Agenda and minutes

Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Joint Working Group
Tuesday 1st September, 2015 10.00 am

Venue: Southport Town Hall

Contact: Mark Toohey  Tele: 0151 934 2274

Items
No. Item

83.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies received from Mark Sanders

84.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 2nd June 2015

Minutes:

Minutes of last meeting agreed as a true record.

85.

Matters Arising from the Minutes

Minutes:

JJ – page 13, did guidance on dual plating go out?

 

MT – guidance has still not been produced as it may involve amending conditions.  The advice is still not to dual plate due to issues with Liverpool/Sefton licensed vehicles potentially being driven by unlicensed drivers.

86.

Enforcement pdf icon PDF 25 KB

See attached.

Minutes:

PM – requested that correct plying for hire test purchases are recorded – including refusals.

 

MT – Mike Foulkes is recording this and will be included in future as Mike could not be here today due to last minute issue.

 

JJ – How many stop notices were issued for bodywork?

 

MT – A breakdown can be provided if that is what is requested.

 

RJ – Figures are indicative of disproportionate defect notices being issued against PHV’s.

 

JJ – Bodywork enforcement needs to be clarified.

 

MT – this will be looked at during testing station review.

 

PM – Can officers be issued with Camera Phones?

 

MT – Officers have been issued with digital cameras.

 

JJ – Bodywork enforcement is over zealous.

 

MD – A driver was stopped and had his vehicle plate removed over a scratch that wiped off.

 

MT – Will look into this but Sefton officers shouldn’t issue a stop notice for a scratch.

 

87.

VRQ

Number of outstanding drivers to obtain VRQ:

 

Hackney carriage drivers:   41

Private hire drivers:              243

 

169 of these licences will expire in December 2015.

 

MT will contact PH Operator next week with revised lists containing driver licence numbers.

Minutes:

MT – Expressed concerns at number of licenses due to expire in 2015 if VRQ is not completed by drivers. List of affected badge numbers to be forwarded to operators (done).

88.

Reserve Account/Finance review pdf icon PDF 301 KB

The sub group met on 13th August 2015. 

 

See attached report – the consultation is ongoing and a report is due to go before committee on 2nd November 2015.

Minutes:

MT – Price Waterhouse Cooper are to be the chosen council reviewer.

 

PM – We wish another party to conduct this as we do not view PWC as independent, we may seek a judicial review should we disagree with the decision of the committee.

 

RJ – Justice must be seen to be done, PWC are not independent.

 

MT – The council have been paying Arvato but not been taking the money back out of the correct budget.

 

RJ – This is untrue I believe, I wish to see the figures as they are being withheld from the trade.

 

PM – The council must put in independent auditors who are jointly approved by both the trade and the council. The trade must have confidence in figures. PWC should hand their report over to be audited by an independent auditor.

 

RJ – Is a joint instruction of PWC account reviewers still approved by the finance department? Also, can the trade use the reserve account to address this point legally, bearing in mind that SMBC have used the reserve account for this purpose themselves.

 

PM – This situation is looking like stalemate that will result in legal challenge.

 

RJ – We can go to the district auditor and demand these monies back.

 

MT – All comments have been passed onto the TS & Licensing Manager who will continue discussions with the trade before a decision is reached.

 

89.

Knowledge Test Review pdf icon PDF 146 KB

See attached report.

Minutes:

PM – This report is excellent, very comprehensive. If test cannot be removed, this fall-back position is acceptable.

 

JJ – Thanks to Gareth at Delta for his work on this.

 

MT – Are we happy with the proposals on P.38 in relation to structure?

 

The steering panel were overall happy with this.

 

RJ – Did not like the use of places that everyone should know. The street detail is not included in this test. There has to be a pool of questions and candidates must not be able to prejudge questions in a test on a given date.

 

MD – This is not a knowledge test it’s a memory test.

 

AC – Expressed dissatisfaction with the whole knowledge test process stating that it is not fit for purpose.

 

7 out of 8 members present expressed a desire to see the knowledge test removed.

 

RJ – This discussion is going over old ground. The matter was raised over a year ago. We should not take further opinions of panel members at this late stage.

 

JJ – Why do we even have a test in place if we are looking to simplify it?

 

MT – There is an L & R meeting to consider this – this is due on the 21/09/14.

 

PR – This test should test on landmarks and place names that cannot be found by a satnav.

 

JJ – Could we have two possible suggestions apart from just this one – i.e. one that works on place names not routes and street names.

 

AC – The current knowledge test is stopping people gaining employment and the knowledge test was misconceived in the first place.

 

RJ – If a PHV is calling itself a taxi, then its driver should be required to sit a knowledge test.

 

MT – Landmarks are now included but as an addition to the routes questions

 

90.

Taximeters in Vehicles

This item is still at the consultation stage and there has been a good response rate so far with all of the private hire operators strongly objecting to the proposal.

