Licence applications & appeals, vehicle checks, prosecutions, OSS. Feedback from Aintree weekend.
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 will soon be back to 5 full time staff when Liz returns.
JJ – Can we pay for more enforcement staff out of the ring fenced budget? JJ would like to see more inspections all round being carried out.
PM – I am going to write to Margaret Carney about this as the trade feel there should be more enforcement staff. JJ agreed with PM that he would like to put his name to this letter as well.
RJ – If there are persons in the council who can do the job and will be available, can they be recruited as per the redeployment process?
MT – Explained if a vacancy becomes available and a decision is made to fill it then standard procedure will be to look internally first with those on redeployment.
JJ – Recruitment for taxi licensing is self-funding and should be treated separately to other council staff.
MT – Explained although the funding for the TLU staff may be taken from licensing fees but standard Council procedures apply to everyone regardless of how the service is paid for.
MF was questioned by members about the levels of enforcement at the Aintree meeting in response to the query about staffing levels. MF advised that four investigations had been commenced following on from the last Aintree enforcement activity which is likely to lead to 4 prosecutions.
PM – It is equally important to note how many drivers refused an illegal pick up. These figures have not been reported here?
MT – Apologised for not producing the number of refusals for this meeting as this has previously been requested. This will be included next time. Also explained that we will only normally use sefton enforcement staff for the test purchasing excercises.
RJ – Regarding the review of the knowledge test, when is this review due to take place, and what is the plan for it?
MT – This is being commenced imminently – our first meeting will be next week.
PM – I am happy to be on the steering group, but I would like Gareth Taylor of Delta to attend. Agreed by all.
JJ – Is this annual report still going to L & R?
MT – Yes.
JJ – Councillors need to made aware of the comments made at this meeting.
PM – Echoed this stating that he wished for concerns to be reported directly.
MT – Stated he would pass comments on but please feel free to contact section manager directly if they wanted to.