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Taxi Policy - Administrative and operational arrangements

Checklist

Decision making

The Legislation.gov - Local Government Act 2000 provides a framework for decision making for licensing authorities and requires the publication of a constitution. It is devised and approved by the Authority and is its own rule book in respect of:

  • How its responsibilities have been allocated
  • Its procedural framework for undertaking the functions and decisions within the Authority; and
  • Codes and Protocols that elected Members and officers are expected to follow

The Scheme of Delegation is contained within the constitution which also sets out details of what roles and responsibilities have been given to the Council, the Executive of the Council, various committees, and senior officers. View the current Council constitution.

Guidelines on relevance of convictions

The Authority has specific guidelines in place on the relevance of convictions and other conduct. A copy of the guidelines can be found in Appendix A.  

They apply to applicants for licences and existing licence holders.

Within the guidelines it clearly states that matters which have not resulted in a criminal conviction (whether that is the result of an acquittal, a conviction being quashed, decision not to prosecute, or an investigation which is continuing where the individual has been bailed) can and will be considered by the Authority. In addition, any reference to convictions will also include matters that amount to criminal behaviour, but which have not resulted in a conviction, as will complaints where there was no police involvement.

Licences

Time periods for which licences can be granted by this Authority are as follows:

  • Driver licences - 3 years
  • Private hire operator licences - 5 years
  • Vehicle licences - 6 months

Licences can be issued for a shorter period where the Authority thinks it appropriate due to specific circumstances of the application. This may happen with a driver licence when the applicant's leave to remain in the UK is less than 3 years at the time of his application.

Licences will not be issued for a shorter time based on a probationary period.

The Authority sets the fees for the hackney carriage and private hire licensing function. It will consult on changes to licensing fees and will review them annually as part of the budget process.

The appropriate fee must be paid when the licence application is submitted. It is acknowledged that the licence fee in respect of an application for the grant of a private hire operator, hackney carriage/private hire driver and hackney carriage/private hire vehicle licence is payable for the grant of the licence. Therefore, in the event of these types of licences being refused a refund can be requested of the appropriate fee. No refunds will be given once a licence has been granted. For the current licence fees see taxi licences.

Guidance/Information for passengers

The Authority recognises the importance of the public understanding how to identify licensed vehicles and drivers and the increased risks associated with the unlicensed trade.

Information notices will be published by the Authority that will be required to be displayed in licensed private hire operator premises and private hire and hackney carriage vehicles regarding standards expected from the trade and from customers and how to make a complaint. General guidance for passengers on how to stay safe when using hackney carriage and private hire services will be published by the Authority on its website.

When making a booking with a private hire operator, customers are advised to make the operator aware of any special requirements such as a wheelchair accessible vehicle; accompanied by an assistance dog; large amount of luggage; swivel seats required; child car seats etc.

Whistle blowing policy

The Authority has a whistle blowing policy in place to encourage employees and others who have serious concerns about any aspect of the Authority's work to come forward and voice those concerns.

Safeguarding

In recent years the national media has reported on numerous towns and cities where local licensing authorities' policies and practices have failed to protect the safety of passengers travelling in licensed vehicles, whether that be in relation to child sex exploitation, inappropriate treatment of customers and drug/people trafficking. Less media attention has been given to physical attacks and abuse suffered by licensed drivers. The trades press regularly detail such incidents which often result in serious injury to licensed drivers.

Safeguarding is at the heart of this Policy. Procedures and practices including licence conditions and enforcement reflect the importance of safeguarding and will seek to promote the welfare of children, vulnerable people, passengers in general and licensed drivers.

Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility, any licence holder who receives information or has concerns regarding a safeguarding matter is expected to notify the Authority's licensing services team. Private hire operator licence conditions have been strengthened to require operators to review complaints and develop and implement their own safeguarding policies.

Application processes

The application processes in respect of the various licence types are detailed in the drivers, vehicles, and operators' sections of this Policy. For a step-by-step process see taxi licences.

Generally all documentation submitted in support of licence applications should be original documents that can be verified. Scanned copies may be sent electronically but will only be accepted on the basis that the document is clearly legible once viewed on the Authority systems.

Right to work checks

All applicants for driver, vehicle and private hire operator licences are required to demonstrate that they have the right to live and work in the UK. A licence will not be granted to an applicant who is not entitled to work in the UK.

Where an applicant's entitlement to work (or remain in the UK) is time limited, the Authority will not grant a licence beyond the date of the entitlement to work. Should that entitlement subsequently be extended during the validity of the licence, an application to renew the licence for a longer period may be made, to be accompanied by evidence of the revised entitlement.

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