 

The item is due to go before the committee on 2nd November 2015.

Minutes:

PR – All Whites have removed taximeters and replaced them with GPS systems.

 

RJ – Some kind of meter either a taximeter or GPS meter in a PHV is not legally recognised.

 

No panel members expressed support for this issue being made compulsory in Sefton.

 

PM – It is not meters that make prices correct, it is driver integrity.

 

MT – there has been a good response rate so far to this suggestion which will be considered by L & R on 2nd November 2015.

 

91.

Conditions for non-standard Vehicles pdf icon PDF 120 KB

See draft report.

 

Comments are invited from the trade about a proposed new set of conditions to cover non-standard vehicles.

Minutes:

RJ – Sefton should not put this in place as the law commission are due to report on a national solution as opposed to a local one.

 

JJ – How can a novelty vehicle up to 14 years old be given a new licence? No test station on Merseyside can test a stretch limo. RJ backed this.

 

PM – Reservations over how safety can be ensured over testing novelty vehicles.

 

MT – Other authorities have found ways to licence these types of vehicles so we will continue looking into this area – potentially as part of the testing station/standards review.

 

92.

Trade Group Membership pdf icon PDF 183 KB

Following some requests to join the trade group an application form is attached.

 

Membership is subject to representing at least 30 licence holders and/or vehicles.

Minutes:

PM – Why are people asked if they are a member of a political party?

 

RJ – This document was designed for Cllr’s, not trade reps, therefore it needs tweaked and certain questions such as those regarding political parties, removed.

 

PM – The Police should have representation on this group.

 

93.

Insurance & licence Conditions

Item raised by Paul McLaughlin.

 

Clarification on the current condition which states:

 

“All vehicles presented for licensing must be subject of an appropriate hire and reward insurance policy and have one of the proprietors named on the vehicle insurance policy. Insurance cover must be in force on the first day on which the licence is valid.”

 

Chair to respond.

Minutes:

PM – Sefton and Liverpool conditions are different. Liverpool insists on vehicle licence and insurance being in the same name, whereas Sefton is happy with the names being different. PM wants to clarify this. PM asked for a written response. Can this be raised at the cross border enforcement meeting?

 

MT – Advised would clarify and raise at cross border enforcement meeting.

 

94.

Tariff Cards

Item raised by Paul McLaughlin.

 

Clarification on the effect ‘surge’ pricing may have on published tariff cards.

 

Chair to respond.

Minutes:

MT – Base tariff can be on a card, surge pricing can be explained via an app.

 

PM – Expressed desire for surge pricing to be ceased until the tariff card condition can be complied with.

 

RJ – This problem needs addressed by SMBC as soon as it can be.

 

PM – Uber have been advising drivers that they can work for two operators at the same time. PM wants to know how licence conditions can be met in these circumstances.

 

MT – Nothing illegal about working for 2 operators as far as he was aware – as long as it was clear who you were working for at a specific time.  The tariff cards will be looked at in an attempt to clarify different charging situations that may occur.

 

95.

Deregulation Act pdf icon PDF 261 KB

General item for discussion on the effects of the upcoming Deregulation Act.

 

Part 2 of the legislation attached.

Minutes:

PM – Driver, operator and vehicle all need to be licensed by the same authority to avoid issues.

 

MT – This will be dealt with at cross border enforcement meeting in a fortnight

 

PM – Would like Merseyside enforcement officers to all be aware of this so that they can ensure that all vehicles that sub contract work comply with all local conditions.

 

96.

PACE Interviews

Item raised by Richard Jarman.

 

“A PACE interview is allowed for a specific offence (a caution may be administered without interview); its use from a licencees perspective remain undiscovered by me; particularly without full ‘disclosure’.

 

In other matters I have come across about 4 instances e.g where the public are complaining, or a driver, in such matter, in common, with natural justice & proper judicial procedure the complaint in full & its entirety must be provided”

 

Minutes:

RJ – Non PACE interviews, when conducted, RJ would like full details of any complaint to be provided to a driver so that they know precisely what the complaint regards.

 

MT – A summary of a complaint can be provided.

 

RJ – This information is not being provided.

 

MT – This can be dealt with on a case by case basis.

 

97.

Sefton Online Records

Item raised by Richard Jarman.

 

SMBC website recently only records meetings back to 2008; provide other records back to 2003 for trade meets & L&R”

 

Minutes:

MT – I am not certain where records between 2003 and 2008 are, I can find this out and seek to resolve this.

 

RJ – I cannot select all and copy available documents.

 

MT – Will ask Ruth Appleby.

 

98.

Date of next meeting *

Bootle Town Hall – 8th December 2015.

Minutes:

Next meeting is on 8th December 2015 – to be held at Bootle Town Hall.

99.

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.