To consider the report of the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory which sets out an overview of the council’s vehicle policies and conditions, and the terms of reference for a review of the policies and conditions.
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory which set out an overview of the council’s vehicle policies and conditions which apply to taxi and private hire vehicles, and the terms of reference for a proposed review of the policies and conditions.
The report referred to the Licensing Committee meeting held in December 2021, which had prioritised the order for policies and conditions to be reviewed, in line with the chapters of the council’s Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Policy, with the Vehicle policy review, including CCTV in vehicles, being the first.
The report set out the engagement and consultation process proposed, including the establishment of four vehicle conditions working groups to consider each of the four policy themes:
The Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Manager presented the report and highlighted the key issues for members to consider:
· The Council currently operated in excess of 20 policies and conditions which would be reviewed in the coming years, the six areas of review correspond to the chapters of the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Policy which would be updated in response to the review.
· The review of the conditions and policies would be timely in view of the current cost of living crisis, to ensure the conditions are appropriate, not too stringent and are up to date.
· The terms of reference for the review provided an indicative programme of work, including consultation and engagement, working groups, and open days/site visits.
· In respect of Review No.1 Vehicle policy review, including CCTV in vehicles, noting the multiple conditions and guidance documents in place for different types of vehicles, it was suggested that Review No.1 be scheduled to take place in 4 distinct stages and Members were provided with an overview of the types of issues to be considered in each stage:
o Hackney Carriage Vehicles
o Private Hire Vehicles
o Non?standard Vehicles
o Equipment and adaptations in Vehicles.
During discussions the following matters were considered:
The format of open days and site visits – intended to view new types of vehicle available for licensing, the vehicle licensing approval process and possible trade fair visits or to other Local Authority vehicle licensing sections.
The breadth of engagement – to include taxi and private hire users/passenger groups, taxi and private hire representatives, stakeholders including the Passenger Transport Access Committee, school Governors, Union representatives, the aim being to have a wide pool of voices.
Working Group membership - once the working groups were established, further consideration would be given to the role of attendees (permanent member status or by invitation to provide evidence to the working group). In response to a Member’s concern over the practicalities of ensuring all groups within the taxi and private hire trade were heard, Members received assurance that the size of the working group and structure of meetings would be considered to ensure they provided the right forum for discussions. The Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Manager offered to liaise with Members on the working group structure. The review would be highlighted at the forthcoming Taxi and Private Forums and their views would be sought on how they could engage with and provide input to the review.
How the review would complement harmonisation work – a meeting of the West Yorkshire Licensing Chairs was scheduled for 28th September 2022 where harmonisation work and common minimum standards to provide consistency in policies to promote safety would be discussed.
The vehicles to be included within the review – the review would look at non-standard vehicles which could include the use of ‘pedi-cabs’ which previously had not been supported. This would have wider implications on the terminology used in the policies, however, as the geography of the city had changed, this could be a move which would support clean air and green transport modes.
a) To note the background to the reviews and the initial supporting information.
b) Having considered the options for prioritising the order of the different policies/conditions the Committee supported the approach set out in the report and appendix and noted the content of discussions at the meeting.
c) To agree that Committee Members will undertake to play a role in one of the working groups, an open day, in engagement or consultation.