance report and the review of the licensing service’s resources
  • Section 1.7 expanded to include recording and analyzing of complaints
  • Section 1.8 inserted All members of the Licensing Board are required to attend training before being able to sit on a Licensing Panel (sub-committee)”
  • Section 1.10 inserted to allow ‘Whistleblowing’ by staff
  • Section 1.11 inserted to reflect a commitment to partnership working and sharing information with the police and other stakeholders
  • A new paragraph 2.3 gives information on how to find and use the policy
  • A new paragraph 2.4 makes it clear how to register a complaint
  • Section 3.2.2 outlines the 'fit and proper' test for a driver licence
  • Paragraph 3.5 amended to require Disability Awareness Training to be completed before an application is determined
  • Paragraph 3.6 amended to require Safeguarding Training to be completed before an application is determined
  • Paragraph 3.9.3 introduces use of the DBS Multiple Checking Facility
  • Paragraph 4.5 inserted a new third bullet point to cover immigration offences
  • Paragraph 4.7 amended to allow new evidence to be presented and considered
  • Paragraph 4.8 introduced to refer safeguarding cases to the DBS
  • Paragraph 5.13 (vehicle proprietors) is a new paragraph which is also referenced at 5.2
  • Paragraph 6.9 now reads "A nearside or rear door may be used for wheelchair access. The council would prefer side loading vehicles however, where a rear loading vehicle is used it must have a power lift"
  • Paragraph 7.7.3 modified to reflect the standards for stretched limousines
  • At paragraph 8.2 the following wording has been added

    The fit and proper test applied for a PHO is; "Would I be comfortable providing sensitive information such as holiday plans, movement of my family or other information to this person, and feel safe in the knowledge that such information will not be used or passed on for criminal or unacceptable purposes?"

    This fit and proper test will also be applied to the directors and secretaries of limited companies, and to this end, directors and secretaries of such companies will be required to provide a basic disclosure from the DBS on an annual basis.
  • At paragraph 8.4 the following wording has been added to the 5th bullet point. A policy for the employment of ex-offenders.
  • At section 8.4 a paragraph has been added to require directors and partners in a company to produce a Basic DBS certificate. Condition 5.3 has also been added to a PHO licence.
  • At paragraph 8.10 the following wording has been added. Providing the licence conditions for public viewing on the company website is also recommended.
  • New line inserted at paragraph 9.1In the event of concerns being raised about vehicles / drivers operating in the borough which are not licensed by the council and vice versa, the council will consider the joint authorisation of officers from other authorities in order to effectively address those concerns.
  • New paragraph inserted at 9.1All vehicles licensed by the council will be required to display details inside the vehicle of how a member of the public can raise a concern about the vehicle, the driver, or an operator.  This will include the contact details of the council and will be in a format prescribed by the council. It will be a condition of the vehicle licence to display these details at all times when the vehicle is being used for licensed work. Also added 16.7(g) to vehicle conditions.
  • Paragraph 9.2 Suspensions paragraph has been updated.
  • Paragraph 9.3 is a new paragraph added to cover situations requiring 'Immediate Action'
  • Paragraph 9.4 would allow for the creation, consultation, and possible adoption of a 'penalty points scheme' for licence holders. (please see separate Penalty Points scheme document)
  • Paragraph 9.5 is new and reserves the right for any changes to policy to be applied to existing licence holders
  • Appendix A, condition 6.1(b) has amended wording to remove the term PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).
  • Appendix A, condition 7.4 has amended wording to improve plain English.
  • Appendix C, condition 10.1 has been expanded to include current legal standards around tinted windows.
  • Appendix E, new condition 2.10 included on a PHO’s Licence.
  • Appendix E Conditions 5.2, 5.3, and 5.4 added – Notification of a conviction and maintenance of a policy of previous convictions.
  • Appendix E Condition 6.4 has been expanded to include "The operator shall also display a copy of the licence and its conditions on the company’s website".
  • Appendix E Condition 8.1 is a new condition stating "Operators may outsource booking and dispatch functions, but they cannot pass on the obligation to protect children and vulnerable adults. When requested by an Authorised Officer or Police Constable, operators must provide adequate written evidence e.g. procedures, that comparable protections are applied by the company to which they outsource these functions".

A new paragraph inserted at section 2 of the Convictions Policy "The council will take a particularly cautious view of any offences against individuals with special needs, children, and other vulnerable groups, particularly those involving violence, those of a sexual nature and those linked to organised crime".

Consultation documents

Responding to the consultation

The consultation will be open for 12 weeks from 10 May 2021 to 2 August 2021.

Responses must be made in writing before midnight on the closing date shown above to the following contact details.

Email: licensing@ambervalley.gov.uk

Post: Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy Consultation, Amber Valley Borough Council, Town Hall, Ripley, Derbyshire DE5 3BT

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841637 or email licensing@ambervalley.gov.uk