On 7 September the Licensing Committee met to discuss proposed changes to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy. It was decided that only part of the amendments would be considered which were urgent or pressing (or mandatory), with a decision that other matters be discussed at a workshop prior to a further Committee in November.
Recommendations for Consideration
The following recommendations were agreed:
1.Fixing of plates
To amend paragraph 3.6 e and k in the policy (reference to bolting plates to vehicles) to be “securely fixed”.
To allow officers to explore more cost effective and more sustainable solutions to plates. One option is to switch to an adhesive variant of the plate which avoids the need for brackets being bolted to vehicles. Agreeing to this proposal will allow officers to undertake a procurement exercise to enable alternatives to be considered.
The current policy mandated that all vehicles were to have CCTV installed by no later than March 2021. The Licensing Committee agreed that this would be amended to “no later than March 2023”.
As this date has now passed, and CCTV has not been installed into vehicles due the recent (and ongoing) effects of the pandemic upon staff resources, capacity and the taxi trade, this policy must be amended to extend the implementation date. The additional time would allow the sourcing of CCTV in line with the agreed specification and allow officers to consider best practice amongst other Authorities.
In addition, it should be noted that in July 2020, the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards were published, which included new and additional guidance on CCTV. In particular, it stated that the government is fully supportive of the use of overt surveillance cameras in a public place (taxis and private hire vehicles), whenever that use is:
• in pursuit of a legitimate aim;
• necessary to meet a pressing need;
• effective, and;
• compliant with any relevant legal obligations.
The guidance also stated that: “The imposition of a blanket requirement to attach CCTV as a condition to a licence is likely to give rise to concerns about the proportionality of such an approach and will therefore require an appropriately strong justification and must be kept under regular review”.
The additional time scales will allow Officers to consider existing evidence and
data, to ensure this aspect of the policy remain robust and meets the most recent
3 . Mandatory Amendment
The inclusion in the Policy relating to a new tax conditionality requirement for Drivers coming into effect in April 2022.
(The second aspect was no longer accepting an EU Passport as right to remain and work in the United Kingdom (this is not within the Policy))
Decision type: Non-key
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Wards affected: (All Wards);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 14/09/2021
Decision due: 14 September 2021 by Lead Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Licensing
Lead member: Lead Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Licensing
Lead director: Health and Environmental Services Director
Department: Health and Environmental Services
Contact: Rachel Jackson, Principal Licensing Officer 01954 713397 Email: Rachel.Jackson@scambs.gov.uk.
Trade, parish/town councils and public. Referral to Licensing Committee on 7 September 2021.
Purpose of Report: Licensing Committee agenda 7 September 2021. Scrutiny and Overview Committee.