Taxi Policy Consultation

Taxi Policy Consultation

An 8 week consultation is now underway for our Taxi Policy. Please submit your comments to licensing@broxtowe.gov.uk, the deadline for submitting comments is Monday 8th March 2021 at 5.00pm.

Read the full draft of Broxtowe Borough Council's Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy (.pdf) (428KB) (Opens in a New Window)

In July 2020 the Department for Transport issued new Statutory Guidance on Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards focusing on the role of taxi licensing powers and enhanced regulation in protecting children and vulnerable adults. The guidance sets out core minimum standards that all licensing authorities are expected to meet in order to further safeguard vulnerable passengers, increase safety for the travelling public in general and comply with the statutory guidance changes to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy are proposed.

These standards are an important first step in reforming the way the taxi (HC) and private hire vehicle (PHV) sector is regulated and should ensure consistent standards between licensing authorities.

Para 1.3 of the Standards states:

There is consensus that common core minimum standards are required to regulate better the taxi and private hire vehicle sector, and the recommendations in this document are the result of detailed discussion with the trade, regulators and safety campaign groups. The Department therefore expects these recommendations to be implemented unless there is a compelling local reason not to.

The current Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing Policy was revised on 12th March 2019 and continues to be effective in ensuring that those applicants and / or licence holders that do not take seriously the need to safeguard children and vulnerable persons or promote the need for public safety and public confidence in the trade are adequately dealt with.

Due to the work already undertaken both by Broxtowe Borough Council and in conjunction with the other Nottinghamshire authorities in developing the current Policy, the  additional requirements placed on the Council by the Statutory Standards can be very easily implemented, and these requirements are listed below. You can find the statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards on the official Government website (Opens in a New Window).

Major recommendations from the document

The document sets out a framework of policies that, under section 177(4), licensing authorities “must have regardto when exercising their functions. These functions include developing, implementing and reviewing their taxi and private hire vehicle licensing regimes. “Having regard” is more than having a cursory glance at a document before arriving at a preconceived conclusion..

Licensing authorities should review their licensing policies every five years, but should also consider interim reviews should there be significant issues arising in their area, and their performance annually.

The recommended review period is incorporated into the draft policy..

Any decision taken to alter the licensing regime is likely to have an impact on the operation of the taxi and private hire vehicle sector in neighbouring areas; and licensing authorities should engage with these areas to identify any concerns and issues that might arise from a proposed change.

Broxtowe Borough Council meets with its Nottinghamshire counterparts on a regular basis and the Statutory document together with the implications has been discussed on a number of occasions.

Any changes in licensing requirements should be followed by a review of the licences already issued.

Councillors may wish to consider such a step following adoption of the draft policy.

Licensing authorities should maintain close links with the police to ensure effective and efficient information sharing procedures and protocols are in place and are being used.

The countywide Taxi Licensing Group in in discussion with Nottinghamshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure such procedures and policies are put in place on a formal footing.

A decision to refuse or revoke a licence as the individual is thought to present a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult, should be referred to the DBS.

Broxtowe Borough Council is engaged in such processes and has referred such an individual previously following revocation of his driver badge.

Action taken by the licensing authority as a result of information received should be fed-back to the police.

This will form part of the policies and procedures agreed with Nottinghamshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Applicants and licensees should be required to disclose if they hold or have previously held a licence with another authority. An applicant should also be required to disclose if they have had an application for a licence refused, or a licence revoked or suspended by any other licensing authority.

This is already a requirement for new applicants and licensees.

The LGA commissioned the National Anti-Fraud Network to develop a national register of taxi and private hire vehicle driver licence refusals and revocations (the register is known as ‘NR3’). Tools such as NR3 should be used by licensing authorities to share information on a more consistent basis to mitigate the risk of non-disclosure of relevant information by applicants.

Broxtowe Borough Council has been signed up to NR3 for the past two years.

All licensing authorities should have a robust system for recording complaints, including analysing trends across all licensees as well as complaints against individual licensees.

