Agenda item

GM Minimum Licensing Standards for Taxi and Private Hire - Stage 1 recommendations report

To consider the report of the Deputy Leader and Climate Change and Sustainability/Director of Neighbourhoods/

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report of the Head of Public Protection/Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability, which set out ‘Stage 1’ recommendations in respect of minimum licensing standards for taxis and private hire vehicles across Greater Manchester. 

 

Currently around 2,000 hackney vehicles, approximately 11,500 private hire vehicles and upwards of 18,600 drivers are licensed across the ten Greater Manchester Authorities. Whilst there are many similarities in terms of policy standards and licence conditions, there are also significant differences, particularly when it comes to policies relating to the licensing of vehicles, the calculation of licensing fees and the approach to proactive compliance.

 

In 2018, Greater Manchester’s ten local authorities agreed to collectively develop, approve and implement a common set of minimum licensing standards (MLS) for taxi and private hire services.

 

The MLS were divided into four distinct sections as follows: Licensed Drivers -  including criminal records checks, medical examinations, local knowledge test, English language requirements, driver training including driving proficiency and common licence conditions; Licensed vehicles; including vehicle emissions, vehicle ages, common vehicle colour and livery, vehicle testing, CCTV, Executive Hire andvehicle design common licence conditions; Licensed private hire operators; including common licence conditions, DBS checks for operators and staff every year, fit and proper criteria for operator applications and common licence conditions; and Local Authority Standards: including application deadlines and targets, Greater Manchester Enforcement Policy, Licensing Fee Framework, annual councillor training requirements and Officer delegations.

 

Due to the breadth of the proposals to be considered by Members, and the complexity of the vehicle standards (and their link to the Clean Air Plan), the submitted report sought to provide Members with detailed consultation feedback and officer recommendations on the Drivers, Operator and Local Authority Standard elements at Stage 1.

 

Alternatives considered:

None.

 

Resolved:

1.    That the Cabinet notes the detail of and reasons for the proposed standards for licensed drivers, licensed private hire operators and local authorities.

2.    The Cabinet notes the consultation responses received both from across Greater Manchester and the Rochdale Borough.

3.    The Cabinet notes the comments and considerations for each standard in response to the consultation responses received.

4.    The Cabinet notes that members of the Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee on 2nd September were supportive of the standards and their implementation.

5.    The Cabinet notes and approves the recommendations in the submitted report for each of the standards for licensed drivers, licensed private hire operators and local authorities.

6.    The Cabinet notes and approves the implementation of the standards for licensed drivers, licensed private hire operators and local authorities with a go live date of 1st December 2021.

Reasons for the resolutions:

The Department for Transport had published statutory guidance for taxi and private hire licensing authorities in July 2020. This statutory guidance firmly highlighted past failings of licensing regimes in putting public safety at the forefront of their policies and procedures.

 

The statutory guidance asked authorities to have due regard to reviewing its policies thoroughly and considering good practice in the implementation of robust standards that address the safeguarding of the public and the potential impact of failings in this area.

 

Greater Manchester local authorities have a great history of collaborative working and strive for consistency of approach to regulatory matters. The introduction of consistent minimum standards ensures that the travelling public across the Greater Manchester conurbation are protected equally irrespective as to which Greater Manchester local authority issues the taxi or private hire licence.

Eligible for Call-in: No.

Supporting documents: