Hackney carriage and private hire policy - Licencing Policy

Introduction

Bassetlaw District Council is responsible for the regulation of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire trades within the boundaries of the district of Bassetlaw. The Council recognises the important role that Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles play in enabling people to travel around the district whilst, playing a visible role in portraying the image of Bassetlaw to all. The drivers themselves are recognised as having a key role in being Ambassadors for the District.

Customers rightly expect that in using Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles they will be transported safely. In addition, it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that customer experiences are positive. This will help to ensure that the industry and the local economy thrive. 

This policy and related procedures will guide the work of the Council as the Licensing Authority in the way in which it carries out its functions.

The policy has been developed by the Council after consulting with both the public and the trade in particular. In developing this policy, the Council have also taken into consideration:

  • The Council’s licensing objectives
  • Current Legislation
  • The Office of Fair Trading “The Regulation of Licensed Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles Services in the UK” 2003
  • Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles Licensing Criminal Conviction’ Policy, Local Government Association
  • Guidance on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 – March 2014
  • Disclosure & Barring Service Information Note on Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and Police Act 1997 Orders - 2013
  • Regulators’ Code 2014
  • The Department for Transport ‘’Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing: Best Practice Guidance” March 2010

This policy sets out the requirements and standards that must be met.

In exercising its discretion in carrying out its regulatory functions, the Council will have regard to this policy document. Each application or enforcement action will be considered on its own merits. The effectiveness and efficacy of the policy will be evaluated from time to time after its introduction. Following this initial evaluation, the Council will formally review the policy statement from time to time.

Application

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, as amended, (“the 1976 Act”) places on the Council (the “Council”) as the Licensing Authority the duty to carry out its licensing functions in respect of Hackney Carriages and private hire vehicles.

This document sets out the policy that the Council will apply when making decisions about new applications and licences currently in force.

This policy applies to:

  • Hackney Carriages; being a public transport vehicle with no more than 8 passenger seats, which is licensed to ply for hire (This means that it may stand at ranks or be hailed in the street by members of the public)
  • Private hire vehicles: licensed as a taxi to carry no more than 8 passenger seats but must be booked in advance by customers through an operator and may not ply for hire in the street.
  • Private Hire Operators
  • Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers

In undertaking its licensing function, the Council will have particular regard for:

  • Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and 1889
  • Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976
  • Transport Act 1985 and 2000
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Road Traffic Acts
  • Health Act 2006
  • Human Rights Act 1998

The Council will also follow the principles laid out in the statutory Regulator’s Code and any recommendations from the Better Regulation Delivery Office and the Department for Transport.

Definitions

In this policy:

  • “the Council” or “Licensing Authority” means Bassetlaw District Council (“BDC”);
  • “driver” means any dual licensed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver issued by this Licensing Authority.
  • “the Operator” means the holder(s) of the Private Hire Operator’s licence issued by thisLicensing Authority;
  • “vehicle” means any licensed private hire vehicle (and hackney carriages, if bookings are also invited and accepted for fulfilment by these vehicles) operated by the Operator.
  • “DBS” means Disclosure and Barring Service 

Terms defined under section 80 of the 1976 Act shall bear the meanings set out therein, as indicated below:

