Agenda and minutes

Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Joint Working Group
Tuesday 1st March, 2016 10.00 am

Venue: Birkdale Room, Town Hall, Southport

Contact: Mark Toohey  Tel: 0151 934 2274

Items
No. Item

115.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Gary Beesley – Delta

Chris Snelgrove - South Sefton Hackney Carriage Drivers Association

Terry Wood – Environmental Health and Licensing Officer

 

116.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on *

Minutes:

RJ – Queried the minutes relating to his comments about the Taxi Licensing Reserve account.  RJ to forward his amendment.

 

RJ - also requested for the minutes to be sent as a draft before they are published, in order to make amendments/corrections.  Chair agreed – minutes to be placed on website as draft for 14 days following publication.

 

Apart from this, the minutes were agreed as a true record.

 

117.

Matters Arising from the Minutes

Minutes:

Items discussed included:

 

·         Deregulation Act

·         Handbook/PH Conditions of License

·         Mitigations

 

118.

Final outcome of Reserve Account Review pdf icon PDF 68 KB

At the meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 25 January 2016 it was resolved that;

 

(1) the backdating of cost allocation charges to the Taxi Reserve

Account to 2011/12 be approved;

 

(2) the fees be uplifted by 11% in 2016/17 and the under recovery of

costs is covered by the revised Taxi Reserve balances;

 

(3) the fees be uplifted by a further 11% in 2017/18 and, if required,

the Taxi Reserve balances will be used to support any shortfall of

allocated costs; and

 

(4) the fees be increased annually in line with the appropriate cost of

service delivery from 2018/19.To discuss the outcome of the recent review and the pending fee increase.

Minutes:

TJ – posed the question to all attendees in the group “did they fully understand the Taxi Licensing Reserve Account review before it was submitted to the Councillors?”

 

TJ – also went on to explain what the purpose of the Taxi License Reserve Account was originally set up for.  A ring fenced account, stating what is was used for and what it wasn’t used for.

 

PMcL – Stated enough time has been spent on discussing the Taxi Licensing Reserve Account – especially if referring to the small increase of 11%.

 

RJ – Stated that he has been instructed by his members to discuss this increase further.  Are his members receiving a good deal?

 

JJ – Wants to know who was responsible for the mistakes and wants answers:

·         Is there anyone held accountable for the errors? 

·         Will it happen again?

·         A break-down of what the money is being spent on?

·         What is the cost of running the OSS?

·         Will the 11% increase be enough?

·         Is it a realistic figure?

 

MT – Replied that he will try and get as much information as possible to answer any questions raised but stated most of this information has already been provided previously.  For those questions that have not been covered or he can’t answer he will liaise with Finance.  He also stated now that the accounts have been reviewed and corrections made this mistake is unlikely to happen again.

 

TJ – Stated a qualified account could not understand the figures.  And he wanted reassurance that the same mistakes will not happen again.  He also stated that the costing for a member of staff from the OSS has gone from £25,000 to £35,000.  Some Councils are being asked how long to it take to produce a licence and justify its cost.

 

RJ – Stated he has had an account looking at the figures, and would like further explanation on them.

 

JJ – added that he would like a full break down of costings and feels that this needs tightening up.

 

MT – Said he will pass on all the data/figures to RJ & JJ.

 

MT - Mentioned that there would be something going in the press about the Licence Fee increase (notice published in Champion News Group on 16th March).

 

119.

Feedback from Spokespersons meeting pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Minutes from the annual spokespersons meeting held on 26 January 2016 attached for information and comments.

Minutes:

Discussion of items raised in the annual Spokespersons meeting and the ability to correct minutes quickly rather than waiting a year to discuss.

120.

Enforcement

Minutes:

No stats produced since the January meeting – full stats will be provided at next meeting.

 

PMcL – Stated that the enforcement statistics only painted part of the picture especially when talking about plying for hire. 

 

He would like data to include:

 

·         How many vehicles were flagged?

·         How many were caught?

·         How many refused the fare?

 

TJ – queried the purpose of the Enforcement Team as he felt some complaints are not being dealt with?

 

MF – Stated that complaints are being dealt with, but action cannot be taken further if the person complaining is not willing to make a statement.  He also stated that Enforcement cannot investigate complaints if they are third party or hearsay.

 

MT – said to TJ that if he has a particular issue that he would speak to him privately.

 

PMcL - Questioned if there has been any cross-border work with other Councils?

 

MT – None that he is aware of.

 

121.

Knowledge Test pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To discuss issues/amendments to the current knowledge test.

