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Private Hire And Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy 2021 - 2026

Introduction

This Policy shall apply in respect of applications, renewals, transfers and any other matter connected to the following licences:

  • Private hire vehicle, private hire driver, private hire operator
  • Hackney carriage driver, hackney carriage vehicle
  • Combined hackney carriage and private hire driver

This Policy shall also apply in respect of disciplinary and enforcement measures and sets out the policy that the Council will apply when making decisions about new applications and licences currently in force.

The Department for Transport recommends all licensing authorities make publicly available a cohesive Policy document that brings together all their procedures on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing. This should include but not be limited to policies on convictions, a 'fit and proper' person test, licence conditions and vehicle standards. In formulating a Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy, the primary and overriding objective must be to protect the public. The importance of ensuring that the licensing regime protects the vulnerable cannot be overestimated and it is vital to review policies and reflect changes in the industry both locally and nationally. The Council, as the licensing authority, will review this Policy every five years but will also consider interim reviews should there be significant issues arising in the area and performance annually.

Licensing authorities have a duty to ensure that any person to whom they grant a taxi or private hire vehicle driver licence is a 'fit and proper' person to hold a licence. Whilst there is no definition of a fit and proper person, the Department for Transport guidance suggests that the Council is effectively asking the following question:

Without any prejudice and based on the information before you, would you allow a person for whom you care, regardless of their condition, to travel alone in a vehicle driven by this person at any time of day or night?

If, on the balance of probabilities, the answer to the question is 'no', the individual should not hold a licence. In exercising its discretion in carrying out its regulatory functions, the Council will have regard to this Policy each application or enforcement measure will be considered on its own merits.  Where it is necessary for the Council to depart from the Policy, clear and compelling reasons will be given for doing so.

Powers And Duties

The Council has adopted Part 2 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 as amended (Minute 2012, 20 December 1977).  This legislation, together with the provisions of The Town Police Clauses Act 1847, places on the Council the powers and duties to carry out licensing functions in respect of hackney carriage and private hire licensing.  As such the Council is responsible for the licensing of private hire drivers, vehicles and operators and hackney carriage drivers and vehicles, functions can be delegated to a committee, or an officer as detailed in the scheme of delegation.

Objectives

The objective of the Policy is to ensure the safety of the public by ensuring that safe, clean, reliable and accessible hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are available for all who require them and

  • ensure that drivers, proprietors and private hire operators are fit and proper persons
  • to encourage high standards of service and competence in the hackney carriage and private hire trade
  • to provide clarity for licensees with respect to the Council's expectations and the decision making process
  • to encourage environmental sustainability

In formulating this Policy consideration has been given to:

This Policy should be read in conjunction with the Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Procedural Guidance which will be updated when required and can be found on the Councils website.