  • “The Act of 1847” means the provisions of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 with respect to hackney carriages;
  • “the Act of 1936” means the Public Health Act 1936;
  • “authorised officer” means any officer of a district council authorised in writing by the council for the purposes of this Part of this Act;
  • “contravene” includes fail to comply;
  • “controlled district” means any area for which this Part of this Act is in force by virtue of
    • (a) a resolution passed by a district council under section 45 of this Act;
      or
      (b) section 255(4) of the Greater London Authority Act 1999;
  • “daily fine” means a fine for each day during which an offence continues after conviction thereof;
  • “the district”, in relation to a district council in whose area the provisions of this Part of this Act are in force, means
    • (a) if those provisions are in force throughout the area of the council, that area; and
      (b) if those provisions are in force for part only of the area of the council, that part of that area;
  • “driver’s badge” means, in relation to the driver of a hackney carriage, any badge issued by a district council under byelaws made under section 68 of the Act of 1847 and, in relation to the driver of a private hire vehicle, any badge issued by a district council under section 54 of this Act;
  • “driver’s licence” means, in relation to the driver of a hackney carriage, a licence under section 46 of the Act of 1847 and, in relation to the driver of a private hire vehicle, a licence under section 51 of this Act;
  • “hackney carriage” has the same meaning as in the Act of 1847;
  • “hackney carriage byelaws” means the byelaws for the time being in force in the controlled district in question relating to hackney carriages;
  • “operate” means in the course of business to make provision for the invitation or acceptance of bookings for a private hire vehicle;
  • “operator’s licence” means a licence under section 55 of this Act;
  • “private hire vehicle” means a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to seat fewer than nine passengers, other than a hackney carriage or public service vehicle, which is provided for hire with the services of a driver for the purpose of carrying passengers;
  • “proprietor” includes a part-proprietor and, in relation to a vehicle which is the subject of a hiring agreement or hire-purchase agreement, means the person in possession of the vehicle under that agreement;
  • “public service vehicle” has the same meaning as in the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981;
  • “taximeter” means any device for calculating the fare to be charged in respect of any journey in a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle by reference to the distance travelled or time elapsed since the start of the journey, or a combination of both; and
  • “vehicle licence” means in relation to a hackney carriage a licence under sections 37 to 45 of the Act of 1847 in relation to a London cab a licence under section 6 of the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869 and in relation to a private hire vehicle means a licence under section 48 of this Act.

Licensing aims and objectives

The principal purpose of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing is to protect the public and promote public safety.

The Council will adopt and carry out its Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing functions with a view to promoting the following:

    1. The protection of the public, safeguarding children and the vulnerable and the prevention of crime and disorder,
      • Raising awareness amongst the licensed trade, and the general public, of issues of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
      • Operating rules, conditions and disciplinary processes.
      • Vetting, qualification, training and monitoring licensees.
      • Commitment to work with the police and licensing authorities.
      • An expectation that licence holders will treat all customers, passengers, the general public and Council officers with respect and courtesy at all times.
    2. The safety and health of the public and drivers
      • Consideration of history of convictions and cautions.
      • Driver training, qualification and performance.
      • Knowledge of the Bassetlaw area.
      • Health and fitness to fulfil the role of a licensed driver.
      • Vehicle specifications.
      • Regular driver medical checks
      • Commitment to work, and co-operation, with the Police and other Licensing Authorities
    3. Vehicle safety, comfort and access
      • Standards of vehicle comfort and appearance.
      • Space standards for vehicles.
      • Location of ranks and use of ranks
      • Provision of disabled facilities.
    4.  Encouraging environmental sustainability
      • Working with stakeholders in the trade in finding methods of reducing vehicle emissions and not issuing licences for vehicles that are unable to comply with

In promoting these licensing aims and objectives, the Council will expect to see licence holders and applicants continuously demonstrate that they meet or exceed the standards set by the Council.

These aims and objectives will be taken into account by the Council when making decisions on applications and enforcement action(s).

It is recognised that the licensing function is only one means of securing the delivery of the above objectives.

The Council will therefore continue to work in partnership with licence holders, its neighbouring authorities, the Police, local businesses and local people towards the promotion of the aims and objectives.

It should be noted that it is a criminal offence under the 1976 Act for any person to knowingly or recklessly make a false statement or omit any material particular in connection with an application for a driver, vehicle or operator’s licence.

Delegations

Under the Councils constitution the Full Council has responsibility for all policy matters relating to taxi licensing.

Where an application is received for a Driver’s licence, and criminal convictions or cautions are disclosed the power to refuse or grant a drivers licence, can be exercised by specified Officers in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair and Opposition Spokesperson of the Licensing Committee.

Under the Councils constitution specified Officers in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair and Opposition Spokesperson of the Licensing Committee also have the power to:

  • To suspend the Licence of any hackney carriage vehicle or private hire vehicle which is considered unfit.
  • To suspend the Licence of any hackney carriage driver or private hire vehicle driver.
  • To suspend the Licence of any private hire operator
  • Make arrangements for the periodic inspection of hackney carriage vehicles, and private hire vehicles licensed by the Council.

