Agenda and minutes

Licensing and Regulatory Committee Spokespersons with Representatives of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade - Tuesday 25th January, 2011 10.00 am

Venue: Town Hall, Bootle

Contact: Ruth Appleby. 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Introduction by the Chair

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and as the meeting was only held on an annual basis, everyone was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and indicate their role on the Committee.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mr. Bill Richey, North Sefton Hackney Night Drivers’ Association and Mr. John Murrison, Southport Station Taxi Association.

 

The Chair indicated that Mr. Richey had recently been discharged from hospital and would be recuperating from an operation for approximately 18 months.  During this time, Mr. Guy Wilkinson, his substitute would be attending taxi trade meetings on his behalf.

 

The Chair extended best wishes to Mr Richey on behalf of the Committee.

3.

Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 January 2010 pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 26 January 2010 be confirmed as a correct record.

4.

Matters Arising

Minutes:

Mr. Jarman asked about progress in respect of Minute No. 8 of the previous meeting, on numerical restrictions, conditions and preconditions for hackney carriage vehicle licences, a mechanism for the licensing of hackney carriage vehicles and commissioning of the demand survey.

 

Mr. Naisbitt indicated that in the light of the many changes and the current review of the role and structure of the Taxi Licensing Unit, these matters had been put on the back burner until after March 2011, when the future of the Taxi Licensing Unit would be more clear.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the deferral until after March 2011 of the consideration of numerical restrictions, conditions and preconditions for hackney carriage vehicle licences, a mechanism for the licensing of hackney carriage vehicles and commissioning of the demand survey, be noted and endorsed.

5.

Declarations of Interest

Members and Officers are requested to give notice of any personal or prejudicial interest and the nature of that interest, relating to any item on the agenda in accordance with the relevant Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

6.

The Equality Act - Update

Background - a short information only report is to be considered by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 17th January 2011. Consultation will continue in 2011 with a further report scheduled for the second half of the year.

 

Mr Jarman has raised the following:

 

“This matter is on the L&R (Licensing and Regulatory) Committee agenda for 17 January 2011. Although further consideration of the implementation of this Act has been postponed the policy attached to medical and physical exemptions will be dealt with by L&R.

 

The only outstanding question is what happens to the person who strains himself playing football / tennis or whatever. That injury would probably ‘settle’ soon. It ought not to be the case that a driver cannot work until he obtains a medical appointment, and an exemption process is endured A medical appointment cannot be obtained at once (doctors are there to treat not just certify); the expense involved may be significant? A strain is not medically urgent, it maybe physical not medical anyway.

 

It was mentioned at a trade meeting in October that self certification for a period for these reasons should be allowed, (the writer did this for himself anyway last year). The suggestion was looked on with astonishment!

 

(a)   Drivers are licensed, they are overwhelmingly responsible

(b)   They want custom

(c)   They will not take time off unless essential (they are on piece work, not salaries)

(d)   There is no complaint from the disabled at numbers of drivers feigning injury/ sickness. There is great peer pressure to carry the disabled.

(e)   Salaried employees have a statutory right to self certify, and make hay with that, piece workers would not and to do so would be self defeating.

 

The trade was astonished / hurt / incensed that this was not readily agreed. Clearly the matter must be brought to the attention of members, although the relevant points are listed here already.”

 

David Packard and Mark Toohey to respond

Minutes:

This item had been submitted by Mr. Jarman, suggesting that drivers should be allowed to provide medical self certification in instances of temporary injury/illness rendering them able to drive their cab but unable to assist disabled passengers

 

Mr. Packard, Assistant Environmental and Technical Services Director indicated that a report on the implications of the Equalities Act 2010 for the hackney carriage and private hire trades had been considered by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 17 January 2011 which had resolved that ‘the Environmental and Technical Services Director be requested to submit a further report on the findings and recommendations of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Equality Sub-Group on the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 in July/August 2011’. (Minute No. 46 (2)).

