Agenda and minutes

Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Joint Working Group - Tuesday 2nd June, 2015 10.00 am

Venue: Bootle Town Hall

Contact: Mark Toohey  Tele: 0151 934 2274

Items
No. Item

66.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Mike Denning – Brookfield Garage

Adrian Hughes – All Whites

67.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on *

Minutes:

Minutes from meeting of 3rd March 2015 accepted as a true record.

68.

Matters Arising from the Minutes

Minutes:

MT – There are no current cross border enforcement exercises with Liverpool at the moment.

 

RJ – Raised the issue of Uber using GPS meters and the TFL case. Liverpool City Council have stated that certain GPS devices are not Taxi Meters.

 

MT – stated that GPS devices in Uber vehicles record distance/time and then connect to a remote server (or ‘cloud’) to calculate the price and does not therefore consider them as meters.  This is an identical view to the TFL stance.

 

PM – Said that the Alpha stated their vehicles are using meters.

 

MT – Stated that as far as he was aware, the Alpha devices need to connect to a database and consequently may not be meters.

 

RJ – Enquired as to where this issue could be escalated and why all licensed vehicles are not using these devices.

 

PM – On the issue of joint/cross border enforcement, PM stated that he wanted the Sefton Chief Exec to be aware of the trade’s request for better engagement across all neighbouring Merseyside authorities.

 

MT – There has been work on cross border enforcement and a draft policy has been started but not finalised.

 

69.

Annual Statistics pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Licence applications & appeals, vehicle checks, prosecutions, OSS.  Feedback from Aintree weekend.

Minutes:

PM – Would like a breakdown of new applications, renewals and lapses in a 12 month period, as well as the total number of licence holders during each month of the year. The total number of licence holders at the end of the year should also be reported. In relation to point 2.3 in the upcoming L & R Report, PM states that low unemployment is causing a decrease in drivers working in the trade.

 

PM & JJ – Were both critical of the report to go to L & R. The report was not consulted with trade reps who can provide more relevant information. Both parties believe the information is not relevant.

 

MT – Explained that the report was for L & R and the format was what they requested.  Statistics more suited to the trade can also be done if that what this group requests.  The L & R report was included for information only and was not intended to be changed in any way at this meeting.

 

PM – People keep badges for Sefton licensed vehicles for years as a safety net even though they do not drive so thinks some figures may be misleading.

 

RJ – This is a standard annual report, I believe Pauls concern is more due to the proposed amendments to the knowledge test.

 

PM – The current changes to the trade make the layout of this report obsolete. Could officers consult with the trade to provide better information to councillors? Can a steering group be set up to influence the content of this report? I would like to see the format of this report changed and be presented comparatively on an annual basis.

 

MT – Once again explained that the format of the report was for the benefit of the Councillors but always happy to discuss improvements and he would pass on the comments to the section manager.

 

JJ – In relation to section 4 he would like to know what vehicle inspection numbers have been during the last financial year compared to the previous year as staffing levels have been reduced?  This report does not provide L & R with relevant information regarding the impact of staff cuts in inspection figures and results. Could we also have a breakdown of the number of licences issued each year compared to the previous year? I would also like to enquire as to whether or not the taxi licensing department has enough staff?

 

MT – If there is a request for inspection stats year on year then this can be provided.  The council adopted an inspection programme that prioritised the vehicles seen so the number of inspections carried out dropped as we are no longer inspecting all brand new vehicles.  There has also been a loss of dedicated Police support so inspections of moving vehicles is not possible.

 

MF – Explained current recruitment procedures in Sefton and a brief discussion all round on the redeployment procedure which led to Carl being in his current post. MF also explained that we  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.

70.

VRQ

Reminder that all drivers need the VRQ by 31st December 2015

Minutes:

MT reported that the OSS reported that around 350 drivers still need to obtain the VRQ.

71.

New Handbook

This went live on 1st April 2015 and the latest version can be found on the Council website at www.sefton.gov.uk/taxi - we have previously discussed distributing paper copies of version 3.

Minutes:

Discussion about how version 3 will be distributed.

 

MT said happy to consider giving a printed copy out to all drivers this time.

 

Handbook Version 3 can currently be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/taxi

 

72.

Taximeters

Taximeters – item raised by Richard Jarman: To discuss the SI B2006 No. 2304 The Measuring Instruments (Taximeters) Regulations 2006

 

This requirement does not require a meter to be as commonly used or prohibit one from being GPS derived

 

For example:

 

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/cab-meter/id594380891?mt=8

 

This even has a CE marking! Can SMBC use this device

 

http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/gps-taxi-meter_1302972073.html?s=p

 

Minutes:

MT stated a report on taximeters/gps devices is due to go to L & R so the council can consider the issues surrounding what is or isn’t a taximeter.

 

IS asked if Uber would get a licence?

 

MT replied that if they met all the conditions then, like every other operator, they would be granted a licence.

 

PM said that Uber’s system measures distance via GPS/time then a server calculates the price.

 

JJ suggested that we wait for the outcome of the High Court case.

 

MF reminded everyone that despite the system used all private hire vehicles must still carry a fare card.

 

73.

Ultra Low Emission Vehicles pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Item raised by Richard Jarman.  See attached

Minutes:

MT said a Merseytravel consultation has been sent out but no responses have been received from anyone in Sefton as yet.