Under the Councils constitution authority has been granted to the Principal Solicitor (Licensing and Regulatory) and the Licensing Officer to deal with individual age policy extensions to incorporate the full annual vehicle licence or the full six-month vehicle inspection as and when they arise.

The Licensing Committee determine applications, contraventions, suspensions and revocations. 

In addition, the Director(s) of the Council can appoint and authorise officers to investigate and discharge its statutory functions. Such authorised powers include the issuing of warnings, suspension notices, STOP notices.

Delegated power has been granted to the Principal Solicitor (Licensing and Regulatory) and the Council Solicitor to issue points under the Penalty Points Scheme and to the Head of Corporate Services and the Director of Corporate Resources to deal with appeals of points issued under the Penalty Points Scheme.

A copy of the constitution which contains the scheme of delegation is available on the website or upon request.

Hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver requirements

Introduction

All drivers must satisfy the Council that they are fit and proper people to be granted a Driver’s Licence. Once a licence has been granted the licence holder must remain a fit and proper person throughout the duration of the licence. The fitness and propriety of a Driver will be monitored/assessed throughout the period that the licence is held.

Applicants/licence holders are expected to act with honesty and integrity throughout the application process, and must therefore fully and accurately disclose any information that is requested. This includes information regarding previous convictions, warnings and reprimands, current investigations and pending criminal proceedings.

The application and compliance procedures are designed to ensure these standards are maintained, monitored for compliance and appropriately enforced.

The sections below (6.2 to 6.17) therefore, apply equally to Private Hire and Hackney Carriage drivers licensed by the Council.

The Application Process

The Council issues licences that enable the driving of both Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles. Licences shall be issued for a maximum period of 3 years but the Council can grant licences for a lesser period if deemed appropriate or if the applicant applies for a lesser term.

Applicants shall be at least 18year of age and have a minimum of one year of holding either a full driving licence issued in the UK, the European Community (EC) or one of the other countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). In addition to the above, licensed drivers who hold an EC/EEA driving licence shall obtain a GB counterpart document before any taxi licence is issued. The Council may directly access the DVLA records of applicants, or alternatively will employ the services of a third party to do this.

Applicants shall provide proof that they have a statutory right to work in the UK and any applicant that has a limited right to work shall not be issued a driver licence for a period longer than that
limited period.

The information submitted as part of the application process will be shared, when applicable, with other Council Departments and external statutory bodies e.g. Police and HM Customs & Excise.

An individual will not be considered fit and proper to hold a licence if there is any evidence of dishonesty, and/or it can be shown that an applicant or existing licence holder has misled, or at
tempted to mislead, the Council (either officers or members of the Licensing Committee) as part of any process associated with the administration or determination of a licence.

The Council issues licences that enable persons to drive both Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles.

Before an application is made, the applicant should arrange: In this policy:

  • attend and pass a knowledge test at the Councils offices
  • complete a practical Taxi Driver Driving Assessment, with an assessor who has been identified by the Council, and obtain a pass certificate
  • complete the Nottinghamshire Authorities Safeguarding Vulnerable People Course and pass the assessment

Before an application will be accepted the applicant must include the following:

  • Two recent colour passport standard photographs that are a good likeness of the applicant;
  • A DVLA driving photo-card;
  • A completed enhanced DBS disclosure with and all the identification documents required as part of the DBS check (Appendix B and section 6.4)
  • Check of the applicants DVLA driving record (Appendix B and section 6.4)
  • A certificate of good conduct and/or Statutory Declaration (see Appendix C and paragraph 6.5 if applicable)
  • Proof that the applicant is legally permitted to work as a taxi driver in the UK – a licence will not be issued for a period longer than that period the applicant is permitted to work. (see Appendix D and paragraph 6.15 if applicable)
  • Full Group 2 Medical Certificate issued by the Councils preferred third party provider.
  • Taxi Driver Driving Assessment pass certificate
  • The Nottinghamshire Authorities Safeguarding Vulnerable People Course pass certificate.
  • Confirmation the applicant has passed the Knowledge Test
  • The application fee (non-refundable)
  • Any other documentation required to progress the application
  • Two satisfactory references

If any issues arise during the processing of an application, in the first instance the applicant will be given an opportunity to provide clarification, or if appropriate to amend the application form.

