Taxi and Private Hire Policy and Conditions 2023
The Principal Licensing Officer presented the Taxi and Private Hire Policy and Conditions 2023 report. Following presentation of the report, questions were invited from Committee Members:
· A Member asked if the numbers of foreign national taxi drivers is available and was informed that if the drivers have the right to work, they are not regarded as foreign national drivers. The enhanced check is used if the driver has been in the UK for only a short period of time. There have not been any issues with this since the requirement was brought in, in 2018.
· Considering the condition that a driver applying with 6 points is asked to complete a Pass Plus scheme, a Member preferred a more stringent test, and it was agreed that Welsh Government will be asked to consider reimplementation of Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Taxi Testing nationally. The Committee was reminded of the importance of being consistent with neighbouring authorities.
· A Member asked why Newport requires the driver to achieve a Pass + course if they have more than 5 points on their DVLA licence at the time of application. It was explained that this was a long-standing policy prior to the implementation of the new policy and may change to 6 points.
· A Member asked about the implications of the Withdrawal Agreement and if there is any additional impediment to EU nationals with settled status. Also, the quality of additional checks as there may not be access to the same database as when the UK was in the EU. The Member emphasised that EU citizens who have citizenship have the same rights. It was explained by the Head of Public Protection referred the Committee to the list on GOV.UK Criminal records checks for overseas applicants for details of criminal record checks in each country. Costs are not prohibitive and range from no charge to £45.00+.
· A Member pointed out that the age of criminal responsibility varies in different countries. The Principal Licensing Officer responded that an enhanced check would provide as much information as available. Regarding taxi drivers, convictions are never spent hence the need for policies to deal with convictions.
Following a vote on the report recommendations, Members approved the new policy and conditions to come into force on 1st April 2023, attached as Appendix B.
Members also determined and approved the following in relation to Euro 4 Standards. Vehicles currently licensed by Monmouthshire County Council for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire purposes can retain grandfather rights and continue to be licensed for the shelf life of their vehicle. All new vehicle application will be required to be of Euro 6 standard.
As part of the report recommendations, it was agreed that Welsh Government is asked to consider reimplementation of Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Taxi Testing nationally.
· A Member enquired about complaints about taxi drivers noting from the website, that 75% of unlicensed taxi complaints have come from friends of people who have reported reporting the advertising of hire services on social media. A social media campaign was suggested to encourage young people to come forward with complaints, what to expect when you use a taxi and what’s acceptable behaviour. The Head of Public Protection assured Members that there is a Licensing Officer in each town, good rapport, and good local knowledge. There is close work with the Police. Taxi drivers must complete a safeguarding and knowledge test covering the points raised plus how the taxi driver reports passenger comments (e.g. abusive comments, hate crime). An awards event is planned themed on hate crime on 24th April in collaboration with Greater Gwent authorities. Access for disabled people was also raised.
Protection for taxi drivers was queried and in response, it was confirmed that there is provision for CCTV in the policy. It is not a requirement to have CCTV.
The supplementary matters discussed following the vote were referred to the Officers and will be added to the agenda for the next meeting. It was agreed that a Work Programme should be added to agenda in future.
- 230131 - Taxi and Private Hire Policy and Conditions 2023, item 4. PDF 168 KB
- Welsh Government Policy Template, item 4. PDF 506 KB
- Monmouthshire Policy, item 4. PDF 9 MB
- 230131 - Representations Appendix C, item 4. PDF 334 KB
- 230131 - Future Generations Form Appendix D, item 4. PDF 369 KB