Agenda item

Berry Street Garage Offer

Item submitted by Joseph Johnson - Berry Street Garage Association

 

Summary of item: Berry Street Garage (BSG) have made a formal offer of assistance to the Council and the trade to help deal with any current licensing issues. BSG can help the Council and will work in partnership to ensure legislation and conditions are followed. Delays to new licence applications and renewals have caused harm and impacted financially on businesses and individuals due to lost income. BSG are offering a ‘one stop’ for drivers and vehicles so that they may apply to have their vehicle tested, documents checked, pay a fee and issue a plate and licence on the vehicle. BSG can install a card machine with payments going direct to the Council.  This would all be done free of charge.

Minutes:

The Committee considered an item submitted by Mr Joe Johnson (Berry Street Garage Association) on Berry Street Garage’s (BSG) formal offer of assistance to the Council and the Trade to help deal with current licensing issues.

 

Mr Johnson indicated that delays in processing licence renewals had had a negative financial impact on businesses and individuals, due to lost income. To help address the issue, BSG were offering a ‘one stop’ where drivers could apply to have their vehicles tested, documents checked and have license plates issued.  Mr Johnson stated that this service could be carried out free of charge to the Council.  BSG carry out 60% to 70% of vehicle tests checks they were already photocopying and scanning licence applications to send via emails to the Council.

 

Mr Alan Campbell (Central Cabs, Southport) indicated that he had experienced difficulties recruiting new drivers, with delays in processing applications exacerbated by delays in the processing of medical and DBS checks.  He reiterated Mr Johnson’s comments about the negative financial affects this had had. He suggested that a 7-day turnaround was not unreasonable. Mr Frank West (Training Provider – Learning Curve Group), offered his support to Mr Campbell in the recruitment of drivers in Southport.

 

Councillor Lappin (Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services) indicated that the Council was giving serious consideration to improving the taxi licensing service but stressed that the use of non-Council providers in renewal of licence applications was a complex issue which would entail privatising part of the taxi licensing service and would require a decision by the Cabinet.

 

Mr Mark Toohey indicated that work was being undertaken to make it easier for new drivers to obtain medical and DBS checks. He also reiterated what Councillor Lappin had said, that Cabinet approval would be required for non-Council providers to provide a taxi licensing service; and would require a full tendering process. A business case would need to be formed and among the issues to be considered would be data protection, payment systems, and so on.

 

Mr Joe Johnson thanked Councillor Lappin and Mr Toohey for their helpful comments and emphasised that BSG was offering a free licensing service.  He requested that a further meeting be held with Councillor Lappin and Officers to discuss the issues raised.  Councillor Lappin indicated that as a Member of the Cabinet she wouldn’t be able to attend such a meeting.

 

Mr Peter Moore (Head of Highways and Public Protection), indicated that he understood the offer and what it would give the local trade if the Council was to accept. However, he emphasised that the Council had to comply with public procurement regulations and couldn’t operate in the same way as the private sector and measures taken would have to be undertaken methodically to ensure that the Council  did not breach procurement regulations. There could be no perception that the Council was doing something wrong or operating in an anti-competitive way.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the issues raised and the actions being taken to address the delays in processing licensing applications be noted; and

 

 

(2)

Mr Mark Toohey be requested to approach Sefton at Work at Cambridge Road about support being made available for drivers in completing their on-line licence applications and renewal forms.