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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Conference Room 1, Blackburn Town Hall

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome & Apologies

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

 

Apologies were received from Councillors D Hardman and J Shorrock

2.

Declaration of Interest

Minutes:

No Declarations of Interest were received.

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED - The Minutes of the previous meeting held on Wednesday 3rd August 2022 were approved as a correct record. One matter was raised including an incorrectly noted decision. With the amendment of these the minutes were agreed as correct method.

4.

Review of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members discussed a report which presented the Review of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. The purpose of the report was to present a revised draft policy for Members to consider and amend as necessary. Officers would then undertake consultation with the trade and other relevant stakeholders.

 

The Department for Transport published its’ Statutory Standards for Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicles in the summer of 2020 and the expectations of the Government were emphasised throughout the document in bold.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer responded to questions about the following areas of the proposed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. 

 

DBS Update Service

 

·         All Licensed drivers were required to sign up to the DBS Update Services and maintain their registration throughout the licensed period. This had enabled the Council to undertake periodic checks at least every 6 months, in accordance with the Statutory Taxi and Private hire Vehicle Standards. 

·         Licensed drivers who had failed to register with the update service, or who had allowed their registration to lapse would have been required to provide a new enhanced certificate every six months

·         Where the Council were unable to check the drivers status due to failings on the part of the driver, it may suspend the driver’s license until such time as it is satisfied that there is no new information recorded against the driver

·         Licensed drivers would be required to inform the council within 48 hours of any arrests and release, charge or conviction of any sexual offence, any offence involving dishonesty or violence or any motoring offence.

·         If there had been any change to the information held by the DBS, the driver would be required to provide a new certificate to the council and register that once with the update service.

 

Members discussed if drivers had been signing up to the DBS Update Service, and were informed that the majority of drivers initially sign up for the update service, but in subsequent years had allowed their registration to lapse for various reasons. The DBS update service does issue reminders to drivers to renew their registration, but if the drivers contact details have change and they have not notified the DBS of the changes, they will not receive those reminders

 

English Proficiency

 

·         The Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Stands 202 had identified that a lack of language proficiency could impact the drivers ability to understand written documents such as policies  and guidance, relation to the protection of the children and vulnerable adults. Oral proficiency would also be relevant in the identification of potential exploitation through communication with passengers.

·         The Council were required that all applicants for new drivers licenses were required to demonstrate their language proficiency by providing evidence of formal qualifications such as GCSE, GCE, Functional Skills Level 1 or 2 in English or ESOL certificate at Level 1 or 2.

·         Applicants who did not hold any formal qualifications in English were required to undertake a free skills assessment provided by Blackburn Adult Learning services and provide  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Update on the work of Public Protection & Environmental Health Service pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received an update on the work of the Council’s Public Protection and Environmental Health Services (PPS) where there was a connection with businesses and persons who required a licence from the Council. It also provided an update for Members on national policy changes and proposals affecting licencing work.

Operations Stay Safe

 

Licensing officers joined force with Lancashire Police and BwD Children’s Services as part of operation Staysafe on Friday 9 September, in direct response to concerns raised by the trade about stone throwing incidents where youths are targeting licensed vehicles. Whilst there were no incidents of stone throwing that evening, 5 licensed private hire vehicles were noted as failing to display private hire signage in accordance with their licence conditions and were issued with warning letters.

 

Officer Revocations

 

In the past 3 months 3 drivers have had their hackney/private hire drivers’ licences revoked by officers for issues which needed immediate action.

 

Appeal results

 

Since the last Licensing Committee members were informed that an appeal against the decision of a general licensing sub-committees to revoke private hire vehicle driver licences had concluded. The Magistrates Court agreed with the decision made by the Licensing Sub-Committee and awarded costs against the driver of £300. There are 2 appeals currently going through the court process.

 

Blackburn with Darwen Taxi Forum meeting

 

At July’s meeting of the Taxi Forum a report back was given of the review into the Council’s arrangements for MOT testing of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles. The recommendation of the review was to keep the in-house provision in place.

 

 

 

 

Noise nuisance from licensed premises

 

The Environmental Protection Team have been involved in investigations into complaints about noise disturbance at 6 venues. Work continues to try to resolve the problems for affected nearby residents.

 

 Routine work carried out

 

The following table provides figures on some of the key work carried out from 1 July 2022 to 30 September 2022.

 

Vehicle licences processed – hackney carriage and private hire

 

370

 

Driver licences processed – new and renewal applications

 

178

 

Licensing Act licences processed

These are new licences, variations to existing licences and changes

to designated premises supervisor

 

31

 

Temporary Event Notices processed

 

36

 

Animal Welfare Licences processed

 

1

 

Street trader

 

5

 

 

Taxi Trade Tax Checks

 

Members were informed that mandatory tax checks were implemented in April 2022 for all taxi and private hire licence holders in England and Wales.

 

Since early September HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had been writing to taxi drivers using taxi booking apps giving 30 days to respond and declare their income or face an investigation into their tax affairs. For all new applicants for licences the Council’s licensing service application form required a declaration to be made that the applicant is aware of the content of HMRC guidance relating to tax registration obligations.

 

RESOLVED – The update be noted