To consider the report of the Director of Communities, Housing & Environment on the regional and national initiatives to review and update hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire policies and ways of working which the Council has participated in, with specific reference to the council’s approach to suitability and whether an individual is a fit and proper person to hold a licence. The report sets out the results of consultation on changing one of the criteria within the council’s Suitability and Convictions policy for taxi and private hire licence holders which relates to points on individuals’ driving licences for minor motoring convictions and presents the Licensing Committee’s recommendation for a revised criterion for minor motoring convictions.
Further to Minute No. 95, 16th October 2019, the Director of Communities, Housing and Environment submitted a report on the regional and national initiatives to review and update hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire policies and ways of working which the Council had participated in, with specific reference to the Council’s approach to suitability and whether an individual was a fit and proper person to hold a licence. The report set out the results of consultation undertaken regarding proposed changes to one of the criteria within the Council’s Suitability and Convictions policy for taxi and private hire licence holders which related to points on individuals’ driving licences for minor motoring convictions, and which presented the Licensing Committee’s recommendation for a revised criterion on such matters, as considered by that Committee at its meeting on 9th August 2022 (Minute No. 18 refers).
In introducing the report, the Executive Member for Resources emphasised the key role played by the taxi and private hire trade across the city, provided details on the actions and range of consultation and engagement which had taken place since the Council’s adoption of the Suitability and Convictions policy in 2019 which had led to the current position, and highlighted the proposals which were submitted for consideration to the Board regarding its policy for minor motoring convictions, as recently recommended by the Licensing Committee.
In considering the matter, a Member raised concerns regarding the proposals and questioned whether they were a proportionate response when considering the number of drivers which would be affected by such proposals. Concerns were also raised in respect of elements of the consultation undertaken, and as such made a request that this issue be referred to the appropriate Scrutiny Board prior to any final decisions being taken, so that the matter, together with any findings from Scrutiny Board, could be revisited and determined by Executive Board at the appropriate time.
In response, it was highlighted that the proposals being put forward were in line with Statutory Guidance, as issued by the Department for Transport, and would be consistent with the approach which had been adopted by other West Yorkshire and York Authorities.
The Board acknowledged the comments made during the discussion, including the specific request to refer this matter to the relevant Scrutiny Board, however, in conclusion, it was
(a) That following consideration of this matter by the Licensing Committee on 9th August 2022, the following be agreed as the basis for the Council’s new policy for minor motoring convictions:-
(i) Applications for a new taxi or private hire driver licence will not be granted when an applicant has 7 or more points for minor motoring convictions showing on their driving licence;
(ii) Existing licence holders reaching 7 or more points for minor motoring convictions will receive a warning and will only be required to attend appropriate training;
(iii) Existing licence holders reaching 9 points or more for minor motoring convictions and who have previously attended training under this policy may have their licence refused or revoked dependent on the individual circumstances of the driver concerned and offences committed. In considering such action, the intention of the policy will be to only refuse or revoke a licence where there are very clear concerns for public safety.
(b) That it be noted that the Licensing Committee has determined that for an initial 12-month pilot, any decision to revoke a licence on the basis of minor motoring convictions will be determined by a Licensing Sub Committee.
(Under the provisions of Council Procedure Rule 16.5, Councillor A Carter required it to be recorded that he voted against the decisions referred to within this minute)