Venue: Ashurst Main Hall - The Charis Centre. View directions
Contact: Email: Democratic.Services@crawley.gov.uk
Disclosures of Interest
In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, councillors are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.
No disclosures of interests were made.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 2 March 2021.
The minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 2 March 2021 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Public Question Time
To answer any questions asked by the public which relate to an item on this agenda and which are in line with the Council’s Constitution.
Public Question Time will be concluded by the Chair when all questions have been answered or on the expiry of a period of 15 minutes, whichever is the earlier.
There were no questions submitted by members of the public.
To consider report HCS/31 of the Head of Community Services.
The Committee considered report HCS/31 of the Head of Community Services. The Health, Safety and Licensing Team Leader presented the report in full, which set out a range of proposed changes to the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. The revised policy sought to incorporate recommendations made by the Department for Transport (DfT) in its July 2020 document ‘Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards’. The DfT recommendations aimed to standardise licensed vehicle policies across all licensing authorities in order to improve national standards of good practice and facilitate public safety. It was heard that the Council’s existing policy already incorporated many of the DfT standards, but various changes had been made to improve the policy.
Committee members discussed the report and policy in detail. Matters raised included:
· The importance of licensed drivers being ‘fit and proper’. It was confirmed that this was determined by a number of factors including but not limited to: criminal records checks, medical checks, driving tests, the Knowledge Test, and Disability Awareness training. The Committee heard that public safety was ultimately the basis of the ‘fit and proper’ test. Thorough investigative processes would be actioned, on a case-by-case basis, if public safety concerns were raised regarding a driver.
· Alcohol consumption by licensed drivers. A suggestion was made that the proposed policy wording, which recommended licensed drivers not consume alcohol during or ‘immediately before’ driving a licensed vehicle, be tightened to ensure no alcohol was drunk at any time prior to driving. The Licensing Team Leader confirmed that drivers were strongly advised not to consume alcohol prior to driving, and that the policy reflected legislation.
· Publicity of the consultation. Committee members requested that the consultation be widely publicised; to which the Licensing Team Leader confirmed that it was to be made available on the Crawley Borough Council website and publicised via the Council’s social media channels. Details of the consultation were also due to be communicated to private hire vehicle operators and members of the taxi trade, as well as to key members of the community who would seek to encourage responses to the consultation.
· Implementation of the DfT standards. The Licensing Team Leader clarified that a ‘compelling local reason’ must be provided for not implementing the standards, e.g. more research being required or financial viability for licensed drivers. There were hesitancies regarding some of the measures within the standards such as installation of CCTV cameras in vehicles.
· Licensed drivers’ English language proficiency. It was heard that the DfT standards introduced a requirement that English language skills be assessed – the policy did not make provision for a specific test but rather requested drivers provide proof of qualifications or information to demonstrate their language proficiency.
· The previously-taken decision regarding permanent signage on licensed vehicle doors. Door signs were only able to be covered when stationery on the proprietor’s private property. It was confirmed that the DfT standards did not recommend any changes to the position on removable signage.
· Working hours and tiredness while driving. Following ... view the full minutes text for item 4.