Complaints reported to the council are recorded and acted upon. The Licensing and Appeals Committee recently revoked a licence following a number of complaints recorded against a particular driver.

All individuals that determine whether a licence is issued should be required to undertake sufficient training. As a minimum, training for a member of a licensing committee should include: licensing procedures, natural justice, understanding the risks of CSAE, disability and equality awareness and the making of difficult and potentially controversial decisions.

The Licensing Manager in conjunction with the Legal team undertakes training for members on a regular basis. Countywide training for members has also been provided. This will continue to take place with emphasis on areas indicated in the standards recommendation.

All licensing authorities should consider arrangements for dealing with serious matters that may require the immediate revocation of a licence. It is recommended that this role is delegated to a senior officer/manager with responsibility for the licensing service.

Such a procedure is in place within the council’s scheme of delegation.

“All licensed drivers should also be required to evidence continuous registration with the DBS update service to enable the licensing authority to routinely check for new information every six months. Drivers that do not subscribe up to the Update Service should still be subject to a check every six months.”

 

The draft policy has been amended to implement this recommendation.

In the interests of public safety, licensing authorities should not, as part of their policies, issue a licence to any individual that appears on either barred list.

The “barred lists” referred to relate to

  1. People who are barred from working with children
  2. People who are barred from working with vulnerable adults

All licensed drivers are required to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service check which includes a check on both barred lists. This has been a standard requirement for a number of years.

Vehicles

Licensing authorities should require a basic disclosure from the DBS and that a check is undertaken annually.

This is a new recommendation that vehicle proprietors both HC and PHV provide an annual Basic DBS check. A Basic check provides details of “unspent” convictions and conditional cautions of the applicant.

It has not previously been thought necessary to check the status of vehicle owners.

The draft policy has been amended to include this requirement

Operators

Licensing authorities should request a basic disclosure from the DBS and that a check is undertaken annually.

Currently a basic DBS check is required upon application for a private hire operator licence.

The draft policy has been amended to include this requirement  

Licensing authorities should, as a condition of granting an operator licence, require a register of all staff that will take bookings or dispatch vehicles is kept.

The draft policy has been amended to include this new requirement

Licensing authorities should as a minimum require private hire vehicle operators to record the following information for each booking.

The document recommends a number of details to be recorded. The current policy has much of this already in place and the draft policy has been amended to update this requirement.

Convictions

Authorities must consider each case on its own merits, and applicants/licensees are entitled to a fair and impartial consideration of their application. Where a period is given below, it should be taken to be a minimum in considering whether a licence should be granted or renewed in most cases. The Department’s view is that this places passenger safety as the priority while enabling past offenders to sufficiently evidence that they have been successfully rehabilitated so that they might obtain or retain a licence.

The Councils current policy was revised in September 2017. The recommended standard goes further than the current policy and details are shown below together with a list of other amendments to the policy. Tariffs are increased in many cases.

Policy Amendments

Policy Amendments
Reference Amendment Rationale

Section 1

This policy will be reviewed every 5 years but may be subject to interim reviews should the need arise.

New requirement

Section 5.4

The Licensing Authority requires all drivers to fund, obtain and produce an enhanced DBS check every six months and the details contained within this will be retained by the Licensing Authority. Licence holders are required to subscribe to the DBS Online Update. The update service can be used if an application is made for a renewal or six monthly check and there have been no changes. If no changes are recorded on the DBS certificate then a full DBS check will not be required. In all other cases a full Enhanced DBS check will be required before a licence will be renewed/issued.

New Requirement to produce DBS every 6 months

Section 5.4

DVLA Driving Licence Check


All applicants for and holders of a hackney carriage/private hire driver’s badge will be required to have a six monthly DVLA check of their driving licence record. A driving licence check code must be provided to the Council to enable this to take place.

New requirement

(not required by Standards but brings check procedure in line with DBS requirement)

Section 6.1

A Basic DBS Disclosure Certificate (No older than 31 days) or permission to access the update service if the applicant is not the holder of a current Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver Licence or Private Hire Operator Licence issued by Broxtowe Borough Council.

