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Hackney carriage and private hire licensing policy consultation

On 28 October 2020, the Licensing Committee approved the following amendments to our policy in order to uphold the requirements placed on all councils by the statutory guidance issued by the Department for Transport. You can find this guidance in the related documents section of this web page. 

We are running a public consultation until 20 December 2020, and your comments are welcomed.

The purpose of the statutory guidance is to ensure all councils work to the same standard in relation to the way they assess and monitor those who apply for a licence, and those who hold a licence.

The draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy can be found in the related documents section of this website, and the relevant amendments to the policy have been highlighted in yellow within to make them easy to find.

Summary of proposed amendments

Drivers

  • to undertake an Enhanced DBS Check and DVLA Licence check every 6 months (we currently carry these out annually)
  • to report any arrest, charge, caution, or convictions (whether motoring or criminal) within 48 hours.

Vehicle licence applicants or holders

  • to provide a Basic DBS Check and it be reviewed annually. To ensure that such a person is not involved in any activity that may undermine the safeguarding and public safety objectives.

Private hire operators

  • to be subject to annual Basic DBS Checks (such a check is currently only required when submitting a new / renewal application).

The statutory standards also place new obligations on private hire operators, namely:

  • to maintain a register of all staff whose work consists of taking bookings and dispatching vehicles, and for such staff to undergo a Basic DBS Check
  • to maintain a policy relating to the employment of ex-offenders, in order to ensure such persons do not pose a risk to the safety of the public
  • to maintain a safeguarding policy that addresses the needs of the protection of children and vulnerable persons
  • to evidence that any other operator to who a booking is sub-contracted also has the necessary comparable safeguarding protections in place.

These will be implemented by way of conditions to be attached to the operator licence.

Warnings, Offences, Cautions and Convictions Policy

The statutory standards also seek all councils to adopt the same criteria in relation to how applicants and licence holders are assessed in relation to any criminal convictions and / or motoring convictions.

Our Warnings, Offences, Cautions and Convictions Policy (found at Appendix D within the Draft Revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy) ensures a fair yet robust vetting process and a robust decision making process when assessing applicants and existing licence holders, in order to ensure that those who are granted a licence, and those who hold a licence do not undermine the objective of safeguarding the public.

The most significant amendments to the Warnings, Offences, Cautions and Convictions Policy (which have led to an increase in the time spent before an application should be considered for the offences listed) relate to:

  • Exploitation: where the expectation is that applicants with such convictions are refused a licence
  • Violence: where the expectation is that at least 10 years have elapsed since the completion of any sentence imposed
  • Possession of a weapon: where the expectation is that at least 7 years have elapsed since the date that any sentence was completed
  • Dishonesty: that at least 7 years have elapsed since the completion of any sentence served
  • Discrimination: that at least 7 years have elapsed since the completion of any sentence served;
  • Driving whilst under the influence of drink and / or drugs: that at least 7 years have elapsed since the restoration of the DVLA Driver Licence
  • Driving whilst using a hand-held mobile telephone or hand-held device: that at least 5 years to have elapsed since conviction and / or restoration of the DVLA Driver Licence; and
  • Plying for Hire: a Driver is expected to be 3 years free of conviction, and that any Operator guilty of aiding and abetting such illegal actions should expect to have his / her licence immediately revoked, and prevented from holding an Operator Licence for 3 years.

Responding to the consultation

You can respond to this consultation by 20 December 2020 either by:

The Licensing Manager
Ashfield District Council
Urban Road
Kirkby in Ashfield
Nottinghamshire
NG17 8DA.

All relevant comments will be considered and taken into account, in order to finalise the policy before it goes live (anticipated 1 January 2021).