When all required documents and other information have been received, the application will be determined.

Detailed information on the driver’s licence application process can be found at Appendix A.

Fit and proper person test

The Council considers that licensed drivers are in a position of trust, and therefore Applicants / licence holders are and remain fit and proper to hold a licence. This requirement is contained within Sections 51 and 59 of the 1976 Act.

The term “Fit and Proper Person” for the purposes of taxi and Private Hire licensing is not legally defined. In order to assess the suitability of an applicant, the Council will undertake whatever checks and apply whatever processes it considers necessary to ensure that licences are not issued to, or used by, unsuitable people. In assessing the suitability of an applicant or licence holder, the Council will take into consideration the following factors:

  • Criminality
  • Period of holding a driver’s licence
  • Number of endorsed driving licence penalty points
  • Right to work
  • Medical fitness
  • Standard of driving / driving ability
  • General conduct / standards of behaviour (including online behaviour)
  • The conduct of the driver / applicant when making the application (e.g. whether they have acted with honesty and integrity during the application process).
  • The previous licensing history of existing / former licence holders (including honesty and integrity).
  • Theoretical knowledge of issues and matters related to the work of a licensed driver.

The Council will also consider further information sources such as the Police (including abduction notices), Children and Adult Safeguarding Boards, other licensing authorities and statutory agencies.

DBS and DVLA checks

A criminal record check and check of the driving history of a driver are seen as important safety measures. Applicants will be required to provide an Enhanced Disclosure through the DBS is required as these disclosures include details of live and spent convictions, police cautions and other relevant information that will be considered when processing/determining an application. Applicants will also be required to give access to their DVLA records.

Detailed information about the DBS and DVLA application procedures is detailed in Appendix B of this policy.

Both Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers are included as “exceptions” within the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (the “Exceptions Order”) therefore applicants/licensees will be asked to disclose on the application form any warning, fixed penalty notices, caution or conviction even if it is spent for other purposes and those will be revealed on 6.3 Fit and Proper Person Test the DBS certificate.

Certificates will be obtained using the Councils approved DBS and DVLA systems.

DBS Certificates may be accepted which have been issued to other local authorities if:

  1. It is an enhanced DBS certificate and have been processed in relation to the child and adult workforce employment position; and
  2. The enhanced DBS certificate has been printed within the last two months 

Applicants must declare on the application form any convictions, cautions endorsements, or fixed penalty notices they have received, at any time.

All licence holders shall notify the Council, in writing, of any warnings, convictions, cautions, endorsements and/or fixed penalty notices received during their licence period within 7 days of receiving the warnings, convictions, cautions and/or fixed penalty notice(s). Failure to inform the Council of these matters during the licensing period may result suspension or revocation of the licence and/or any other course of action deemed appropriate by the Council.

The applicant/licensee will be responsible for funding, obtaining and providing the Council with the DBS certificate and/or subscribing to the DBS Update Service.

An initial licence will not be granted in the absence of a current Enhanced DBS Certificate. Upon the grant of a licence the licence holder should either subscribe to the DBS Update Service, and thereafter maintain this subscription OR provide an annual Enhanced DBS Certificate on an annual basis. The licence holder will also have to provide the Licensing Department with access to their DVLA record on an annual basis.

The date displayed on any Enhanced DBS Certificate produced to the Licensing Department cannot not be more than 2 months before the date that the licence is granted. If the Certificate to support a current licence (as part of the annual checks) it needs to be dated not more than 2 months before the anniversary date of the licence grant.