New Requirement

Section 8.3

The Licensing Authority requires that all operators (all partners /directors) fund, obtain and provide a basic DBS certificate annually if the applicant is not the holder of a current hackney carriage/private hire driver licence or private hire operator licence issued by Broxtowe Borough Council.

If the Operator holds a current hackney carriage/private hire driver licence, permission to access the Update Service will be acceptable.

New Requirement

Section 8.9h

The Operator is required to maintain a register of all staff whose work consists of taking bookings and dispatching vehicles, and that such staff have provided the Operator with a Basic DBS Disclosure and that such checks are reviewed annually, and certainly prior to a new employee commencing work.

New Requirement

Section 8.9i

The Operator is required to maintain a Policy on the employment of ex-offenders who may work for the Operator or undertake work on behalf of the Operator in order to ensure such persons do not pose a risk to the safety of The public. Applicants and licence holders are advised to note the position the Council takes in its Relevant Convictions Policy (Appendix B) when formulating such a Policy.

New Requirement

Section 8.9j

The Operator will ensure that the company maintains a Safeguarding Policy that addresses the needs of the protection of children and vulnerable adults for whom the Operator provides transport services. Such a Policy shall also include the matters referred to at items h and i above.

New Requirement

Section 8.9k

The Operator is required to evidence that any other Operator to whom they sub-contracts bookings, has necessary comparable protections in place for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

New Requirement

Appendix B 5.1 (a)

Exploitation Where an applicant or licence holder has been convicted of a crime involving, related to, or hasany connection with abuse, expl oitation, use ortreatment of another individual irrespective ofwhether the victim or victims were  adults orchildren, they will not normally be licensed. Thisincludes slavery, child sexual abuse, exploitation,grooming, psychological, emotional or financialabuse. Such offences include but are not limitedto:

  1. Slavery

  2. Trafficking

  3. Child sexual abuse

  4. Exploitation

  5. Grooming

  6. psychological, emotional or financial abuse

  7. Kidnapping or abduction

  8. Or any similar offences (Including attempted or conspiracy to commit) offences which may replace the above

New section

Appendix B 5.4

Discrimination

A licence will not normally be granted where the applicant has a conviction for an offence or similar offence(s) which replace the offences below and at least 5 years have passed since the completion of any sentence and/or licence period:

1. Racially-aggravated criminal damage
2. Racially-aggravated offence
3. Hate crime against a person or persons
4. Hate crime against property
5. Or any similar offences (including attempted or conspiracy to commit offences) which replace the above.

New heading amended section

Appendix B 5.5

A licence will not normally be granted where the
applicant has a conviction for an offence or
similar offence(s) which replace the offences
below and at least 10 years have passed since
the completion of any sentence and/or licence
period:

1. Common assault/Battery
2. Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
3. Affray
4. S5 Public Order Act 1986 offence (harassment, alarm or distress)
5. S.4 Public Order Act 1986 offence (fear of provocation of violence)
6. S4A Public Order Act 1986 offence (intentional harassment, alarm or distress)
7. Obstruction
8. Criminal damage
9. Harassment
10. Offences involving anti-social behaviour
11. Or any similar offences (including attempted or conspiracy to commit offences) which replace the above.

Increase from 7 to 10 years as recommendation

Appendix B 5.8

Possession of a weapon

If an applicant has been convicted of possession
of a weapon or any other weapon related offence,
depending on the circumstances of the offence, at
least 7 years must have passed since the
completion of the sentence, before a licence is
granted.

Recommendation from 3 to 7 years

Appendix B 5.9

Sexual and indecency offences

As licensed drivers often carry unaccompanied
and vulnerable passengers, applicants with
convictions for sexual offences must be closely
scrutinised. All sexual offences should be
considered as serious. Applicants with convictions
for sexual offences will normally be refused a
licence upon application, renewal or review.