 

Mr. Packard explained that this recommendation had arisen from the agreement at a previous meeting of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Joint Working Group held on 7 December 2010.  This meeting had also been attended by representatives from the disabled community and equalities and health and safety colleagues; and long consideration had been given to the apparent incongruities of the Act, which it was felt was well meaning, but in parts, poorly drafted in lieu of the difficulties which taxi drivers would face in having to comply with the duties set down in the Act. It had therefore been agreed that a Sub-Group be formed to consider the implications of the Equality Act 2010, with a view to making recommendations to DfT and report back to the Licensing and Regulatory Committee in six months time. As such the Licensing Unit had no intention of imposing any of the duties laid down in the Act until the Sub-Group had concluded its deliberations.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the decision of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee of 17 January 2011, that ‘the Environmental and Technical Services Director be requested to submit a further report on the findings and recommendations of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Equality Sub-Group on the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 in July/August 2011’; (Minute No. 46 (2) refers); be endorsed.

 

6a

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Equality Sub-Group

At the last meeting of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Joint Working Group held on 7 December 2010, it was agreed that a Sub Group of the Working Party be formed to meet separately together with Officers from Sefton CVS to consider the implications of the Equality Act 2010 for the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade and make recommendations to the DfT.

 

Responses to emails sent to trade representatives requesting nominations and agreeing dates was poor and the Committee is therefore asked to receive and agree:

 

  1. Nominations for membership on the Sub-Group from the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trades; and
  2. A time and date for the first meeting from the following suggestions:

 

  • Thursday 3 February – pm
  • Friday 4 February – all day
  • Monday 7 February -11am to 4 pm
  • Thursday 10 February 10 am to 4 pm

Minutes:

With reference to the previous Minute, the Committee Administrator invited nominations for membership of the Sub-Group. She indicated that the meetings of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Equality Sub Group would be convened by colleagues from Sefton CVS - Equality Network, Jenny Friday and Andy Woods and that as well as representatives from the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Joint Working Group the Sub-Group would be joined by Ms Cathy Rafferty from the Ability Network, Ms Paulette Lappin, Merseytravel and Mr. Robert Wylie, Sefton Council’s Health and Safety Unit.

 

The following representatives agreed to be members of the Sub-Group:

 

Ability Network Representative

Ms Paula Hodson

 

Hackney Carriage Trade Representatives

Mr. Tony Crabtree

Mr. Richard Jarman

 

Private Hire Trade Representative

Mr. Thomas Burke

 

Taxi Licensing Unit Representative

Mr. John Thompson

 

It was agreed that the first meeting would be held at 2 pm on Thursday 10 February 2011.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the nominations to the Sub-Group and the date and time for the first meeting indicated above, be forwarded to the Equalities Director / Sefton CVS Equalities Partnership.

7.

VRQ/NVQ Training - Update

A report is to be presented to the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 17 January 2011 requesting members agree to a policy variation requiring either VRQ or NVQ as the formal qualification for drivers and this has been welcomed by both the hackney carriage and private hire trades.

 

      Mr Jarman has raised the issue of the following resolution of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee held on 27 October 2008, regarding compulsory training of drivers “subject to availability of funding”:

 

Minute No. 26 (4)

 

‘Section (e) the imposition of a requirement for all existing drivers to have attained the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) within a 5 year period, by 26 October 2013, subject to availability of funding, be agreed with the amendment that the Principal Licensing Enforcement Officer may grant an extension in cases where circumstances have reasonably caused an unavoidable delay in attaining the qualification’.

 

 

Andrew Naisbitt to respond

Minutes:

Mr. Jarman had submitted this item expressing concern about the drying up of funding for the NVQ course and the difficulties therefore experienced by drivers having to undertake the NVQ as a condition of their licence.