 

Sefton are currently running 2 different tests until 31 March 2016.

Minutes:

AH - Asked the Chair why the routes where chosen?  He said that the current knowledge test was not favourable to Southport drivers and that it didn’t make much sense.

 

MT – Replied that he received very little feedback from the trade when he originally asked for suggestion on routes and was happy to look at the Knowledge Test again.

 

MT – Reiterated to the group for any route suggestions to be forwarded to him.  Feedback was very much needed.  Especially the common and most used routes.  He added they must be practical. 

 

MT – Asked AH & PMcL to supply data on most common and practical routes.

 

TJ – Made a suggestion of having two knowledge tests:

One for the Bootle area and one for the Southport Area.

 

PMcL – Talked about Knowsley Council and their Essential Skills Test.  He commented that if we, Sefton Council, did not update our Knowledge Test then we will see a reduction and possible decline in the number of new driver applicants.

 

PMcL – He also stated that he does not agree to a split Knowledge Tests for both Boole & Southport as it would confine drivers to one particular area.

He suggested that we should regularly review the Knowledge Test on the following basis:

·         Scrap and amend old places and routes

·         Put new places of interests on the routes as and when necessary i.e. new restaurants, pubs, tourist attractions etc.

·         Put more common, practical and valuable routes on.

 

NMcG – Enquired whether the knowledge test can be looked at again?

 

PMcL – Stated that when he challenged the Knowledge Test it was on behalf of all operators.

 

MT – Stated that it will be reviewed and updated regularly.

 

TJ – Stated for the record that he supported no knowledge test.

 

MT- On a separate matter, gave update on the number of drivers whose licences had expired due to not having a valid VRQ.

 

122.

Testing Station Review

Initial ideas for consideration from the sub group;

 

1.    Use of DVSA traffic light coding

2.    Maximum number of stations – how many are needed?

3.    New service level agreements

4.    Clear definitions of defects and checking methods

5.    More regular liaison

6.    Reporting on statistics from testing stations

7.    Training and funding

8.    8 and 11 year old assessments

9.    Seating arrangements of vehicles

Minutes:

JJ – Explained the background to the Testing Station Review.  He said that the review should enable Testing Stations to run:

 

·         more effectively and efficiently

·         in harmony with one another

·         Training in place to make test and checks more standardised

·         Reduced to a more manageable number.

 

TJ – Said he would like the standard for all vehicle checks to be back up to where it was.  He would like all Testers to be trained to the same standard and the Council should have extra checks in-place to ensure this.

 

MD - Stated that testers should get additional training for all types of vehicles, for both private hire and hackney carriages.

 

TJ – Said he would share his knowledge of testing Hackney Carriages with other Testing stations so that the standard is equal across the Testing Stations.

 

MT - Asked TJ if he would consider helping the Council when it comes to reviewing the Conditions with regards to the testing of Hackney Vehicles.

 

TJ – Agreed.

 

TJ – Mentioned about testing stations checking their own vehicles, saying that it is a conflict of interest.

 

PMcL – Stated that it is not.  All vehicles tested, should be done right regardless.

 

MS – Stated there is an agreed MOT standard and that all testers should adhere to this.

 

JJ – Mentioned the VOSA traffic light system.  And that if any Testing Stations fall into the “red” then this should trigger extra enforcement checks and that the Council should work with the testing stations and testers to rectify any problems. 

 

PMcL – Stated the traffic light system should lead to a more intelligence lead Enforcement and it should be an easier way for the Council to make better, smarter use of their time.

 

JJ – Said he would like a brake-down of the list of current testing stations and the amount of checks they do.

 

MT – To see if this is possible.

 

123.

Handbook

To discuss handbook and conditions contained therein.

Minutes:

RJ – Requested that this should be left on the agenda and reviewed on a regular basis.

 

MT – stated it was also a good idea to review the following:

 

·         Tariff cards

·         Receipts and byelaws

·         Section 55 A Act

·         Vehicle signage.

 

NMcG – Mentioned tariff cards and said that all his drivers have a tariff sheet in their vehicles.

 

PMcL – Stated that if tariff cards remain as part of the conditions then all drivers should abide by them.  However, he does feel that they are out-of-date especially with new technology that is available, like on-line fares, tap the app etc.

 

NMcG – Stated that a tariff system is to be in place, can it be of many forms and that operators should be able to choose which system they use?   Determine what is best for them?

 

MT – To look into.

 

124.

Licence Fees

Item requested by Richard Jarman.

 

·         Please provide a copy of the one stop shop costing in so far as it relates to taxi & private hire services.