Such offences include:

1. Rape
2. Assault by penetration
3. Offences involving children or vulnerable adults
4. Grooming, Trafficking or other Sexual Exploitation related offences (adults and/or children)
5. Making or distributing obscene material
6. Possession of indecent photographs depicting child pornography.
7. Sexual assault
8. Indecent assault
9. Exploitation of prostitution
10. Any similar offences (including attempted or conspiracy to commit offences) which replace the above
11. Making indecent telephone calls
12. Importuning
13. Indecent exposure
14. Soliciting (kerb crawling)
15. Any similar offences (including attempted or conspiracy to commit offences) which replace the above.

Recommendation section amended

Appendix B 5.13

Where an applicant has a conviction for any offence where dishonesty is an element of the offence, a licence will not be granted until at least 7 years have elapsed since the completion of any sentence imposed. Offences involving dishonesty include but are not limited to.

Recommendation increase from 5 to 7 years

Appendix B 5.23

Driving offences involving alcohol and/or drugs
A serious view will be taken of convictions of driving, or attempting to drive, or being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of drink or drugs. Where an applicant has a conviction for drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs, a licence will not be granted until at least 7 years have elapsed since the completion of any sentence or driving ban imposed

In the case of driving under the influence of drugs, any applicant or licence holder may also have to undergo drugs testing at their own expense to demonstrate that they are not using controlled drugs.

Recommendation increase from 5 to 7 years

Appendix B 5.24

More than one conviction for this type of offence or one such offence within the last 7 years is likely to merit refusal. In addition, applicants will normally be required to show a period of at least 7 years has elapsed after completion of detoxification treatment if (s)he was an alcoholic or drug addict.

Recommendation increase from 5 to 7 years

Appendix B 5.36

Using a Hand-held Device Whilst Driving

Where an applicant has a conviction for using a hand held mobile phone or a hand held device whilst driving, a licence will not be granted until at least 5 years have elapsed since the conviction or completion of any sentence or driving ban imposed, whichever is the later

Recommendation new offence

Appendix D 24

The driver shall, within 48 hours, disclose in writing to the Council details of any arrest and release, charge or conviction of any sexual offence, any other criminal offence and any motoring offence.

Recommendation reduced from 7 days to 48 hours

Appendix F

The applicant is required to sign up to the DBS Update Service as this will allow the Council to undertake six-monthly checks (or more frequent checks if deemed appropriate) at a significantly reduced cost to the applicant.

The applicant will be sent a printed DBS disclosure certificate which they will be required to provide to the Licensing Section.

A licence will not be issued without the Council having viewed a copy of the DBS certificate.

Once a DBS certificate is received the applicant has period of 30 calendar days to subscribe to the DBS update service.

The Council requires all drivers to undergo a DBS every six months and upon renewal. Signing up to the DBS update service will enable the Licensing Authority to undertake this check on behalf of the applicant. If this service is not subscribed to, it will be the responsibility of the applicant to ensure a DBS certificate is available on the relevant date.

Amended condition to 6 monthly checks

Appendix K 16

Each member of staff must provide to the operator a valid basic DBS certificate on an annual basis and prior to commencement of employment.

The register must be made available to an authorised officer on request.

 

Appendix K 17

The operator shall implement and maintain a policy relating to the employment of ex-offenders. The policy must be provided to the Licensing Authority upon being implanted. The policy must be made available to an authorised officer on request.

New condition

Appendix K 18

The operator shall implement and maintain a safeguarding policy that demonstrates the steps taken to protect children and other vulnerable adults for whom the operator provides transport services.

New condition

Appendix K 19

The operator shall ensure that any other operator to whom they sub-contract bookings also has a similar policy in place to protect children and other vulnerable adults.

New condition

Appendix K 20

The use of a driver who holds a PCV licence and the use of a public service vehicle (PSV) such as a minibus to undertake a private hire vehicle booking  should not be permitted as a condition of the private hire vehicle operator’s licence without the informed consent of the booker.

New condition


Contact
Licensing
tel: 0115 917 3241