Hackney Carriage and Private Hire (Taxi) Licensing Policy Consultation
We are consulting on our revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire (Taxi) Licensing Policy. Our current policy was last amended in 2012.
The policy sets out our approach to licensing of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade within the District. It serves as a guide to prospective applicants, licence holders and decision makers.
How to comment
- You can send comments on the proposed changes by email to email@example.com
- Write to Environmental Health & Licensing Team, Civic Centre Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2QY
The consultation closes on 9 October 2020
Proposed Changes to the Policy
The policy includes a number of changes, some of which reflect the Statutory Standards recently issued by the Government Department for Transport. Key changes proposed include:
- Format and layout of policy has been overhauled.
- A commitment to review the policy every 5 years. Proposal from trade process removed.
- Clear Statement that shorter licences will not be granted on a probationary basis. Applicants are not given benefit of the doubt in 50/50 decisions.
- Decisions to refuse /revoke licences due to safeguarding concerns around risk to children or vulnerable adults will be notified to the DBS service.
- Inclusion of an enforcement policy specific to taxi licensing.
- Introduction of a "penalty points" scheme for breaches of licence conditions to promote compliance and act as an "early warning" to licence holders.
- All licence holders to notify the council of arrests and release, charges or convictions within 48 hours.
- Revised (and more stringent) policy on approach to applicants and licence holders with convictions and cautions, to reflect Institute of Licensing Guidance and Department of Transport Statutory Standards.
- Inclusion of a general policy on refunds for surrendered licences.
- Hackney Carriage only driver licence discontinued. Driver licences to be Private Hire only or Dual ( Hackney Carriage and Private Hire combined)
- Removal of a minimum age for drivers (other than statutory requirement to have held a full driving licence for one year).
- Requirement for new drivers to pass a Driving Standards Assessment.
- Requirement for drivers to complete an approved safeguarding training course. Transitional arrangements for existing drivers.
- Applicants failing knowledge test 3 times in 3 month period to wait 6 months before further application accepted.
- Provision of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate to tie in with licence renewal. Drivers must sign up to the DBS online update service.
- Drivers residing abroad for continuous period of 3 months or more within 10 years prior to application to provide certificate of good conduct from relevant embassy (increased from 12 months).
- Interval for medical certificates for drivers aged 45-65 reduced from 4 years to 3 years, to be supplied as part of a renewal application. There is a proposed transitional process for existing drivers, to align this with licence renewal periods.
- Condition to notify of any medical condition affecting ability to drive or safety of passengers. Council may require additional medical assessments where reasonably required.
- Legal Obligations for assistance of passengers in wheelchairs or with assistance dogs clearly set out and incorporated into licence conditions.
- Condition to issue receipts for payment, where requested.
- Revision of basic dress code.
Private Hire Operators
- Operators ( including all partners/ directors) to provide a Basic DBS check on an annual basis. ( except for FHDC licensed drivers registered with the update service) In relation to new applicants, Individuals residing abroad for continuous period of 3 months or more within 10 years prior to application to provide certificate of good conduct from relevant embassy.
- Operators to maintain a register of staff employed to take bookings/ dispatch vehicles.
- Operator to see Basic DBS check for all staff employed to take bookings / dispatch vehicles. Transition period for existing operators.
- Operators to put in place a policy on employment of staff with convictions. Operators to ensure that other operators to whom they subcontract bookings have a similar policy in place.
- Operators must not dispatch Passenger Carrying Vehicles and licensed Public Service vehicle drivers to bookings without informed consent of hirer
- Condition requiring premises accessible to public to be covered by public liability insurance.
- Information on making complaints to licensing authority to be displayed in operators premises accessible to the public
- Enhanced record keeping requirements concerning vehicles, drivers and booking details. Retention period for records increased from 3 months to 12 months.
- Revision of age policy in respect of new and relicensed vehicles.
- Policy not to permit "dual plating" of vehicles
- Update of vehicle specifications and conditions e.g. relating to LPG conversions, use of Space saver tyres, tinted windows.
- Introduction of specific policy and conditions for private hire stretch limousines.
- Inclusion of policy on exemptions from display of plate
- Introduction of published "statutory list "of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV), which will be subject to requirements of Equality Act 2010.
- Valid inspection certificates to be maintained for mechanical lifting equipment used on WAVs.
- Update of advertising restrictions on vehicles.
- Vehicles to display information about how to make complaint to the licensing authority.
- Vehicle proprietors (including all partners/ directors) to supply a Basic DBS check on annual basis. ( Except for FHDC licensed drivers registered with the DBS update service) In relation to new applicants, individuals residing abroad for continuous period of 3 months or more within 10 years prior to application to provide certificate of good conduct from relevant embassy (increased from 12 months).
- Council to be notified if directors/ partners change.