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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Licensing Committee: 20th March 2012

 

Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services

 

For Information Report – Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Knowledge Test

 

Purpose of the Report

1.                  To provide the Committee with an update on the impact of changes to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Basic English and Knowledge Test introduced in September 2010.

Recommendations

That Members note the contents of this Report.

Reasons for the Recommendations

To update Members on the impact of changes to the Basic English and Knowledge Test introduced in September 2010.

Background

2.                  Following representations from the trade, in 2009/10 officers reviewed the testing regime in respect of applicants for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licences.   The view of the trade was that the tests were too easy and should be made more challenging. 

3.                  On the 20th April 2010 the Licensing Committee agreed changes to the Basic English and Knowledge Tests.  Up until that time candidates were required to pass a Basic English Test before sitting a Knowledge Test.  Under the new arrangement the two tests were combined and the questions made more challenging. 

4.                  The new test comprises four sections as follows:-

Section 1  (part 1) - Basic English

Section 1  (part 2) - Maths

Section 2 - Vale of Glamorgan Council Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Conditions

Section 3 – Legislation (Highway Code)

Section 4 - Locations & Routes

 

5.                  Candidates must achieve 80% on each section of the test in order to pass.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.                  On the 29th September 2010 the first candidates sat the new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Knowledge Test.

7.                  The following table provides a breakdown of the test results:-

TEST DATE

Number of candidates

Number Passed

Number Failed

Pass Rate %

29/09/10

10

1

9

10%

20/10/10

5

1

4

20%

17/11/10

10

0

10

0%

15/12/10

10

2

8

20%

12/01/11

6

0

6

0%

09/02/11

10

3

7

30%

09/03/11

12

5

7

42%

06/04/11

3

1

2

33%

04/05/11

5

1

4

20%

07/06/11

8

4

4

50%

05/07/11

9

2

7

22%

16/08/11

8

4

4

50%

14/09/11

11

2

9

18%

12/10/11

7

3

4

43%

09/11/11

5

3

2

60%

07/12/11

2

1

1

50%

17/01/12

4

1

3

25%

15/02/12

8

6

2

75%

TOTAL

133

40=30.07%

93=69.92%

 

 

8.                  In March 2011 officers reviewed the test results.  It was evident that candidates were having significant difficulties with section 4 (locations and routes). Consequently the pass rate up to the end of March 2011 was only 19%.  The decision was made to provide all candidates with 60 routes to learn prior to the test.  Candidate’s knowledge of 10 out of the 60 routes are then tested.  

9.                  The pass rate has improved to 25% since April 2011.

10.              Driver testing results will continue to be monitored and will be a standard agenda item at meetings of the Taxi Consultative Panel.  

 

Resource Implications (financial and employment)

11.              Resources allocated to the administration and enforcement of the taxi licensing   function can be recovered through taxi licensing fees and charges.

Legal Implications to Include Human Rights Implications

12.             None arising directly from this report.

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 licensable 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.              For reasons of public safety candidates are required to be able to converse in and understand English in order to be issued a drivers licence.  Care is taken to ensure candidates with learning disabilities are not disadvantaged by a written test.  Further, applicants experiencing difficulties passing the test are signposted as appropriate to educational establishments where they can be provided with assistance. 

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

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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