Agenda for Licensing and Regulatory Committee Spokespersons with Representatives of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade on Tuesday 29th January, 2019, 10.00 am

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Bootle

Contact: Ruth Appleby  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Dodd, Councillor Keith (Substitute for Councillor Dodd), Mr T. Crabtree (North Sefton Hackney Carriage Association), Mr J. Murrison (Southport Station Hackney Carriage Association) and Mr T. Robinson (Sefton Fleet Association).

 

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Minutes of the Meeting held on 30 January 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2018, be confirmed as a correct record.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested at a meeting where a disclosable pecuniary interest or personal interest arises, which is not already included in their Register of Members' Interests, todeclare any interests that relate to an item on the agenda.

 

Where a Member discloses a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, he/she must withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest, except where he/she is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of a dispensation.

 

Where a Member discloses a personal interest he/she must seek advice from the Monitoring Officer or staff member representing the Monitoring Officer to determine whether the Member should withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest or whether the Member can remain in the meeting or remain in the meeting and vote on the relevant decision.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of any disclosable pecuniary interests or personal interests were received.

 

4.

Outstanding Work Streams

 

Item submitted by Richard Jarman.

 

Request for a full review/explanation of outstanding matters agreed at previous meetings. Ref: Minute No. 12 of 30 January 2018, enclosed.

Minutes:

The Committee considered an item submitted by Mr Richard Jarman (South Sefton Hackney Carriage Association).

 

‘A full review/explanation of inability to progress outstanding matters. (Not limited to testing stations). Refer to minutes for the last four years to understand the need for results. The generality of this request is not to be taken as limiting its scope or response. Inadequate funding is not acceptable (if that is germane)’.

 

Referring to Minute No. 12 of the meeting held on 30 January 2018 which listed work to be undertaken in 2018, Mr Toohey advised of the following action taken in progressing outstanding matters:

 

1.

Finalising advice for drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles, due March 2018.  Mr Mark Toohey (Principal Officer, Licensing), indicated that this was now complete and full details could be found on the Council’s website at www.sefton.gov.uk/taxi

.

 

2.

Guide dog mystery shopping exercise - following a complaint by a guide dog owner who had been refused access with his dog by a taxi driver. Mr Toohey advised that no further complaints had been received by guide dog users and a decision had been taken not to proceed with the mystery shopping exercise, but that one would be instigated should any further complaints be received.

 

3.

Unmet demand survey – Mr Toohey indicated that following consultation with Trade Representatives it had been decided not to conduct the survey in the lead up to Christmas, because the statistics would not have provided a true representation of demand.  It had therefore been decided to conduct the survey after March 2019 and Mr Toohey indicated that he was currently in communication with various companies who would conduct the survey and that he would share details with Trade Representatives in the next 4 weeks.

 

Mr McLaughlin (Delta) indicated that the unmet demand survey did not apply to the private hire trade, but that he would take an academic interest in the results of the hackney carriage trade unmet demand survey.

 

4.

The Testing Station Review had been scheduled to take place by 18 June 2018 and concern was expressed that a review had still not yet been undertaken and that the Sub-Groups set up to consider the issue had never been convened.  Mr Toohey indicated that he intended taking some ideas on how to go about the review to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Joint Working Group and it was agreed that the convening of a meeting of the Testing Station Sub-Group comprising the members below be agreed at the next Joint Trade Working Group meeting.

 

It was noted that the Testing Station Sub-Group would comprise the following members: 

 

·       Mr Richard Jarman,

·       Mr Joseph Johnson

·       Mr Trevor Jones

·       Mr Mark Sanders.

 

5.

Taxi Licensing Handbook (v4) – Mr Toohey indicated that a new handbook would be completed once the collaborative work with the rest of the Merseyside authorities was completed.

 

6.

Review of Constitution.  Hackney Carriage and Private Hire representatives expressed concern that some Members of the Working Groups had not attended  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Staffing

Minutes:

Arising from discussion on Outstanding Workstreams, Trade Representatives expressed concern about staffing levels in the Taxi Licensing Department, in particular, the perception that Mr Toohey’s workload was too much for one person.

