Draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2022-2027
Have your say on our draft policyConsultation status Results published
Activity closed. Results published.
West Berkshire Council is responsible for issuing licences in respect of:
- Vehicles used as hackney carriages (taxis)
- Vehicles used as private hire vehicles
- Drivers of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles
- Operators of private hire vehicles
The overarching aim of the Council when carrying out these licensing functions, is to protect the public by ensuring vehicles are safe and fit for use, and that drivers and operators are suitable people to undertake these roles.
In July 2020, with a view to better protecting children and vulnerable adults, the Department for Transport (DfT) issued new statutory guidance to taxi and private hire licensing authorities, called the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards, which required local authorities to review, revise and update their relevant policies.
The Statutory Standards document sets out a framework of policies that licensing authorities must have regard to when exercising their functions. These functions include developing, implementing and reviewing their taxi and private hire vehicle licensing regimes.
The Statutory Standards make clear that:
"Having regard to these standards requires public authorities, in formulating a policy, to give considerations the weight which is proportionate in the circumstances. Given that the standards have been set directly to address the safeguarding of the public and the potential impact of failings in this area, the importance of thoroughly considering these standards cannot be overstated."
The Statutory Standards also state that:
"Whilst the focus of the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards is on protecting children and vulnerable adults, all passengers will benefit from the recommendations contained in it. There is consensus that common core minimum standards are required to regulate better the taxi and private hire vehicle sector, and the recommendations in this document are the result of detailed discussion with the trade, regulators and safety campaign groups."
The DfT expects these recommendations to be implemented, unless there is a compelling local reason not to.
While reading through the policy it is important to remember that it is underpinned by the overriding aim and purpose of hackney carriage and private hire licensing, which is public safety.
Government legislation that affects this policy
The policy is based on a number of legislative requirements including the provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847.
In developing the policy the Council will comply with its duties under the Equality Act 2010 and the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022.
The Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards (July 2020) provide guidance on how Taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) licensing authorities must use their licensing powers to protect children and vulnerable adults.
The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Act 2022 makes it mandatory for licensing authorities to access vital background information about drivers seeking a taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) licence in their areas. This will support the work of councils to ensure anyone using a taxi or PHV is kept safe.
The Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Criminal Convictions Policy (June 2019) provides guidance on the criteria taken into account by the council when determining whether or not an applicant or an existing licence holder is a fit and proper person to hold a hackney carriage and/or private hire vehicle driver's licence or a private hire vehicle operator's licence.
How we developed our draft policy
In response to the publication of the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards (July 2020), we've drafted our policy incorporating best practice from across England and Wales, and based on a number of documents, including the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Criminal Convictions Policy adopted in June 2019. However, there are significant developments and changes to accommodate the new guidance and other legislative changes.
Why we want your views
We'd like to hear your views on our draft policy, and in particular we'd like to understand if you think that the policy provides for suitable standards of protection for children and vulnerable adults, vehicle emission standards, and requirements for training, and if there is anything we've missed.
How to take part
If you'd like to comment on, please complete our survey by midnight on Tuesday, 4 October 2022, which should take about 5-10 minutes.
Alternatively, you can email your comments to PPPConsultations@westberks.gov.uk
If you've any questions about the consultation, please email PPPConsultations@westberks.gov.uk
What happens next
All feedback will be taken into consideration, and used to inform a further draft which will be considered for adoption by elected members at a meeting of the Licensing Committee on Monday, 7 November 2022.
Once the policy has been approved it will be published on our Strategies, Policies and Plans webpage.