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Agenda Item No 5

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Licensing Committee: 4th November 2014

 

Report of the Director of Development Services

 

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Driving Assessment for Taxi and Private Hire Drivers

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To consider a request from the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association to remove the requirement for applicants for the grant Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences to complete a satisfactory DVSA Driving Assessment.

Recommendations

1.         The Options available to Members are as follows;

  • That the Licensing Committee approve the removal of the requirement that all new applicants for the grant of Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences must pass the DVSA Driving Assessment for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles prior to being granted a licence, and; 
  • That Licensing Officers are instructed to notify all current applicants that the DVSA assessment will not be required.  Or;
  • That the application criteria for the grant of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences remain unchanged and that a DVSA Driving Assessment continues to be required.

The Officer recommendation in this matter is that the requirement for the completion of a DVSA Driving Assessment prior to the grant of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver's Licences is not removed.

Reason for the Recommendations

Officers are concerned that the standard of applicants' driving could fall below the assessment standard.

 

Background

2.         The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 allows Local Authorities to use criteria as they deem appropriate to determine the fitness and propriety of applicants for the grant of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences.

3.         On 30th May 2012 the Licensing Committee approved the introduction of the requirement that all applicants for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences undertake a DSA (now DVSA) Driving Assessment for Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers.  The matter was put before the Licensing Committee at the request of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association.  A copy of the Report and Minutes from 20th May 2012 is attached to this Report at Appendix A.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         On 12th October 2014 a request to remove the requirement for the completion of the DVSA Driving Assessment from the application process was submitted on behalf of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association.  A copy of the message is attached to this Report at Appendix B.

5.         The Welsh Region of the Institute of Licensing has gathered information outlining the criteria used by each of the Welsh Local Authorities in relation to applications for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licence applications.  A table of the information collected is attached at Appendix C to this Report.

6.         Members will note that only three authorities, including the Vale of Glamorgan, request a qualification in addition to the basic requirements of a Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate, Group 2 Medical and successful completion of a Knowledge Test.

7.         There is an additional cost to applicants associated with the Driving Assessment in the region of £80 to £96 depending on when the test is taken.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

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

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9.         None.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.      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-

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

(b)  To any person who has not for at least twelve months been, and is not at the date of the application for a driver's licence, the holder of the licence granted under Part III of the Act of 1972 (not being a provisional Licence) authorising him  to drive a motor car.

11.      Section 51(2) states;

A district council may attach to the grant of a licence under this section such conditions as they may consider reasonably necessary.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.      Under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the Council has a statutory duty to consider crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour implications whilst regulating licensing activities.  There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this Report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.      To protect the health and safety of the community by ensuring businesses meet legislative requirements, controlling infectious diseases, encouraging responsible dog ownership, controlling pests and regulating animal health and welfare. To maintain a fair and equitable trading environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

15.      This is a matter for decision by the Licensing Committee.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.      None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17.      Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

18.      None.

Contact Officer

Amanda Ewington. Licensing Team Leader 01446 709782

 

Officers Consulted

Richard Price, Lawyer, Legal Services 01446 709409

 

Responsible Officer

D R Thomas, Director of Development Services

 

 

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