 

Mr. Andrew Naisbitt informed the Committee that the Licensing and Regulatory Committee held on 17 January 2011 had addressed this issue by approving the following policy variation to make the VRQ the formal qualification of hackney carriage and private hire drivers instead of the NVQ. (Minute No. 47 refers):

 

(i)                 the VRQ would be compulsory for all new applicants

(ii)               drivers licensed prior to November 2008 who were currently compelled to complete an NVQ by 2013 would now be required to complete a VRQ by 2015;

(iii)             the ‘Knowledge Test’ would be retained; and

(iv)             the NVQ would remain acceptable in lieu of or in addition to the VRQ.

 

Arising from discussion the following points were made:

 

  • nationally the current funding streams for NVQ Level 2 had almost all been exhausted and were unlikely to be replenished meaning that driver training would no longer be subsidised;
  • consultation with the Trade (respondents to the recent ‘Demand Survey’) had indicated that training was essential with typically 85% of respondents stating it should be compulsory.  Such training should include disability awareness and customer care;
  • the VRQ was a ‘knowledge based’ qualification that had been upgraded and improved nationally to a ‘certificate’ level 2 qualification;
  • the NVQ had attracted a lot of adverse comments – providers had let candidates down and one provider had had its accreditation removed and had ceased trading, leaving drivers without certificates;
  • Seaforth Radio Cars provided NVQ training for drivers and as such could advise and/or provide additional training to those drivers who had commenced courses with organisations which had subsequently withdrawn their NVQ training;
  • Instances where a driver’s licence expired through long term illness, or for some other reason would be dealt with on a case by case basis – it was not feasible or sensible to try and draft a policy to allow for every possible eventuality;
  • licensing conditions should remain at all times reasonable and justified and not act as a barrier to the industry or indeed force experienced drivers out of the profession.

 

The Trading Standards Manager concluded by stating that the revised proposals sought to minimise the burden on the trade whilst allowing the Council to pursue its aim of 100% professionally qualified hackney carriage and private hire driver base.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the decision of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee for the VRQ to be the formal qualification of hackney carriage and private hire drivers instead of the NVQ be noted and endorsed.

8.

Governance and Co-ordination

Mr Jarman states the following:

 

“We think that the system adopted by SMBC and the trade is generally excellent (possibly the exception may be seen in item 1!) There are times when opinion differs and views are expressed; we think that such debates are carried out with respect and propriety. It is therefore with some bewilderment to us that the trade press has recently picked up on issues raised at “LACORS” which is now called “Local Government Regulation”.  

LACORS, the previously named body, has minuted in December 2009 a long document dealing with the taxi and PHV trade (copy sent separately because the Mod.gov system would not accept the document). As one would hope it lists consultees:

 

·         Computer Cab plc supplying car and taxi booking and account services 

·         Department for Transport,   Paul Lawrey, Head of Buses and Taxi Division.

·         Institute of Licensing (IoL)

·         Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) the largest trade association representing Private Hire Vehicle Operators?

·         London Taxis International (LTI) who make the TX cab

·         National Association of Licensing Enforcement Officers (NALEO)

·         Public Carriage Office (PCO) (Transport for London) 

·         Taxi Cab News  (trade paper not available here)

·         Taxi Globe (as above)

·         GoSkills  (who failed to reply to queries about training that were agreed by the TLU last year)

 

People may wonder about these organisations and the manifest omission of a recognisable taxi trade organisation; maybe? (No criticism is intended of Mr Lawry of the DfT- he could not comment and is respected anyway.)

 

The minute (at paragraph 7.5 of the document) reads “the maximum fare would not necessarily increase in a taxi as it is usually controlled by the council.

 

This is the conclusion to a discussion of working hours, where the topic is the EU hours of 35 a week, a lofty ideal in an industry where 50 + hours are normal (see the recent survey). The comment quoted however, is breathtaking in its callousness? Only stigmatised political parties would venture to use such a sentiment in a public forum?

 

The following paragraph is just wrong; it suggests placing a “duty of care“on a cab / PHV proprietor in a criminalised context, to govern working hours. The “duty of care” is a common law duty in a civil law context; a criminal offence must involve a specific guilty act and a separate guilty mind – basic criminal concepts taught to a first week police cadet (mens rea, and actus reus).

