Agenda item

Cancelled Meetings / Agenda Items not included on Agendas

A request from both Mr. Crabtee (NSHCA) and Mr. Murrison (SSTA) both for discussion about cancelled meetings and items put forwarded by Stakeholders for inclusion on Agendas, being deemed inappropriate by Mr. Naisbitt and left off Agendas.

 

 

 

 

           

Minutes:

The NSHCA and SSTA had both raised the matter of cancelled meetings and non-inclusion of requested agenda items on Stakeholder Meeting Agendas, alleging that items requested for inclusion on the agendas had been vetoed by Mr. Naisbitt and then such meetings cancelled due to lack of business.

 

The NSHCA representative indicated that although he had been very impressed with a number of initiatives put into place by Mr. Naisbitt, for example, Test Purchasing, he was concerned that other matters had been left unresolved because they had not been included on meeting agendas and/or due to cancellation of meetings.  For example, the issue of roof lights on taxis which he indicated had remained unresolved for 6 months.

 

Mr. Naisbitt indicated that in 2007/2008 meetings had been scheduled as follows:

 

5 Meetings in 2008: -

 

(1)

28 January 2008

 

Meeting with elected Members went ahead chaired by Councillor Ibbs.

 

(2)

11 March 2008

 

Meeting went ahead chaired by Mr. Naisbitt.

 

(3)

10 June 2008

 

Meeting cancelled due to a dispute by some trade representatives over completion of the new stakeholder membership forms.  The dispute took approximately 2 months to resolve and concluded with a meeting between Councillor Griffiths, Chair of the  Licensing and Regulatory Committee, Mrs. S. Cain, Sefton Council’s Legal Advisor, Mr. Crabtree (NSHCA) and Mr. Naisbitt.  Therefore, the 10 June meeting effectively merged into the Autumn meeting on 2 September 2008.

 

(4)

2 September 2008

 

Meeting went ahead chaired by Mr. Naisbitt.

 

(5)

2 December 2008

 

Meeting was cancelled due to lack of ‘Borough wide’ business. Only the NSHCA and the SSTA representatives had submitted agenda items.

 

Mr. Naisbitt indicated that before cancelling the meeting he had met personally with the NSHCA representative and his colleague to talk through the issues, which related primarily to the NSHCA, following which the NSHCA representative had acknowledged that a trade meeting was not required for issues that primarily related to his organisation.

 

Mr. Naisbitt had responded personally to the SSTA representative advising that one issue was a corporate complaint and should be forwarded to Mr Thompson, Principal Licensing and Enforcement Officer for action.  The second issue regarding Taxi Marshals did not come under the remit of the Environmental Protection Director and therefore should be raised with the Community Safety Manager; and the third matter in relation to Mr. Naisbitt’s position as Chair of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Stakeholder Working Group Meetings, should be raised with the Environmental Protection Director as a Corporate Complaint.

 

5 Meetings in 2007: -

 

(1)

26 January 2007

 

Meeting with elected Members went ahead chaired by Councillor Hands.

 

(2)

17 April 2007

 

Meeting went ahead chaired by Mr. Naisbitt.

 

(3)

24 July 2007

 

Meeting cancelled due to submission of only two agenda items.

 

(4)

21 August 2007

 

Meeting of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Stakeholders working Group had been inquorate and could not go ahead because none of the Private Hire Representatives were in attendance.

 

(5)

20 November 2007

 

Meeting went ahead chaired by Mr. Naisbitt.

 

Discussion took place and Stakeholders expressed a shared frustration at meetings being cancelled apparently on the ‘whim’ of the Trading Standards Manager when agenda items had been submitted by trade representatives.

 

The NSHCA representative indicated that items he had submitted had been at the request of his membership for whom the trade meetings were important because they provided opportunities for airing issues and concerns in a formal setting.

 

Mr Naisbitt indicated that he was always mindful of the needs of the Trade and gave careful consideration on whether or not to cancel meetings. He re-emphasised the point that the purpose of the Trade meetings was to raise trade-wide issues with the Environmental Protection Department with respect to the Licensing Portfolio, and not to deal with individual issues relating to a single organisation. Mr. Naisbitt also reminded members that the Stakeholder meetings were not the forum for discussing traffic management issues which came under the remit of the Technical Services Director. Also, the protocol for holding trade meetings had been determined by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, for which the agenda was at the discretion of the Environmental Protection Director.

 

The SSHCA representative suggested that as traffic management issues were relevant to the trade it made sense that they be considered at Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Stakeholder meetings.

 

In response, Mr. Naisbitt advised that Mr. Steve Johnston, Team Leader, Traffic Services was invited to Trade meetings and attended to provide updates on issues  such as provision of taxi ranks when necessary.

 

Mr. Naisbitt reiterated that the stakeholder meetings were for discussion of matters relating to the licensing portfolio and the remit of the meetings had been clarified at the Joint Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Working Group Meeting held on 2 September 2008 (Minute No. 8 – Remit of Stakeholder Groups – How the Trade can Further Points of contention with non aligned services); that the items relating to Traffic Regulation Orders e.g. hackney ranks, parking, etc; planning issues and taxi marshalling should be referred to the relevant Area Committee and/or Council Department and that Police issues should be reported to the Police.

 

As agreed at the Joint Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade Working Group meeting on 2 September 2008, Mr Naisbitt indicated that the Environmental Protection Director had consulted with the Assistant Technical Services Director – Transportation and Development about meeting with the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade and had been advised as follows:

 

‘Ranks - A policy was established a few years ago which clearly sets out the actions to be taken in considering a new hackney rank in that any application made by an official trade body is then communicated to all parts of the trade to seek their views before a report is made to the relevant Area Committee. I feel that if such requests are then also being discussed in separate trade meetings then this would compromise this process which is seen as clear and fair. The need for this approach coming about in order to overcome previous complaints regarding ensuring all elements of the trade are fully consulted on proposals.

 

Enforcement - If trade representatives have issues with enforcement at particular locations then these can be communicated to Parking Services at any time. There should be no need to wait for a meeting to raise these issues.

 

Major Events - No doubt this is as a result of The Open which is unlikely to return to Birkdale for approximately 10 years. The issues that arose have been recorded in the notes of the Traffic Group Review Meeting held in August 2008, and we will involve the Trade through your Licensing Team when planning for future events. The majority of other events in the Borough are regular events with established arrangements for the trade. If any new events of significance are proposed then we could hold specific meetings with the trades.

 

In addition, as Area Transport Strategies are reviewed and developed, the trade will be fully consulted, and this process can include meetings as required.

 

Whilst welcoming comments from the various elements of the trade I see little benefit from holding regular meetings’.

 

Further discussion took place and finally, it was suggested that the Chair of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee should be consulted to give impartial consideration to agenda items submitted by stakeholders and to give final authorisation to any cancellation of Joint Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Working Groups meetings.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Chair of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee be consulted and give final agreement to the cancellation of Joint Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Working Groups meetings.