PUBLIC PROTECTION LICENSING COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 6th December, 2016.
Present: Councillor A.G. Powell (Chairman); Councillor H.C. Hamilton (Vice-Chairman); Councillors G.A. Cox, Mrs. P. Drake, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mrs. A. Moore, N. Moore, Mrs. A.J. Preston, Ms. R.F. Probert, J.W. Thomas, R.P. Thomas and C.J. Williams.
566 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –
These were received from Councillors E. Hacker, K. Hatton and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.
567 MINUTES –
RESOLVED – T H A T, the minutes of the meeting held on 6th September, 2016 be approved as a correct record.
568 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –
No declarations were received.
569 APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL AS AN AUTHORISED HACKNEY CARRIAGE METER TESTER – CONTRACT RADIO COMMUNICATIONS LTD. (DEH) –
The Licensing Team Manager presented a report to Committee to consider an application from Contract Radio Communications Ltd., Unit 9 Leeway Court, Newport, NP19 4SJ, for approval to test Hackney Carriage Meters for use in the Vale of Glamorgan.
The officer started her report by reminding the Committee that the report highlighted an important public protection measure.
Contract Radio Communications Ltd. was already an approved supplier and installer of taxi meters for a number of Councils, including Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Rhondda Cynon Taff.
The Licensing Team Manager also pointed out to the Committee that there were currently five companies approved to issue Hackney Carriage Meter Certificates for vehicles licensed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and it was important to have a range of suppliers to supply the trade within the Vale of Glamorgan.
The Chairman recommended that the Committee approve the officer’s recommendations on this report.
Following discussion of the report, the Committee
RESOLVED – T H A T the application by Contract Radio Communications Ltd. be approved.
Reason for decision
To provide Hackney Carriage proprietors in the Vale of Glamorgan with greater choice of approved meter testers.
570 PROPOSED “INTENDED USE / REMOTE TRADING” POLICY FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGES (DEH) –
The Licensing Policy Officer presented the report, the purpose of which was to report back on the consultation undertaken in respect of a proposed Intended Use / Remote Trading Policy for Hackney Carriages and to determine the adoption of the Policy in respect of intended use / remote trading of Hackney Carriages as detailed in Appendix A to the report.
The Policy was intended to deal with the issues that arose from proprietors obtaining a Hackney Carriage Vehicle licence in the Vale of Glamorgan which then allowed them to trade as a Private Hire Vehicle anywhere in the UK.
At the Committee meeting on 6th September, 2016, Members received a report relating to the 2008 High Court Judgement – Newcastle City Council v Berwick-upon-Tweed, which established a principle that it was lawful for Hackney Carriages to trade as Private Hire Vehicles, (accepting only pre bookings) in a Local Authority area other than that which issued the licences (the home authority). However, the case precedent arose as a result of a challenge from a licensing authority (Newcastle City Council) against a neighbouring licensing authority (Berwick-upon-Tweed) where there was a considerable disparity between standards of vehicles, conditions of licence and fees.
As a result of the decision that such activity was indeed lawful, several licensing authorities identified “out of area” vehicles trading in their Boroughs and took steps to eliminate such trade. This primarily affected larger cities, but more recently all types of areas had been affected.
The Licensing Policy Officer highlighted to the Members that the Intended Use Policy for the Vale of Glamorgan had been approved in its draft form and that there had been no other amendments made to the Policy since the Committee’s consideration on 6th September, 2016.
In response to this, a Member asked the officer to explain how the Authority was going to enforce the points within the Policy. In response to the Member’s question, the Licensing Policy Officer went on to explain that all the licensing details would be recorded centrally within the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Council would liaise with outside Authorities to compare data. The Committee was advised that the license applicant would have to sign a declaration on the licensing application form to declare that they would be working outside of the Vale of Glamorgan remit.
Having considered the report, the Committee
(1) T H A T the adoption of the Intended Use / Remote Trading Policy in the Vale of Glamorgan as set out in Appendix A to the report be approved.
(2) T H A T the authority delegated to the Head of the Shared Regulatory Service to revoke or suspend Hackney Carriage or Private Vehicle Hire Licences be approved for use by officers in the implementation of the new Policy to manage instances of non-compliance.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) The policy was intended to deal with the issues that arose from proprietors obtaining a Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence in the Vale of Glamorgan, which then allowed them to trade as a Private Hire Vehicle anywhere in the UK. A number of Welsh Authorities had already adopted Intended Use policies as a result of identifying that their Hackney Carriage vehicles were remotely trading in areas such as Bristol. It was intended that similar policies would be introduced in Bridgend County Borough Council and the City of Cardiff Council, helping to harmonise policy across the Shared Regulatory Service.
(2) At the meeting of 6th September, Members considered the use of Delegated Authority in respect of non-compliance with the Policy and the use of Delegated Authority would enable efficient and timely implementation.