 

The document then goes on to suggest a regime of fixed penalty notices; with no distinction between a regulatory matter and an offence or crime in the wider world. Clearly a bald tyre is a Road Traffic Act matter (although it may be an offence with no intent), no one other than a police officer or police traffic officer with the same training and obligations should be able to issue that penalty notice.  A police officer is governed and the offender protected by the Prosecution  ...  view the full agenda text for item 8.

Minutes:

The Committee considered this item which had been submitted by Mr. Jarman, expressing concern at the contents of a document published by LACORS (Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services) on 4 December 2009 on the ‘findings and recommendations from a taxi and private hire review’ (attached as an annex to the agenda).

 

The LACORS report indicated that research into the hackney carriage and private hire trade had been undertaken with some 40 Councils across England and Wales, with the following being issues highlighted:

 

  • Standardisation of licensing conditions in relation to the type of vehicles used as taxis and PHVs, driver testing/training and age of vehicle/vehicle testing/ emissions policy;
  • Cross border hiring;
  • Absence of updated legislation (DfT Best Practice Guidance was not statutory)
  • Quantity restrictions
  • Single Tier and PHV licensing system
  • Disabled accessibility
  • Restricting driver working hours to fit in with European Working Time Regulations
  • Enforcement

 

Mr. Jarman expressed particular concern at the lack of consultation with ‘a recognisable taxi organisation’, or indeed, Sefton Council and queried references/conclusions in the report relating to driver working hours and the use of fixed penalty notices.  He indicated that Sefton had a unique and enviable situation with the Council and representatives from the hackney carriage and private hire trades working closely together in policy formation and the resolution of issues and that as such would have liked to have been invited by LACORS to participate in the review.

 

Mr. Naisbitt advised that LACORS – which was now called Local Government Regulation, was an organisation together with other local government organisations, that were in a period of transition and as such it was difficult to gauge the progress of matters highlighted in the document.  However, he indicated that he would write (on behalf of the Committee) to Mr Tom Moody, the LACORS Policy Officer named in the document, expressing concern at the lack of consultation with appropriate bodies in production of the report and requesting future involvement by Sefton with any future review of the hackney carriage and private hire trade.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Mr. Andrew Naisbitt, Trading Standards Manager, be requested to write to the LGR on behalf of the meeting, expressing concern at the lack of consultation with appropriate bodies in the LACORS December 2009 review of the taxi and private hire trade.

9.

'Fit and Proper' / Convictions Policy

Early in 2010 the Council, along with the other Merseyside local authorities were requested by Merseyside Police to try to reach agreement on a standard policy with respect to what is a ‘fit and proper’ person and provide greater transparency as to the criteria considered when issuing driver licenses particularly in relation to sex offences and violence.

 

     Also during that period, a Crown Court judge upheld an appeal against Sefton Council because of its refusal to issue a driver’s licence. Whilst the Judges’ decision was based on evidence previously unavailable to the Council, his Lordship, (whilst acknowledging Sefton officials had acted in accordance with policy). Was concerned that the policy did not adequately consider the severity of offences.

 

After due consideration, the Merseyside Licensing Officers Group agreed in principle, to adopt the new national guidance issued by LGR (Local Government Regulation). Elected members in Liverpool and Wirral have already endorsed this policy and Knowsley and Sefton would expect to complete this process by the end of this calendar year. Consultation with the Trade will commence in early 2011 and it is hoped, this more detailed ‘Fit and Proper’ policy will replace Sefton Council’s outdated ‘Convictions Policy’.

Andrew Naisbitt will update the Group.

Minutes:

The Trading Standards Manager explained that early in 2010 the Council, along with the other Merseyside local authorities had been requested by Merseyside Police to try and reach agreement on a standard policy with respect to what was a ‘fit and proper’ person and provide greater transparency as to the criteria to be considered when issuing driver licenses, particularly in relation to sex offences and violence.