 

PM suggested that drivers have not engaged as the market is not ready.

 

RJ discussed whether Hybrid technologies will work or not.

 

MT stated that ULEV is on the agenda as it is part of ongoing work with Merseytravel whilst consideration is given to a bid for funding to support electric vehicles.

 

74.

DBS Checks

Item raised by Richard Jarman. 

 

DBS annual checks

 

An explanation of these needs adding to the information portion of the handbook to be printed.

 

The employment details on the form are “Child & adult workforce – taxi driver; this is wide enough for most other positions; e.g. crewing a boat where there are young people, coaching a tem & so on?

 

Minutes:

RJ asked if an explanation of the DBS checks be placed in the handbook? If a disclosure applicant joins the DBS scheme a live DBS check can be provided to prospective employers. The fee is £13 per year for 3 years after each 3 year certificate is issued (the update service).

 

MF said issues are being found where DBS registered drivers are not contacting Taxi Licensing after the department has been notified of new information that is reported.

 

MT stated that licences will be affected if a driver does not come forward to declare what the new conviction is.

 

75.

Local Transport Plan

Item raised by Richard Jarman.

 

SMBC have been in discussion with Merseytravel.

 

Report on discussions; please do NOT to agree anything without referral planning, report to the trade please on discussions with Merseytravel.

 

Confirm that NO commitment is to be given without full consultation; especially not going forward to any new regional plan.

 

The trade has been let down by the current arrangement

 

Minutes:

RJ asked if SMBC be made aware of the impact of the bus bill that was proposed at the queens speech.

 

No further comment from the rest of the group.

 

MT said that the LTP is in its early days of being revitalised and there are likely to be further meetings with Merseytravel in the coming months.

 

76.

Data Protection

Item raised by Richard Jarman.

 

CCTV is now a common insurance requirement.

 

Vehicle owners and data controllers should be reminded of the code of practice.

 

ICO code can be found here: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1542/cctv-code-of-practice.pdf

 

Extract from the code on disclosure:

 

“Disclosure of information from surveillance systems must be controlled and consistent with the purpose(s) for which the system was established. For example, it can be appropriate to disclose surveillance information to a law enforcement agency when the purpose of the system is to prevent and detect crime, but it would not be appropriate to place them on the internet in most situations.

 

It may also not be appropriate to disclose information about identifiable individuals to the media. Placing such information on the internet incorrectly, or without full consideration of what is being done, may cause the disclosure of individuals’ personal data and sensitive personal data. In severe cases, this may lead to the ICO taking enforcement action. In 2011 the ICO took action in a case related to streamed CCTV footage that ended up on the YouTube website. Information can be released to the media for identification purposes; this should not generally be done by anyone other than a law enforcement agency. This will help you to demonstrate compliance with Guiding Principle 7 of the POFA code.”

Minutes:

RJ asked if drivers can be reminded of the data protection issues relating to publishing CCTV in car data. Drivers should also be reminded that it is the owner of the vehicle that is responsible for the data and not the driver.

 

 

 

77.

Legal Expense Schemes

Item raised by Richard Jarman.

 

Insurance against legal problems in the trade - the PHTM scheme is comprehensive.

 

It is not satisfactory that there is no scheme publicised locally

 

Minutes:

No further discussion on this point.

78.

Signs in Vehicles

Item raised by Richard Jarman.

 

The Fraud Act notice seems often not to have penetrated public consciousness.

 

The no eating notice is increasingly ignored.

 

Could these be reprinted using a high visibility lettering?

 

Higher visibility may lead to a slightly smaller size of notice?

 

Minutes:

RJ requested that new vehicle signs be produced but in smaller higher visibility formats.

 

79.

Dual Plated Vehicles

Chair to discuss recent issues.

Minutes:

MT said they have found examples of Sefton plated vehicles that are being driven by Liverpool badged drivers. This may not be compliant with legal requirements as could be viewed as unlicensed driver of a Sefton vehicle.

 

PM asked if this is really a public interest issue?

 

MT confirmed to be fully compliant, vehicles should be plated by one council. Dual plated vehicles may cause issues – drivers only licensed in Sefton but driving a Liverpool plated vehicle need to be aware.

 

PM asked if it is legal to leave two plates on the vehicle at the same time?  He has seen vehicles with multiple plates on elsewhere.

 

IS asked if a driver can have both a hackney and a private hire badge?

 

MT said he did not see any issues with having 2 types of driver licences.

 

JJ again asked if a driver wished to hold both badges then this can be permitted.

 

MT confirmed we will report back at the next meeting.

 

JJ asked if guidance be issued to fleet owners regarding dual plating.

 

 

80.

Fraud on Private Hire Accounts pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Item raised by Richard Jarman.

 

UBER – see attached.

Minutes:

RJ stated he will be raising an issue if Uber apply for a licence – are they fit and proper?

81.

Date of next meeting *

1st September, Southport Town Hall

Minutes:

1st September at Southport Town Hall.

82.

Any Other Business

In accordance with Minute No. 37 (iii) of the meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee of 24 February 2003, other business may only be considered if agreed by the Chair and a majority of the trade and if it is of an urgent nature. i.e. requires consideration prior to the next scheduled meeting of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Joint Trade Working Group.

 

Minutes:

None.