The Council requires all drivers to have provide them with access to check their DBS status and DVLA records, annually (each year by the anniversary date of the licence). They can provide access to their DBS status by having a current subscription to the DBS Update Service. If the information is not provided to the Council by the anniversary date of the grant of the licence the licence may be suspended or revoked until the information is provided.

During the operational period of a driver’s licence Licensees can subscribe to the DBS Online Update Service rather than having to undertake a full annual DBS enhanced check.

During the operational period of a driver licence the Licensee must provide an access code to the Council to enable Officers of the Council to access his/her DVLA record each year. Failure to provide the access information by the anniversary date of the grant of a licence may result in the suspension or revocation of the driver’s licence and /or referral to the Licensing Committee.

Any costs associated with maintaining this subscription or the annual checks must be met by the licence holder.

The Council will use the DBS update service to monitor the criminal record of licence holders. The licensee must give permission for the Council to undertake checks of their DBS status when it is deemed appropriate to do so. Failure by the licensee to allow this may result in a licence being suspended and/or revoked.

A full enhanced DBS check will be required each time a licensee make an application to renew their licence.

If the licensee has not subscribed and maintained the subscription to the DBS update service a full enhanced DBS check will be required each time a licensee make an application to renew their licence.

If the Council receives intelligence, or has suspicions that the holder of a driver’s licence has received any convictions, cautions endorsements, or fixed penalty notices, and the holder of the driver’s licence has not subscribed to the DBS update service they Council will request the holder of the driver’s licence applies for an enhanced DBS certificate within 48 hours. Failure to comply with a request may result in the suspension or revocation of the driver’s licence and referral to the Licensing Committee.

Applicants with periods of residency outside the UK

Because of the potential lifetime relevance for some of the most serious offences mentioned in this policy, the Council will need to ensure that sufficient background checks are conducted for those applicants that have lived oversees.

If the applicant/licensee was born outside of the UK and came to the UK as an adult, they must provide an enhanced DBS certificate and a criminal record check (“Certificate of Good Conduct”) from the country(ies) outside of the UK that they have lived in.

If the applicant/licensee came to the UK as a child (under the age of 16), they must provide evidence of this. Examples of proof accepted by the Council include:

  • the applicant’s/licensee’s parent’s passport from when they first came to the UK,
  • proof of school attendance in the UK,
  • a letter from your GP stating how long they have been registered with the NHS.

If an applicant/licensee has spent 3 continuous months or more overseas, since reaching the age of 16 the Council will need to see evidence of a criminal record check from the country/countries visited covering the period that the applicant/licensee was overseas.

Under Section 57 of the 1976 Act it is an offence to knowingly or recklessly make a false statement or to omit information required by the Licensing Authority.

Applicants/drivers who are unable to provide the necessary DBS check or Certificates of Good Conduct to the satisfaction of the Council may be unable to satisfy the licensing authority that they are a fit and proper person to hold a driver’s licence and the application may be refused or any existing licence may be suspended/revoked.

Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Licensing Authority has the right of appeal to a Magistrates’ Court. Such appeal must be made within 21 days of being notified of the Licensing Authority’s decision.

Documents required and procedure to support and application

  1. UK Citizens born outside the UK
    • UK enhanced DBS check
    • Additional information as required at the discretion of the Council. This may vary depending on the length of time the applicant has been resident in the UK.
    • The non-UK Disclosure (“Certificate of Good Conduct”) must be in English and interpreted by someone on Her Majesty’s Courts Interpretation Services list.
    • The Council reserves the right to require a statutory declaration from a UK solicitor in a format prescribed by the Council.
    • Applicants have to conduct such transactions through the relevant national embassy or in accordance with UK DBS guidance.
  2. Non UK or EU residents
    • UK enhanced DBS check
    • DBS certificate from the applicant’s home country with all information submitted via the licensing office to enable checking of all identity information (this corresponds with the UK DBS procedure).
    • Two character additional references from a UK resident of a professional background who has known the applicant for more than 2 years.
    • The non-UK Disclosure (“Certificate of Good Conduct”) must be in English and interpreted by someone on Her Majesty’s Courts Interpretation Services list.
    • The Council reserves the right to require a statutory declaration from a UK solicitor in a format prescribed by the Council.
    • Applicants have to conduct such transactions through the relevant national embassy or in accordance with UK DBS guidance.
  3. Non UK or EU applicants living in multiple countries
    • In addition to the above requirements at point (B) the Council may require a non-UK DBS disclosure from any country they have lived in for 3 months or more.
  4. None EU Countries
    • The Council notes it is not always possible to obtain a criminal records certificate (“Certificate of Good Conduct”) from countries that do not have functioning criminal record regimes or some countries refuse to provide this information to anyone other than their own citizens. In the absence of available checks, the Council expect applicants/licensees to obtain as much information as possible in the form of references or other evidence to enable the application to be determined.
    • The Council in making its final decision to grant a licence and in balancing ‘fit and proper’person assessment will consider the information available to them about the applicant and how that information can be validated.

