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Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Biederman, Chesters, Henderson and Yabsley.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2021 (circulated previously) be adopted with the following amendment:
Minute 25: Hackney Carriage Fare Tariff Review: 3rd bullet point to be amended to “A report would be brought to the Licensing and Community Safety Committee at a later date” not January 2022 as stated.
Declarations of Interests
The following declaration of interest was announced:
Councillor Campbell – a personal interest in item 6 – his wife worked as a chaperone for vulnerable children in taxis.
Report by Public Protection Manager (attached)
The Committee considered a report on the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy – The Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards (circulated previously) by the Public Protection Manager.
The Chair welcomed Lee Staples to the meeting who introduced himself.
Mr Staples had previously been the principal Licensing Officer at Exeter City Council. He was currently contracted to North Devon Council working on the review of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy.
The Public Protection Manager updated the Committee on the progression of streamlining the application process. As a result of a request for the process to be made simpler brought to the Committee by a local taxi firm owner as discussed at the 14 December 2021 meeting. The Public Protection Manager advised that the investigation into the possible streamlining of the application process was still ongoing and a report would be presented to Committee at a future date to be determined.
Mr Staples then presented highlights of the changes being presented to the Committee as follows:
· At its meeting of 13 October 2021 the Committee learnt of the Department for Transport’s Statutory standards as well as the significant changes that were needed to bring North Devon Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy in line with the Department for Transport’s Statutory requirements
· As agreed at the meeting of 13 October 2021 a consultation was carried out seeking comments from local stakeholders and members of the public
· The feedback received could be viewed as part of the agenda pack at Appendix C
· Appendix D presented the changes being proposed and the following changes were highlighted to Committee as follows:
a) A review to be carried out on an existing Licence Holder if further relevant information came to light by way of a complaint or referral of information from the Police. Regarding a serious offence committed, this would remain a consideration for refusal of a licence regardless of the time elapsed since sentencing
b) The Disclosure and Barring update Service (DBS). Whilst it was noted that a financial constraint would be placed on the Driver as a result of this being made mandatory. The real time updates on offences committed being notified to the Council would benefit the safety of the local community. It was planned to impose this mandatory requirement in a phased approach. This mandatory subscription to the DBS update service, would apply to all new applicants from 1 April 2022 and existing licence holders on renewal
c) Displaying how a customer could make a complaint was to be mandatory. Stickers would be displayed in a taxi giving customers the information needed to make a complaint
d) The Lead Licensing Officer had carried out a review of the convictions policy and this could be found in Appendix H of the proposed policy attached to the agenda at Appendix A. The proposal being put forward was that the highest available minimum period of elapsed time since the last conviction would be imposed
e) From 1 March 2022 it was ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
To consider and adopt the minutes of the following meeting (attached):
(a) Licensing and Community Safety Sub-Committee B: 20 December 2021
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing and Community Safety Sub-Committee B held on 20 December 2021 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair of that Sub-Committee.