 

Also, during that period, a Crown Court judge had upheld an appeal against Sefton Council because of its refusal to issue a driver’s licence and that whilst the Judges’ decision had been based on evidence previously unavailable to the Council, his Lordship, (whilst acknowledging Sefton officials had acted in accordance with policy) was concerned that the policy did not adequately consider the severity of offences.

 

After due consideration, the Merseyside Licensing Officers Group had agreed in principle, to adopt the new national guidance issued by Local Government Regulation (LGR). Elected members in Liverpool and Wirral had already endorsed this policy and Knowsley and Sefton were expected to complete the process by the end of this calendar year. Consultation with the Trade would commence early in 2011 and it was hoped that this more detailed ‘Fit and Proper’ policy would replace Sefton Council’s outdated ‘Convictions Policy’.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the draft ‘Fit and Proper’ policy document be circulated for comment by the Trade Representatives with the minutes from this meeting; and

 

(2)

the intention for the final draft report to be considered by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee in April 2011, be noted.

 

10.

Testing Stations pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To consider the (draft) report of the Environmental and Technical Services Director 

 

The Compliance Testing Station review was originally scheduled to be considered by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee in November 2010, but lacked sufficient detail, which could have led to erroneous conclusions. It is now intended to share the revised report with the Compliance Testing Stations and Trade stakeholders in January 2011. Appendices to the report also include improved guidance for testers of the standards expected. Elected members will be asked to determine the number of approved compliance testing stations and most importantly the issue of whether fleet owners operating compliance testing stations, should test their own vehicles.

 

Andrew Naisbitt will present the draft report. 

The intention is for the final report to be considered by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 28 March 2011.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the draft report of the Environmental and Technical Services Director on the review of the current policy and procedures relating to Sefton Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Compliance Testing Stations.

 

The report indicated that it was intended for the Compliance Testing Station Handbook to be implemented from 1 September 2011.

 

Mr. Naisbitt presented the report, indicating that the Compliance Testing Station review had originally been scheduled for consideration by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee in November 2010, but that at that time it had lacked sufficient detail, which could have led to erroneous conclusions. Consultation with the Trade had been undertaken throughout the process and the revised report had now been shared for comment by the Compliance Testing Stations and Trade stakeholders. Mr. Naisbitt also indicated that Appendices to the report included improved guidance for testers of the standards expected.

 

He concluded by stating that elected members would be asked to determine the number of approved compliance testing stations and most importantly the issue of whether fleet owners operating compliance testing stations, should test their own vehicles. In this respect it was the intention for the final report to be considered by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 28 March 2011.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the report be noted;

 

(2)

the Trade representatives be requested to feed back any comments on the draft Compliance Testing Station Handbook by 28 February 2011; and

 

(3)

the intention for the report to be considered by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 28 March 2011 be noted.

 

11.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Inspection Policy

 

The Inspection Policy has been developed to assist in ensuring the safety of the travelling public and in response to trade demands for consistent and transparent enforcement and clearly explains when the Council will issue defect or stop notices. The Policy will be circulated for consultation early in 2011.

 

Andrew Naisbitt will provide an update.

Minutes:

Mr. Naisbitt introduced this item, indicating that the Inspection Policy was being developed to assist in ensuring the safety of the travelling public and in response to trade demands for consistent and transparent enforcement; and that the new policy would clearly set out instances when the Council would issue defect or stop notices.

 

The draft Inspection Policy would be issued for consultation with the minutes of this meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

 

(1)

the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Inspection Policy document be circulated for comment by the Trade Representatives with the minutes from this meeting; and

 

(2)

the intention for the final draft report to be considered by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee in April 2011, be noted.

 

12.

Enhancement of the Taxi Licensing Service

There is no doubt that transferring the ‘front office’ licensing function to the Sefton One Stop Shops in 2006 brought about a significant improvement in service delivery and accessibility.

 

The Council has recently received a proposal from its strategic partner Arvato Government Services to migrate the remaining ‘back office’ licensing functions to Sefton Plus. ‘Policy’ and ‘Enforcement’ would remain with the Environmental and Technical Services Department.