Police character certificates’ (“Certificate of Good Conduct”) or equivalent should be obtained via the Embassy of a country the applicant/licensee has lived in for a period longer than 3 months, or as described in the process under the heading “UK citizens born outside of UK”.

Further information on how to obtain the information required by the Council can be found at Appendix C.

Statutory Declarations

The purpose of requiring a statutory declaration is to enable the Council to demonstrate that it has taken significant steps to ensure, as far as is practicable, the credibility of information supplied to it within a legal process. It should also demonstrate to the applicant the significant seriousness of not telling the truth or providing misleading information during an application process to obtain a licence from the Council.

Where the Council requires a statutory declaration it must be obtained from a practising UK solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths.

The preferred format of the Statutory Declaration is set out at Appendix D of this document and when required a copy will be given to the applicant. It is important that the solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths follows exactly the format of the declaration. Any declarations that are considered to be deficient in any material detail will not be accepted.

Any costs incurred are the responsibility of the applicant and the original document will be retained by the Council.

Additional References

The Council may also require additional references from the applicant/licensee in support of any part of the application process.

It is important that references are honest accounts and a professional assessment of the applicant in the context of the role they are applying for. The author of the reference must understand the concerns of the Council in respect of public safety, safeguarding and the prevention of Child Sexual Exploitation.

The reference must demonstrate that the author has full knowledge of the applicant’s/licensees background and criminal history (if applicable) so they can consider their own position prior to
supplying a professional reference.

References which are vague, non-specific to the context of the role, supplied by relatives or someone who cannot demonstrate detailed examples of the applicant’s character will not be considered. The author must have known the applicant for a minimum of 2 years.

Fees and costs incurred

Any fees would be payable/additional costs incurred by the applicant in obtaining the information required by the Council are in addition to the standard application fees.

Relevant convictions policy

The Council is committed to ensuring that the licensed trade are fit and proper, this will entail periodic audits of licensed drivers to ensure that any errors or material changes are identified and acted upon.

In relation to the consideration of convictions, cautions, warning and reprimands etc., the Council has adopted the policy set out in Appendix E.

In assessing whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold or retain a licence, the Council will consider each case on its merits. It will take account of warnings, cautions and convictions, whether spent or unspent, but only in so far as they are relevant to an application for a licence.

Those applications or renewals with information indicating a past criminal record or, any other concern, will be dealt with under the Council scheme of delegations who will make the assessment of whether or not the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a licence in line with the policy at Appendix E.

The policy at Appendix E will also be used to determine the suitability of an existing licence holder should it be necessary to consider action in relation to the licence part way through the licence period.

Knowledge and driving test

Knowledge Test

New applicants for a Driver’s Licence are required to have passed the Council’s knowledge test.

Applicants are required to produce photographic identification and pay for the test before the assessment can commence.

This test must be passed and is designed to ensure that the applicant has sufficient knowledge in relation to:

  1. Topography
  2. Conditions of licensing

The test is administered in English to enable applicants to demonstrate that they are able to communicate in English to a standard that would be reasonably expected of a person undertaking a role as a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Driver.

