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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Licensing Committee: 30th May 2012

 

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 for an amendment to the application process for Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licences, to require that all new applicants must pass the DSA Driving Assessment for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles prior to being granted a licence.

Recommendations

1.             That the Licensing Committee approve the adoption of the requirement that all new applicants for Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Licences must pass the DSA Driving Assessment for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles prior to being granted a licence. 

2.             That the Licensing Committee set a date of 1st July 2012 for the implementation of the amendment to the application process in order to allow time for the administrative changes that will be required.

3.             That any applications for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Licences submitted prior to the implementation date will be processed in accordance with the current criteria.

4.             That the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers Policy for Late Renewals approved 21st October 2008 (section 5 in the Members' Pack), be amended.  The policy shall include a statement that existing Licensed Drivers applying for late renewals will not be required to undertake the DSA Driving Assessment for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles prior to being granted a licence.

Reason for the Recommendations

1-4 To ensure that Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licences are only granted to individuals with the appropriate standard of driving skills.

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 applicants' 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.

5.            In response to a request from the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association, on the 7th February 2012 the Licensing Committee resolved that Licensing Officers carry out a twelve week consultation with the trade on the proposal that all new applicants for Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licenses be required to have passed the DSA Driving Assessment for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles prior to being granted a licence.

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

7.            Applicants are able to undertake the assessment at test centres in Cardiff, Newport, Bridgend and Merthyr Tydfil.  The test cannot currently be undertaken in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Relevant Issues and Options

8.            On 20th February 2012 a letter was sent to all Licensed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers and Private Hire Operators seeking their views on the proposal and giving a deadline of 14th May 2012 for responses.  A copy of the letter can be found at Appendix B to this Report.

9.            No responses to the consultation have been received. 

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.

11.       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)

12.       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

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.

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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