Agenda item

Progress update re implementation of Department for Transport Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards

Report of the Licensing Manager


The Licensing Manager presented a report which provided the Committee with an update on progress regarding the implementation of standards outlined in the Department for Transport (DfT) “Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles Standards”.


The Committee had previously considered two reports in relation to the DfT Standards. A report brought before the Committee on 27th August 2020 had introduced the standards and at the Committee meeting on 8th October 2020 a further report was considered which outlined the key standards and actions required in respect of each chapter of the Department for Transports Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards. 


At the meeting on the 8th October 2020 the Committee had requested an updated progress report be brought back to the Committee in 4 months’ time.


The report provided an update to the Committee in respect of the actions taken regarding progress in consideration of the DfT standards.


The Licensing Manager advised the Committee that the DfT required regular updates from Local Authorities regarding progress on implementation of the standards. In January 2021, an update report was provided to the DfT by the Licensing Manager on behalf of the City Council.


It was reported that an additional temporary part time staff resource had been used to develop a comprehensive first draft taxi policy which brought together licencing practice and procedures and where necessary further developed these to reflect the standards aspired to in the DfT Statutory Standards document. This was the subject of a separate report within the agenda of this meeting (note 44).


The Committee was advised that the DfT Statutory Standards were very clear that the primary and overriding objective of a local authority’s taxi policy must be the protection of the public. The proposed draft taxi licensing policy had been developed in line with this but also sought to protect the safety of licensed drivers.


The Committee were advised on a number of key actions and updates to the since the 8th October 2020 which included;


·       Info sharing protocols with Lancashire Police specific to Taxi/OPH licensing had been agreed and any officers involved in referrals would be briefed in the coming weeks.

·       NR3 National Register of Refusals and Revocations had been approved by the portfolio holder and accounts had been activated for all licensing team members.  Further development was required of application forms to ensure privacy notices etc updated.

·       Complaints review had been undertaken.

·       Safeguarding presentation delivered to new drivers had been updated to reflect the updates. Officers had worked with CSE Officer of Lancashire Police to update content and provide email for referrals and examples of local activity.

It was reported that the Council had considered the DfT Statutory standards in the continued development of its first comprehensive taxi licensing policy and the Licensing team was continuing to adapt operational working practices not only to reflect the requirements of the DfT, but the changes required because of the public safety issues arising from the pandemic. The pandemic continued to create a degree of uncertainty as to how quickly work could be undertaken and finalised in respect of the changes required. The proposal to provide 4 monthly updates to Committee ensured that Councillors would be kept informed of progress and similarly the DfT could also see the progress that was being made.  


Committee members asked questions regarding the requirement for licensees to self-report conduct matters within 48 hours and whether extended bank holidays would impact on their ability to fulfil this. The Committee were advised that licence holders would be made aware of the new requirements though the consultation process and reporting via email meant matters could be reported at any time. 


Councillor Jackson proposed, seconded by Councillor Guilding:


“That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved.”


There being no dissent to the recommendations, the Chair declared the proposals to be carried.


Resolved unanimously;


(1)    That the Committee considered and noted the report and action plan update attached at Appendix A of the agenda.


(2)    That updated reports of progress continue to be presented to the Committee at 4 monthly intervals.


(3)    That officers be advised of any additional actions required by the Committee in terms of compliance with the DFT Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards.

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