 

Mr Wood (Environmental Health and Licensing Manager), indicated that currently much of Mr Toohey’s time was involved in litigation of enforcement breaches. However, he was currently undertaking a review of taxi licensing staffing with the aim of creating an additional post.

 

Trade Representatives made the following suggestions:

 

·       that the role of the new post (holder) could be to assist the Principal Officer, Licensing (Mr Toohey), not limited to enforcement.

·       the post be advertised to attract persons with a taxi licensing background and relevant qualifications, thereby requiring minimal training.

·       Funding for the post be from the Taxi Licensing Reserve fund.

 

Mr Wood indicated that he would have to be guided by the Council’s HR Policy in respect of the creation and recruitment to the new post, but that consultation with the Trade representatives would take place regarding the job description and person specification.  He concluded by stating that he anticipated the process taking approximately 5-6 months with a view to the post holder being in place by June 2019.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

Mr Toohey, be commended for his work with the Taxi Trade to date; and

 

(2)

the proposals for the creation and recruitment of an additional taxi licensing post over the next 6 months be welcomed.

 

6.

Harmonisation (or amalgamation) of Functions Across the Region

Item submitted by Mr Richard Jarman

 

Request for:

 

‘Proper and detailed reporting including minutes/documents passing between nearby regions and authorities.

To include:

a)    The operation of section 46(1)(d) in relation to fleets with multiple licences. e.g. a vehicle may roam; a business requiring roaming out with its licenced area & the sub-section (as e.g. a business model) is acting contrary to the sub-section.

b)    The effect of a prohibition on mobile telephony for small (one or two vehicle businesses) is disproportionate; especially where ‘handsfree’ installation may be mandated’.

Minutes:

The Committee considered an item submitted by Mr Richard Jarman (South Sefton Hackney Carriage Association), requesting:

 

‘Proper and detailed reporting including minutes/documents passing between nearby regions and authorities.  To include: The operation of section 46(1)(d) in relation to fleets with multiple licences. e.g. a vehicle may roam; a business requiring roaming out with its licenced area and vehicle businesses) is disproportionate; especially where ‘handsfree’ installation may be mandated’.

 

Mr Toohey indicated that cross regional collaboration meetings currently involved Taxi Licensing Officers from the neighbouring authorities, but that these meetings took the form of a collaborative support network and were not formally convened, did not publish agendas and did not produce minutes.

 

Mr Toohey further stated that the Merseyside-wide licence plate is not on the table at the moment and that the issue of fleets with multiple licences had previously been advised on.

 

7.

One Stop Shops

Item submitted by Mr Richard Jarman and Mr Joseph Johnson

 

‘The functionality of the duties undertaken by the hitherto outsourced ‘One Stop Shop’.

Consultation was promised and not offered; without limiting generality:

The use of a second person at interviews; where this second person is seen gesturing to encourage a response.

The unit cost for each taxi user’s visit namely

(a) existing or past licensees,

(b) new applicants &

(c) people appearing together to collude; only existing licensees should be interviewed accompanied.

(d) Fees & staffing’.

Minutes:

The Committee considered an item submitted by Messrs Richard Jarman (South Sefton Hackney Carriage Association and Joseph Johnson (Berry Street Garage Association) regarding:

 

‘The functionality of the duties undertaken by the hitherto outsourced One Stop Shop. Consultation was promised and not offered...’

 

Mr Toohey indicated that since the return of the One-Stop-Shop from Arvato to Sefton Council, no substantive changes had been made to the organisation and staffing of the taxi licensing function in the One Stop Shops and as such, there had been no necessity to consult with the taxi trade. However, he assured the Committee that the taxi trade would be fully involved in consultations regarding any proposed changes in the future.

 

8.

Enforcement

Item submitted by Mr Tony Crabtree.

 

All ranks in a vicinity should have contiguous hours of operation. To include proper enforcement of “‘rank” transgressions in Southport’.

Minutes:

The Committee considered an item submitted by Mr Tony Crabtree (North Sefton Hackney Carriage Association) stating that:

 

‘All ranks in a vicinity should have continuous hours of operation. To include proper enforcement or ‘rank’ transgressions in Southport’.