 

The proposals should provide a more effective use of resources, minimising double handling of licence applications, greater automation, enhanced service delivery, for example improved turnaround times for applications by the use of online CRB / DVLA checks and increased availability for appointment and knowledge tests. The proposals also look to reduce IT costs and potentially develop a local training and assessment centre facilitating achievement of the VRQ.

 

The proposals are in their infancy but present an opportunity for the Council to further improve the service; much as the initial move to the One Stop Shops did in late 2006.

 

Andrew Naisbitt will provide an update.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the enhancement of the Taxi Licensing Services.

 

Mr. Naisbitt indicated that the Council had recently received a proposal from its strategic partner, Arvato Government Services, to migrate the remaining ‘back office’ licensing functions to Sefton Plus, whilst ‘Policy’ and ‘Enforcement’ would remain with the Environmental and Technical Services Department. He stated that these changes were proposed with the aim of providing a more effective use of resources, minimising double handling of licence applications, greater automation, enhanced service delivery, such as improved turnaround times for applications by the use of online CRB / DVLA checks and increased availability for appointment and knowledge tests. The proposals also looked to reduce IT costs and potentially develop a local training and assessment centre facilitating achievement of the VRQ. The proposals were in their infancy but presented an opportunity for the Council to further improve the service; much as the initial move to the One Stop Shops did in late 2006.

 

Arising from discussion the following points were made:

 

  • during busy periods where lots of customers were being served, the computer system was extremely slow;
  • request that consideration be given to operators being able to pre-pay for licence plates;
  • general consensus that  transferring the ‘front office’ licensing function to the Sefton One Stop Shops in 2006 had brought about a significant improvement in service delivery and accessibility.

 

Mr. Naisbitt concluded by indicating that he would feed back all of the comments to the One-Stop-Shop Manager and requested volunteers for drivers/operators to test drive the enhanced taxi licensing service. Mr. McLaughlin, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bridson indicated that they would be happy to offer their assistance in this respect.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the proposals for the enhancement of the Taxi Licensing Service be noted;

 

(2)

the Trading Standards Manager be requested to feed back comments on the service to the One-Stop-Shop Manager;

and

 

(3)

the offers to ‘test drive’ the enhanced service by Mr Bridson, Mr. Johnson and Mr. McLaughlin be noted and welcomed.

 

13.

Enforcement

Mr Crabtree has raised the following:

 

“The Macrory regulatory principles are attractive, but not applied to the trade. The ongoing problem with regard to PHV behaviour in Southport needs to be addressed, and the only code available is prosecution:

 

We would like to remedy fundamental defects in the regulation of the PHV trade in Southport.

 

Private hire drivers are obtaining their “own” town centre work by parking their vehicles where they are likely to be asked to accept a ‘walk on’ fare, the positioning and constancy of this amounts to ‘ranking’ or ‘touting’. It occurs particularly and regularly at the places listed below.

 

This activity by the PHV trade is consistently taking jobs that are not ordered though licensed operators, to the detriment of the hackney trade which is specifically licensed for this purpose and to stand / ply for hire.

 

We have supplied locations for this activity many times over many years. We started sending pictures in 2004.

 

We list 11 locations:

1.      Lord St in front of the rank up to 4 PHVs.

2.      Lord St at the back of the rank.

3.      Lord St across the road from the rank.

4.      Lord St at the corner of Market St.

5.      The forecourt of the Scarisbrick Hotel.

6.      Coronation St

7.      West St

8.      Waverley St

9.      Hume St

10.Nevill St

11.Cable St

 

These locations are all places where private hire drivers obtain jobs before the public have had the chance to see or walk to the hackney ranks, mostly when local bars are busy.

 

The PHVs “ring fence” the Lord Street Ranks in this way. All the while there are hackneys on the ranks, it is not the case that there insufficient hackneys; there is insufficient work for the PHVs.

 

This behaviour has been apparent since I re-entered the trade in 1997 and has also been apparent to Richard in the last few years.

