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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Licensing Committee: Tuesday 7th February 2012

 

Report of the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services

 

Driving Standards Agency (DSA) Driving Assessment for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers.

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To seek the approval of the Licensing Committee to consult the licensed taxi and hackney carriage vehicle trade on a proposal to require new applicants for Vale of Glamorgan Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licenses to have passed the DSA Driving Assessment for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles prior to being granted a licence. 

Recommendations

That Licensing Officers be instructed to carry out a twelve week consultation with the trade on the proposal to require new applicants for Vale of Glamorgan Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licenses to have passed the DSA Driving Assessment for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles prior to being granted a licence. 

Reasons for the Recommendations

To ensure interested parties are consulted on matters of Licensing Policy.

Background

2.             Members will be aware that a new application and testing regime for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver's was adopted in September 2010. 

3.             The process includes a written test in which applicant's basic skills are tested, as well as their knowledge of the Highway Code, Taxi Legislation, the Vale of Glamorgan's Conditions and the geography of the area.

4.             There is no practical element to the current application process.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             At a meeting of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association, which took place on 18th January 2012, it was proposed that the Licensing Authority consider making it a requirement that any new applicants for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences take a Driving Standards Agency Driving Assessment for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles.

6.             Information relating to the content and costs of the DSA Assessment are attached to this Report at Appendix A.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

7.             All resources directed to the administration and enforcement of the Taxi Licensing    function may be recovered through Taxi Licensing Fees and Charges.

8.             There will be no additional cost to the Authority should the proposal be implemented as applicants would be expected to pay for their own assessments. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

9.             Section 51 (1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states:

Subject to the provisions of this part of the Act, a district council shall, on receipt of an application from any person for the grant to that person of a licence to drive private hire vehicles, grant to that person a driver's licence;

Provided that a district council shall not grant a licence-

Unless they are satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a driver's licence; or

to any person who has not for at least twelve months been authorised to drive a motor car, or is not at the date of the application for a driver’s licence so authorised.

Crime and Disorder Implications

10.        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)

11.        The Council is obliged to apply its Licensing conditions on an equitable basis in the case of all applications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

12.        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

13.        The proposals in this report are in accordance with the Policy Framework and Budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

14.        Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

15.        Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Kate Thompson, Principal Regulatory Services Officer 01446 709105

Officers Consulted

None

Responsible Officer:

Peter H. Evans, Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services.

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