Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Licensing Committee: 6th December 2011
Report of the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services
Authorisation of G.W. Taxi Meter Services Ltd as a Hackney Carriage Meter Tester
Purpose of the Report
1. To consider the removal of the authorisation by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to test Hackney Carriage meters, granted to G.W. Taxi Meter Services Ltd, Unit 4, Hunters Industrial Estate, Seawall Road, Cardiff.
After careful consideration of the facts of the Report the Committee's instructions are requested in respect of this matter. Members may wish to consider the following options;
· G.W. Taxi Meter Services Ltd continue to be authorised for the calibration of taxi meters by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
· The authorisation of G.W. Taxi Meter Services for the calibration of taxi meters by the Vale of Glamorgan Council be withdrawn.
· That the matter be reported to the Trading Standards Department for investigation of possible offences in relation to Fraud Act 2006.
The Officer recommendation in this matter is that the authorisation of G.W. Taxi Meter Services be withdrawn.
Reason for the Recommendations
The issuing of an inaccurate meter certificate and refusal to discuss the matter with an authorised Officer of the Authority.
2. Vale of Glamorgan Conditions for Hackney Carriages state;
The proprietor shall produce annually to the Licensing Authority a certificate issued by a meter installer approved by the Licensing Authority stating that the meter is accurate and contains only the current Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage tariff.
3. Earlier this year, on the recommendation of the taxi licensing audit, a review of the authorised meter testers was carried out and four companies were approved. G.W. Taxi Meter Services are one of the authorised testers. The certificate of authorisation and covering letter sent are attached at Appendix A to this report.
4. The letter sent to the authorised testers also in formed them that on 6th July 2011 the Licensing Committee had approved an increase in Hackney Carriage tariffs, applicable from 1st August 2011.
Relevant Issues and Options
5. On 24th October 2011 a meter certificate issued by G.W. Meter Services to Mr John Billing was presented to the Licensing Section. The certificate was presented as part of Mr Billing's application to renew his Hackney Carriage Licence for his vehicle T292 VBV (HC013) and is dated 24th October 2011. A copy of the certificate is attached as Appendix B to this Report.
6. On 23rd November 2011, acting on information received, Licensing Officers requested that a number of proprietors bring their Hackney Carriages to the Civic Offices for inspection of the meters to check that they were set to the new Vale of Glamorgan tariffs.
7. On inspection of Mr Billing's vehicle the meter was found to be displaying the old tariffs despite Mr Billing having been issued with a new certificate since the tariff increase.
8. The Licensing Team leader contacted G.W. Meter Services by telephone to issue a reminder of what is required from authorised testers and the information that should be contained in the certificate. The person spoken to terminated the discussion abruptly by putting the phone down.
9. A copy of this report has been sent to G W Meter Services inviting them to attend this Licensing Committee.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)
10. All resources directed to the administration and enforcement of the Taxi Licensing function may be recovered through Taxi Licensing Fees and Charges.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
11. Section 65 (1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states:
12. A district council may fix the rates or fares within the district as well as for time as distance, and all other charges in connection with the hire of a vehicle or with the arrangements for the hire of a vehicle ; to be paid in respect of the hire of hackney carriages by means of a table (hereafter in this section referred to as a "table of fares") made or varied in accordance with the provisions of this section.
Crime and Disorder Implications
13. Under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the Council has a statutory duty to consider crime and disorder implications whilst regulating licensing activities. We must have due regard to the likely effect of the exercise of those functions on the need to do all we can reasonably do to prevent crime and disorder in our area.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
14. The Council is obliged to apply its Licensing conditions on an equitable basis in the case of all applications.
15. To protect the health and safety of the community by ensuring businesses meet legislative requirements, controlling infectious disease, encouraging responsible dog ownership, controlling pests and regulating animal health and welfare. To maintain a fair and equitable trading environment.
Policy Framework and Budget
16. The proposals in this report are in accordance with the Policy Framework and Budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
17. Not applicable.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
18. Housing and Public Protection.
Kate Thompson, Principal Regulatory Services Officer 01446 709105
Peter H. Evans, Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services.