REVIEW OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER REGIME
To consider a report by the Head of Planning and Public Protection (copy enclosed) regarding the development of a draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Policy to better regulate and support the hackney carriage and private hire regime in the county.
RESOLVED that –
(a) the contents of the report be noted, and
(b) officers be instructed to start work on a
draft policy taking into account members’ views and any developments from the
Welsh Government process, and authorise Denbighshire’s consultation with
interested parties, and report back to a future meeting of the committee.
The Licensing Officer (NJ) submitted
a report (previously circulated) regarding the development of a Hackney
Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Policy to better regulate and support
the hackney carriage and private hire regime in the county.
Whilst drivers were subject to
various checks to assess their suitability there was currently no written
policy and officers sought members’ views on the regime and specific areas for
improvement as detailed within the report.
Members’ attention was also drawn to the Welsh Government consultation
document (attached to the report) on the reform of taxi legislation which could
impact on future regulation and would be taken into account when developing the
Members considered the report
and discussed the potential areas of improvement as follows –
Medicals – there was general support to move to the Group 2
Standards of Medical Fitness as applied by the DVLA to HGV and bus drivers. Officers confirmed that drivers were required
to inform the licensing authority of changes in medical history and this
element would be written into the new policy.
Qualification – there was currently no qualification
for licensed drivers and members welcomed the introduction of a suitable
qualification for new applicants which could also be used as an additional
enforcement tool for any taxi licensing breaches in order to raise standards
and improve behaviour. Officers advised
of nationally recognised qualifications covering areas such as customer service
and driving standards which were utilised by other local authorities. Members asked that officers undertake further
research into potential course options and cost implications, including those
courses utilised by other local authorities.
It was confirmed that the cost of the course would be met by the
individual and not the licensing authority.
Age and Driving Experience – members discussed the possibility
of introducing a minimum age restriction to ensure applicants had appropriate
experience and knowledge of driving but were also careful to consider age
discrimination and the Equality Act. The
committee agreed that driving experience was an important criteria which must
be demonstrated by all applicants.
In addition to the above members
discussed with officers whether more could be done to ensure drivers declared
motoring convictions both to the licensing authority and insurance companies,
particularly given the implications for non-disclosure. It was agreed that the application forms be
reviewed to assess whether this aspect could be further highlighted and made
clearer to applicants and officers also confirmed that an additional reference
could be included on the form asking applicants to declare that they had
notified their insurance company of relevant motoring convictions. Stronger warnings about the non-disclosure of
convictions could also be included in the Driver Conviction Policy. Officers provided assurances that proactive
steps were being taken to address the issue and discussions were ongoing with
the Police with a view to sharing information about driver convictions.
RESOLVED that –
contents of the report be noted, and
(b) officers be
instructed to start work on a draft policy taking into account members’ views
as detailed above and any developments from the Welsh Government process, and
authorise Denbighshire’s consultation with interested parties, and report back
to a future meeting of the committee.