·         Provide consequent future projections based on calculations for SMBC

 

Minutes:

Discussion over OSS costings – to be provided to RJ

125.

Vehicle Licences

Item requested by Richard Jarman.

 

How many PHV licences were in force at 31/01/15 and at 31/01/16

Minutes:

Request for 2015 & 2016 vehicle licence numbers.

 

MT explained that these are now being recorded monthly and can be reported back to this group.  Traditionally it has been hard to look at licence numbers in the past due to the live nature of the database.  Current numbers at beginning of Feb/March are:

 

Type

Licences @ 01/02/2016

Licences @ 01/03/2016

Private Hire Driver

3,147

3,032

Private Hire Operator

73

74

Private Hire Vehicle

3,086

3,097

 

126.

Operator Licences

Item requested by Richard Jarman.

 

SMBCoperatorswithoffices (& licensed firms)inotherareasareusingtelephonenumbersoftheseotherorganizations in respect of SMBC licensed entities. Using an operator outside Sefton directly is contrary to the licensing regime.

NotethateachlicensedoperationisaseparatebodyunderS55A-thisisindependentofanyreviewby legal’?

ClearlySMBCmusthavethesameoperationalcontrol & scrutinyovereachlicensee.EachlicensedbodyMUSThavea natural personavailableatanyonetime?

It is accepted thatfor onemanbands’oroneswithverysmallfleetsthatmaynotbenecessary.

Acompanythatadvertisesafullpeoplemoving(AKA 'Taxi') servicee.g.Alpha/UBERMUSThavepeopleavailabletodealwithmattersthatmaynotsimplybeforbookings

 

Minutes:

RJ requested the Council investigate out of area signage and phone numbers being used by some Operators.

127.

Mitigations

Item requested by Richard Jarman.

 

Discuss recent publicity about (effectively) the result of ‘mitigation’ in granting driver licence

 

Minutes:

MT – Mentioned that the Council has responded to a FOI request from the Echo asking for information on our Mitigations policy and how many drivers have convictions?

 

JJ –Stated he would like to speak to MT privately regarding a licensed driver with convictions.  He also mentioned that he would like extra checks in place when drivers are renewing licenses.  Can this be done?   He is concerned that some drivers could “slip the net” if extra checks are not carried out - both with DBS and DVLA checks.  He would like it that every time a licence is issued a DBS and DVLA check should be done.

 

MT – Explained the mitigations process and stated that he may have a valid point and will look into this further.

 

RJ – It would mean a change to conditions if the Council was to introduce extra checks.  Why change it?

 

MF – Mentioned that he does get notifications from the Police and other agencies about convictions.  However this will only happen if the driver tells the Police of his occupation.

 

PMcL – Stated that if changes are made to request more DBS and DVLA checks then were does it stop?  Should we be asking for extra checks on Medicals?

 

NMcG – asked about the update service.  Are the Council using this, and couldn’t the Council push this service more and ask drivers to sign up for this as part of their conditions?

 

MT – Will look into the update service (confirmed that the update service is available for use – we will update the letters to make this clearer).

 

128.

One Stop Shop

Item requested by Richard Jarman.

 

·         How many chip and pin machines are there for the OSS?  When were they purchased and when were they last used?

·         Is the annual DBS checking service available in the OSS?

 

Item requested by Joe Johnson

 

·         Can the trade be supplied with full costings for the OSS?  A breakdown of service and running costs for each month and annual.

Minutes:

MT confirmed there are 2 chip & pin machines – one for each OSS.

 

DBS checking service is available.

 

Message from MT:  Please note that the One Stop Shops will not be able to carry out any taxi or private hire licensing functions at all on 19th & 20th April due to a system upgrade.

129.

Date of next meeting *

Minutes:

To be advised

130.

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:

Recurring Issues/Standard Items

 

RJ – would like to discuss the bullet points on the last meeting but agreed to discuss them at the next meeting.

 

He also stated that some item agenda issues are not being resolved and keep recurring.  He would like to stop this from happening and suggested that some issues should be placed on the agenda as an ongoing standard item.

 

RJ – Asked if MT could chase up the issue of pot holes and driver compensation.

 

MT- agreed

 

 

Aintree Meeting

 

PMcL – Ask if the Council could liaise with the organisers of the Aintree Meetings to see if they could get a seat at the table for the next meeting.  He stated that it would help if members of the Trade Group could be present to give their views and opinions, rather than get information after the event. i.e. liaise directly not indirectly.

 

Can the Council find out who is responsible for the attendees list?

 

MF – Said he attends meeting and will make enquires.