 

It was noted that the problem of confused signage on shared ranks (joint taxi ranks and public parking spaces) in Southport (e.g. the Christ Church rank, adjacent to the Town Hall) raised at last year’s meeting - Minute No.4 refers, remained unresolved.

 

Trade representatives suggested that larger, clearer replacement signs should be put in place and that perhaps funding for such signs could come from Taxi Licensing Reserve Fund. The Chair concurred with the Trade Representatives that the signage on the shared ranks was indeed confusing and asked whether a compromise solution could be reached.

 

Mr Wood indicated that he had consulted the Manager, Highways Management on this issue who had informed him that signage on public highways were dictated by Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016, which is a Statutory Instrument.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Mr Wood (Environmental Health and Licensing Manager), be requested to re-consult with the Manager, Highways Management, to try and reach a compromise solution to the confusing and misleading signage on the shared Southport Taxi Ranks and to report the outcome of the consultation to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Joint Working Group.

9.

Licensing Checks

Item submitted by Mr Trevor Jones requesting

 

‘A clear policy dealing with licencing checks / the ‘right to roam’ and reasonable and proper enforcement of ‘agency’ activities; bookings must be directed by a driver’s own operator- not by a third party or even’ licensed third party.  See also Item 5 (a), above’.

Minutes:

The Committee considered an item submitted by Mr Trevor Jones (North West Taxi Association), requesting:

 

‘A clear policy dealing with licensing checks / the right to roam and reasonable and proper enforcement of ‘agency’ activities; bookings must be directed by a driver’s own operator – not by a third party or even ‘licensed third party’.

 

Mr Toohey indicated that legal advice had been provided on this by Mrs Cain, Senior Lawyer.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Mr Toohey be requested to share the legal advice provided in respect of bookings taken by private hire firms with the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Representatives.

 

 

10.

National Policies

Item submitted by Mr Trevor Jones

 

‘SMBC should endorse HMPG’s (Her Majesty’s Paymaster General) intended (announced) acceptance of the Taylor report and the “Task & Finish” report’.

Minutes:

The Committee considered an item submitted by Mr Trevor Jones (North West Taxi Association), stating that ‘Sefton MBC should endorse HMPG’s (Her Majesty’s Paymaster General) acceptance of the Taylor report and the ‘Task and Finish’ report’.

 

Mr Toohey indicated that this matter was being considered at a regional level by the Merseyside Taxi Licensing Officers group.

 

11.

Operation Brooklyn

Mr Mark Toohey to report on the results of ‘Operation Brooklyn’ – A Joint Operation between Merseyside Police and Sefton MBC.

Minutes:

Mr Mark Toohey (Principal Officer, Licensing), provided a verbal report on the results of ‘Operation Brooklyn’, a joint initiative with Merseyside Police, indicating that the operation had taken place from September to December 2018 and had targeted licensed vehicles throughout the Borough.

 

Mr Toohey indicated that various defects had been found in approximately 40% of the vehicles; that 26 defect notices had been issued and 3 vehicles’ licences suspended.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Mr Toohey, be requested to provide statistics on Operation Brooklyn to the next meeting of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Working Group.

 

12.

Proposed Dates for Meetings of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade 2019/20 Municipal Year pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To consider and agree proposed meeting dates for the 2019/2020 Municipal Year

Minutes:

The Committee considered the proposed dates for meetings in the 2019/20 Municipal Year.

 

It was noted that the meeting cycle for the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Working Groups were scheduled to take place at least two weeks prior to each meeting of the Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee and accordingly it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)

That the 2019/20 meeting cycle be approved as follows:

 

(i)

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Working Group Meetings to be held at 9.30/10.00 on Tuesdays.

 

 

 

·       4 June 2019 – Southport Town Hall

 

·       20 August 2019 – Bootle Town Hall

 

·       10 December 2019 – Southport Town Hall

 

·       3 March 2010 – Bootle Town Hall

 

 

(ii)

Next annual meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee Spokespersons with Representatives of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade to be held at

 

10.00 am on Tuesday 28 January 2020 – Bootle Town Hall

 

(2)

It be noted that the next meeting of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Working Group in the current 2018/19 Municipal Year is scheduled to take place at 9.30/10.00 am on Tuesday 5 March 2019, Bootle Town Hall.