 

Latterly there have been some successful prosecutions for illegal plying for hire but none for ranking and none for touting.

 

It is to be commended that those successful prosecutions have taken place following test purchases organised by the Trading Standards Department not by the Taxi Licensing Unit.

 

In 2010 only one or two test purchases took place, there needs to be many more this year

 

The problem of PHVs touting and taking ‘taxi / hackney’ work is now been accepted as a problem by “Trading Standards”, but it is nevertheless getting more acute, the recession is deepening in the trade, which is a ‘bellwether’ indicator. Full enforcement is still lacking.

 

The recent prosecutions have resulted in hackney taxi plates being transferred and migrating to the north and put on former PHVs e.g. one firm has 15 of drivers driving hackney vehicles who were previously using PHV plates.  There is therefore an increase in the number hackneys on the town centre ranks in Southport.

 

There is less work due to the recession, and the hackney fleet increase  ...  view the full agenda text for item 13.

Minutes:

Mr. Crabtree had requested that this item be included on the Agenda in respect of PHV drivers plying for hire / parking up in several Southport locations, to the detriment of the hackney carriage trade.

 

Mr. Crabtree indicated that this was a long standing problem and suggested that the only way of tackling would be to undertake regular test purchasing operations for extended hours to 5-6 a.m. and the subsequent prosecution of offending drivers.

 

Mr. Naisbitt conceded that there was a ‘rogue element’ in the private hire trade, but that PHV vehicles could not be stopped parking in areas where they were legally allowed to park.  He indicated that 3 new enforcement officers would be in post from April 2011 and that shift patterns were being modified to provide enforcement at all times of the day. 

 

Mr. Naisbitt detailed the problems in implementing test purchases – difficulties obtaining volunteers, regular volunteers being recognised and so on. However, notwithstanding these problems the Licensing Unit would aim to carry out at least one test purchase per month.

 

Arising from discussion the following suggestions were made

 

  • reciprocal arrangements with neighbouring authorities, for example, with Liverpool enforcement officers covering Sefton and vice versa.  Mr. Naisbitt indicated that this had previously been considered by the Licensing Unit but that the differing Officer salary scales and employment conditions of the two Councils rendered this too costly an option for Sefton
  • use of Sefton Security CCTV cameras for the apprehension of offending drivers
  • a press release to advertise the recruitment of 3 new enforcement officers
  • notices on PHV vehicles indicating that it was illegal to hire the vehicle on the street and that it could only be pre-booked
  • the PH drivers were responsible for preventing people getting into their vehicle without pre-booking not vice versa.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the concerns of the Hackney Carriage Trade be noted;

 

(2)

the appointment of 3 new enforcement officers be welcomed; and

 

(3)

the Environmental and Technical Services Director be requested to monitor enforcement in the light of the appointment of the additional enforcement officers and taking on board the concerns and suggestions of this Committee and provide feedback to future meetings of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade and the Licensing and Regulatory Committee in the coming year.

 

14.

Transport Select Committee Proceedings

Mr. Jarman and Mr. McLaughlin will be invited to provide feedback on their recent attendance at the Transport Select Committee.

Minutes:

The Committee received feedback from Mr Jarman and Mr Mclaughlin on their recent attendance at the Government’s Transport Select Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Mr. Jarman and Mr. McLaughlin be thanked for their informative and interesting feed back.

15.

Aintree Arrangements 2011

John Thompson to provide an update.

Minutes:

Mr Thompson informed the Committee that he and Mr. Jarman had recently attended a meeting at Aintree Racecourse concerning the arrangements for this year’s Grand National Meeting:

 

He indicated that the officially appointed Sefton Hackney Stands would again be used only by Sefton licensed Hackney vehicles and that whilst the road closures were in place (approximately 1600-1930 hours each day), the only approach would be from Park Lane/ Bridle Road. Only Sefton licensed Hackney Carriages available for hire would be allowed to access this area and would be expected to service the ranks.

