Agenda item

Taxi Legislation Update

Presentation by Lee Staples, Licensing Consultant.


The Committee received a presentation on taxi and private hire legislation update.


Lee Staples, Environmental Health and Licensing Practitioner presented the following to the Committee:


·         Two important pieces of legislation had recently been passed;

Ø  Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (Disabled Persons) Act 2022; and

Ø  Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Act 2022.

·         The main legislation in use for taxis and private hire vehicles was the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (concerned with horse and cart Hackney carriages) and the Local Government Misc. Provisions 1976 (introduced regulation to private hire vehicles).

·         Big changes in society had taken place since these two pieces of legislation were adopted chiefly mobile telephone use and app based services and cross-border hiring.

·         A Task and Finish Parliamentary working group, which included leading industry figures as well as legal professional, was set up in 2019 and undertook a major review of the taxi industry.

·         34 significant recommendations were made which included:

Ø  Companies acting as intermediaries between passengers and taxi drivers should meet the same licensing requirements and obligations as private hire vehicle operators;

Ø  The Best Practise Guidance had been updated with new definitions for ‘pre-booked’ and –plying for hire’ which took into account app based providers;

Ø  The use Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s) as a means of enforcement against any taxi or private hire vehicle regardless of who issued a licence (i.e. out of LA area).  FPN’s could be used as alternative to sub-Committee hearings or prosecution;

Ø  A recommendation on the mandatory use of in-vehicle CCTV would need to be monitored and reviewed periodically by North Devon Council as at present the policy did not call for mandatory installation of in-vehicle CCTV;

Ø  Licensing Authorities were to publish a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles.  This was now law under the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (Disabled Persons) Act 2022;

Ø  The Equality Act 2010 introduced ‘concept of reasonable adjustment i.e. making changes and alterations so that as far as reasonable disabled persons had the same access to everything as a non-disabled person.  There were around 14 million disabled people in the UK with approximately 80% of those having hidden disabilities.  A reasonable adjustment for wheelchair users was a ramp but for those with a learning disability it might be dictation software;

Ø  The Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 came into force on 28 June and placed duties on taxi and private hire vehicle drivers and operators, so any disabled person had specific rights and protections  to be transported and receive assistance when using a taxi or Private Hire Vehicle without being charged extra;

Ø  Help for visually impaired passengers would be given by drivers to help with identifying or finding the vehicle;

Ø  Drivers could face a fine of up to £1,000 if they failed to provide reasonable mobility assistance to disabled passengers taking a pre-booked vehicle;

Ø  Drivers could apply, to the licensing authority, for an exemption to give these extra aids to passengers on the grounds of their physical/medical impairment;

Ø  The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Act 2022 became law on 31 May;

Ø  This new legislation required a Local Authority to share information relating to safeguarding concerns with other Local Authorities and if not the licensing authority must share with the authority who issued the licence of a driver; and

Ø  Local Authorities will be obliged to input information on a central database, such as instances where the authority had refused, suspended, chosen not to renew or revoked a taxi or Private Hire Vehicle driver’s licence, based wholly or in part on information relating to the driver concerning safeguarding or road safety.



In response to questions, the Environmental Health and Licensing Practitioner gave the following replies:


·         The Local Authority would be the only ones with access to the database.  Local Authorities would be required to check the database for entries, and any entries made on the database would remain live on there for 11 years.

·         A Fixed Penalty Notice would be a cost saving for the Local Authority and was considered to be an admission of guilt.


RESOLVED that the Committee noted the new updates to legislation.