Decision details

Licensing of new or replacement hackney carriage and private-hire vehicles when social distancing measures due to Covid-19 are in place.

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


When a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle is licensed, checks are ordinarily made by officers in respect of the operation of the top light; condition of body work, and interior; presence of fire extinguisher; first aid kit, etc.

Additionally a meter test is undertaken to ensure that the taximeter is calibrated effectively, and there is no risk of over-charging members of the public.

In light of the impact of Covid-19, it is not proposed to enter vehicles at this time to undertake these checks or complete a meter test (which entails an accompanied drive over a measured half mile), and therefore a derogation from the current procedure and Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2016 is proposed as follows:

Officers will ask for photographs to evidence vehicle condition inside and out; presence of meter; top light (on and off); fire-extinguisher; and first aid kit.

Plates will be sent out in the post.

No meter test will be undertaken, and meters will remain unsealed.

NOTE: The plate on a vehicle deemed of paramount importance in terms of public confidence and enforcement of the licensing regime, and as such the above derogation is only proposed in circumstances where vehicle plates can continue to be made up by Customer Services/Licensing staff.


Covid-19 is impacting the UK at an unprecedented rate, and the usual systems available to implement policy changes via Licensing and Community Safety Committee, Strategy and Resources Committee and Full Council are not expedient. Given the circumstances many of these meetings are compromised due to social distancing precautions being now in place.

Background paper used: North Devon Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2016.

Alternative options considered:

Option 1 - as above
Option 2 - none
Option 3 -none

Publication date: 20/05/2020

Date of decision: 01/04/2020