 

All pre-booked vehicles of any type (including Hackney cabs) would be directed to Adams Self Storage on Bridle Road on all 3 days. Mr Thompson also stated that consideration was being given for Liverpool Cabs to be allowed to rank on the Melling Road exiting city bound onto Warbreck Moor.

Mr Thompson also stated that the event organisers SEP Ltd and the Racecourse management had requested a joint Liverpool/ Sefton Hackney stand on Park Lane within Sefton but that the Liverpool and Sefton Licensing and Legal Departments and trade representatives had confirmed that to do so would be unlawful.

 

Mr Thompson also indicated that following allegations about unlicensed taxis from Cheshire West and Chester attending last year’s event, Officers from that authority had requested to attend this year for enforcement purposes.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the arrangements for Aintree 2011 be noted.

 

16.

Date of next meeting

Subject to agreement, the next meeting will be held at 10.00 a.m. on Tuesday 24 January 2012, Southport Town Hall.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: 

 

That the next annual meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee Spokespersons with Representatives of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Stakeholders be held at 10.00 a.m. on Tuesday 24 January 2012, at Southport Town Hall.

17.

Meetings of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade in 2011

To inform elected members and remind trade representatives of the dates agreed at the Meeting of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Joint Working Group on 7 December 2010:

 

  • Hackney Carriage Trade Working Group Meetings to be held at 9.30 a.m. on:

 

Tuesday   22 March 2011

28 June 2011

27 September 2011

6 December 2011

 

  • Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Joint Working Group meetings  to be held at 10.30 a.m. on:

 

Tuesday   22 March 2011

28 June 2011

27 September 2011

6 December 2011

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 51 of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Joint Working Group held on 7 December 2010, the Committee Administrator provided details of forthcoming meetings of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Working Groups for 2011, as follows:

 

  • Hackney Carriage Trade Working Group Meetings to be held at 9.30 a.m. on:

 

Tuesday   22 March 2011

28 June 2011

27 September 2011

6 December 2011

 

  • Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Joint Working Group meetings  to be held at 10.30 a.m. on:

 

Tuesday   22 March 2011

28 June 2011

27 September 2011

6 December 2011

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the dates of the 2011 meetings of the Hackney Carriage Trade Working Group and the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Joint Working Group as indicated above be noted.

18.

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 both sections of the trade and it is of an urgent nature, i.e. it requires consideration prior to the next scheduled annual meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee Spokespersons with Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Stakeholders.

Minutes:

The Chair reminded members that in accordance with Minute No. 37(iii) of the meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee of 24 February 2003, other business could only be considered if agreed by the Chair and a majority of both sections of the trade and if it was of an urgent nature, that is, it required consideration prior to the next scheduled annual meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee Spokespersons with Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Stakeholders.

 

The Committee Administrator indicated that Mr. Evason had requested that the high charges of some GP’s for issuing medical certificates for drivers be considered under any other business.  Mr. Evason indicated that he had missed the agenda deadline because he had been away on holiday.

 

Following consultation with the Trade Representatives, the Chair agreed that Mr. Evason could exceptionally be allowed to raise the issue of medical certificates under any other business.

 

Mr. Evason indicated that the existing requirement for new drivers to obtain a medical certificate from their own GP was proving extremely costly for some drivers whose GPs were charging up to £110 per certificate.  It would therefore be helpful if drivers were allowed to ‘shop around’ and find an alternative doctor who would provide a cheaper service.

 

Mr. Thompson indicated that the reason drivers were required to approach their own GPs for medical certificates was because they kept the patients’ medical records and were therefore best able to advise on a driver’s suitability to obtain a taxi licence (for example, they would be aware if a driver was a registered drug addict); whereas a doctor undertaking a one-off medical examination would not.  The option of transferring records from one GP to another for the purpose of the medical examination would be extremely time consuming.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the concerns of the Trade be noted and the stance of the Licensing Authority about the continuation of the requirement for GPs to issue medical certificates to new drivers be endorsed.