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Contact: Email: Democratic.Services@crawley.gov.uk
Disclosures of Interest
In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, Councillors of the Council 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 15 September 2020.
The minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 15 September 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Public Question Time
To consider any written questions that were submitted in advance and accepted in line with the Constitution. These will be read to the Committee and be followed by a response. The questioner will receive an emailed copy of the response given at the meeting. There will be no supplementary questions.
There were no questions submitted by members of the public.
To consider report HCS/22 of the Head of Community Services.
The Committee considered report HCS/22 of the Head of Community Services. The Team Leader for Environmental Health and Licensing (Licensing Team Leader) introduced the report, which set out the Department for Transport’s (DfT) new statutory standards for local authorities’ licensing of taxis and private hire vehicles. The report recommended that Crawley Borough Council as the Licensing Authority undertakes an initial public consultation to raise awareness of the DfT standards, and that the results of this consultation be reported to the Licensing Committee in early 2021 along with any proposed changes to the Council’s Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy.
The Licensing Team Leader summarised the DfT standards, which requested licensing authorities put in place measures including (but not limited to):
· The ‘fit and proper’ test for drivers
· Enhanced DBS checks for licensed drivers and basic DBS checks for vehicle booking and dispatch staff
· A convictions policy
· Criminality checks for vehicle proprietors
· The Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
· A national information-sharing system on revoked or refused licences (the NR3 database)
· Safeguarding training for licensed drivers
· A local consultation to determine the value and effectiveness of installing CCTV in licensed vehicles
· Various record-keeping requirements.
The Committee assumed a detailed discussion on the report. It was noted that the proposed consultation would welcome responses from both the taxi trade and the public. A further consultation would be undertaken in 2021 which would seek opinions on the changes to the Council’s Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Policy caused by implementation of the DfT standards. It was also confirmed that the DfT standards were a minimum requirement for all licensing authorities in order to form a standardised national approach, and a ‘compelling reason’ would be necessary should a council decide to change or omit any of the standards from its licensed vehicle policy.
The Committee discussed the DfT standards regarding convictions and criminality checks. It was heard that Council staff currently undertake a variety of checks on those applying to become licensed drivers, and that these checks would become more rigorous and regular under the new DfT standards (for example, six monthly enhanced DBS checks and registration to the national NR3 database).
The DfT’s standard regarding CCTV in licensed vehicles was discussed. The Licensing Team Leader confirmed that CCTV was not mandatory at this stage but may become so in the future. Views would be sought via the consultations in order to inform the Council’s decision of whether to add mandatory CCTV to its Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Policy, which was underpinned by the need to maintain public safety. Following a query from a Committee member it was confirmed that if CCTV was in operation, vehicles would be required to display clear signage to inform passengers. The Committee also heard that CCTV had previously been installed in licensed vehicles on an individual case-by-case basis where there had been conduct and/or policy breaches.
Following a query from a Committee member regarding cross-border hiring via app-based providers, it was explained that this was a nationally ... view the full minutes text for item 4.