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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Licensing Committee: 3rd September 2012

 

Report of the Director of Development Services

 

Law Commission Consultation: Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             The purpose of this report is to seek the Committee's approval for the response to the Law Commission's consultation on Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services at Appendix A.

Recommendations

·               That the Committee approves the response to the Law Commission's consultation Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services at Appendix A.

Reasons for the Recommendations

To ensure the views of the Licensing Authority are provided to the Law Commission in connection with the reform of taxi and private hire service legislation. 

 

Background

2.             On 30th May 2012 the Licensing Committee was notified of a consultation paper published by the Law Commission on Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services.  As the deadline for responses was 10th August 2012 the Committee determined:-

(1)     THAT the report be noted.

(2)     THAT any comments or responses to the consultation be submitted to the Principal Regulatory Services Officer by 30th June. 

(3)     THAT the Principal Regulatory Services Officer provides a response to the consultation on behalf of the Licensing Authority.

3.             Since 30th May 2012 the Law Commission has facilitated two consultation events in Cardiff attended by local authority licensing representatives from across South Wales and the trade.  Further, the deadline for consultation responses has been extended to the 10th September 2012. 

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The Law Commission's consultation document contains their provisional proposals for reform of the legal framework relating to taxis and private hire vehicles. 

5.             Specifically, it is proposed that the important distinction between taxis – which can “ply for hire” on the street or a cab rank – and private hire vehicles which can only be pre-booked is retained.

6.             It is further proposed that all vehicles will be subject to national minimum safety standards and, for private hire vehicles, these would replace more than 340 sets of local regulations. It is the view of the Law Commission that this will reduce the burden on business because, once appropriately licensed, a private hire firm could work freely across the country, without geographical restrictions. This would contribute to widening consumer choice and to making services cheaper and more competitive.

7.             The Law Commission also make suggestions covering a wide range of issues, including improving provision for persons with disabilities, quantity restrictions and enforcement.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.             Work in connection with the consultation response has been carried out within existing budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9.             None.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.        There are no direct legal implications arising from this report.  However, any reforms to the law of taxi and private hire services which are implemented following consultation are likely to have a significant impact on the work of the Licensing Authority.

 

Crime and Disorder Implications

11.        Whilst there are no direct crime and disorder implications arising from this report, 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 these 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)

12.        None

Corporate/Service Objectives

13.        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

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

15.        The proposals for reforming the law of taxi and private hire services is the subject of extensive consultation across England and Wales. 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

16.        Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

Law Commission Consultation Paper No 203.  Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services.

 

Contact Officer

Kate Thompson Principal Regulatory Services Officer.  01446 709105

 

Officers Consulted

None.

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services.

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