Agenda item

Proposed Revised Draft Conditions for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing

To consider the report of the Head of Public Protection which presents the draft revised conditions for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing for approval by the Committee for consultation.




The Senior Licensing and Markets Officer presented the report of the Head of Public Protection which presented the draft revised conditions for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing for approval by the Committee for the purposes of consultation.


The Chair advised Members that an e-mail had been received from Mr Zeya Ahmed who was unable to attend the Committee but wished the Committee to be informed of his support for the proposed changes and his thanks for having had the opportunity to provide input which he believed was a significant improvement on the previous review.


He also wished it to be known that he had found the Senior Licensing and Markets Officer easy to work with even if they were not always in agreement.


Mr Ahmed had also suggested that any mention of the DVSA enhanced assessment be accompanied by words to the effect of ‘or equivalent driving test as approved by the Council’.


The Senior Licensing and Markets Officer advised that the DVSA intended withdraw the enhanced driving assessments with effect from 31 December 2016 and the Council was looking at alternatives. One provider would use former DVSA staff trained to that standard although the fee would be increased from £79.66 to £87.00.


A Member believed that the cost to the applicants should be kept at the same level. The Solicitor noted that existing drivers should have completed the assessment by 1 October 2016 and would still be able to take the DVSA assessment until the end of the year.


The Food, Licensing and Markets Manager advised that one alternative provider under consideration was a charitable trust and £7 of each fee would be remitted to the Local Authority for donation to a home for elderly or vulnerable people. She stated that there would be an estimated 27,000 applicants for the assessment next year nationally and the DVSA had been unable to cope with the demand.


The Senior Licensing and Markets Officer advised that in the region of ninety drivers still had to take the assessment but some may have not yet notified the Council that they had passed.


He stated that Officers were aware of difficulties in arranging appointments in Gloucester and each case would be treated on its own merits. If drivers could prove that they had genuinely tried to arrange a test that would be taken into account when the situation was reviewed on 1st  October.


A Member referred to paragraph 1.1B of the Private Hire Rule Book which stated that applicants for licences were expected to have a good command of the English language both verbal and written.  He was advised that the Trade had asked for this to be included and One Legal had been consulted and were satisfied with the clause.


Members were advised that this was assessed by a Licensing Officer during the Private Hire Knowledge test. In most instances applicants held a Private Hire Drivers Licence before applying for a Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence.


A Member referred to paragraph 3.13 regarding medical notification and suggested that this should also require that such instances should be reported to the DVLA who could, in appropriate cases, impose limitations on licences. The Senior Licensing and Markets Officer agreed to incorporate this in the draft policy.


A Member referred to the recent instance when the full Committee was required to approve a vehicle slightly over the age limit for a Private Hire Vehicle Licence and suggested that this could have been dealt with by a Sub-Committee of three Members.


The Head of Public Protection noted that this would require amendment of the Council’s constitution and was a matter for the Constitution Working Group and ultimately for the Council to determine.


Another Member questioned the requirement that new applicants should have no more than six penalty points on their driving licences as she believed that they should be required to have a clean licence. She was advised that six points had been supported by the Trade. After some discussion Members asked that the clause be amended to no more than three penalty points.


Members welcomed the proposed penalties for non-notification of medical issues and the inclusion of e-cigarettes and vaping devices in the prohibition of smoking in vehicles.


A Member referred to charges for luggage and was advised that this was a matter for the tariff.


The Chair referred to the requirement for those convicted of drug offences to have at least three years free of conviction before being considered for a licence and noted that they would be not have any further convictions if they had been in prison for the three years.


The Solicitor advised that each application had to be determined on its own merits.


RESOLVED that the revised policy for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing be approved for an eight week consultation subject to amending paragraph 1.4 of the Rule Books to refer to ‘no more than three penalty points on their DVLA licence’.

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