The applicant must pass all sections in one test. Applicants who fail must re-sit the whole test and pass all sections in that test. If applicants fail three successive knowledge tests their application will be refused and they will be required to wait at least 12 months (from the date of the most recent failure) before being permitted to take further tests.

Applicants are charged a fee for each time they sit the test. The fee is payable at the time of booking. Applicants cancelling the test with less than 24 hours’ notice will not be refunded the fee.

Driving Test

All new applicants are required to take a practical Taxi Driving Test with the provider identified by the Council. New applicants are required to produce a pass certificate to support their application.

Applicants who can provide a valid Driver Certificate of Professional Competence Card, with their application are to be exempt from providing proof that they have completed and passed the take a practical Taxi Driving Test.

Medical Assessment

The Council recognises that licensed drivers should have more stringent medical standards than those applicable to normal car drivers because they carry members of the public who have expectations of a safe journey; they are on the road for longer hours than most car drivers; and they may have to assist disabled passengers and handle luggage and therefore requires Group 2 Standards of Medical Fitness as applied by the DVLA to the licensing of lorry and bus drivers, as the appropriate standard for licensed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers. 

The Council requires that applicants and current drivers undergo medicals through the Councils preferred third party provider. The medical will be taken at the applicants own expense and they are responsible to make their own arrangements for this to take place. The medical certificate will be produced to the Council, in the case of a new applicant before the application form is accepted and in the case of a renewal before the renewal of the licence is granted.

Drivers who already hold a medical certificate for a driver’s licence from another local authority, which is less than 3 months old, may use this when submitting their application to Bassetlaw provided the medical provider is one approved by the Council. The applicant will be required to provide confirmation from the Councils preferred third party provider that there have been no changes in the applicant’s health since the medical certificate was issued.

Licensees must advise the Council of any deterioration or other change in their health that may affect their driving capabilities. 

Where there remains any doubt about the fitness of any applicant/licensee, the Council will review the medical evidence and make any final decision in light of the medical evidence available.

No licence shall be issued until medical clearance (if required) has been established. A licence application will not be accepted/processed unless all elements of the application process have
been completed.

If the applicant is not required to undertake a full Group 2 medical on renewal they will be required to complete and submit a self-medical certificate with their renewal application. The Council reserves the right to request a further Group 2 medical where it is deemed appropriate.

The applicant will be required to finance this.

The Licensing Authority also reserves the right to request a driver to produce a medical certificate upon request at any point during the period of the licence. The driver may be required to cover the cost of this. Failure to comply with such a request in immediate suspension, revocation and/or another course of action deemed appropriate by the Licensing Authority.

Please see Appendix A for further information of Medicals.

Requirements under Equality Act 2010

It is important that all licensed drivers are aware of their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

The Equality Act 2010 places specific duties on driver’s transport passengers accompanied by assistance dogs.

Further guidance can be found at Appendix F

Assistance Dogs

Drivers are under a duty to carry passengers with guide, hearing and other assistance dogs without additional charge. When carrying such passengers, drivers have a duty to:

  • Convey the disabled passenger’s dog and allow it to remain under the physical control of the owner; and
  • Not to make any additional charge for doing so.

It is best practice to ask the passenger where they want themselves and their dog to sit in the vehicle.

Drivers who have a certifiable medical condition which is aggravated by exposure to dogs may apply to the council for exemption from the duty on medical grounds. If no exemption has been
applied for and subsequently granted, then drivers are required to carry assistance dogs.

The Council will only issue a medical exemption certificate, in relation to the carriage of assistance dog when it is authorised by the driver’s GP and is accompanied by medical evidence, for example a blood test, a skin prick test or clinical history.

If the driver holds a medical exemption certificate the driver must:

  • Exhibit the certificate in the vehicle by fixing it in an easily accessible place (e.g. on the windscreen or in a prominent position on the dashboard)
  • Seek to use a tactile medical exemption certificate so that guide dog owners are able to identify the certificate. This tactile medical certificate should be presented to the guide dog
    owner upon request.

Refusal of the Carriage of Wheelchairs in Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Drivers shall not refuse to carry a disabled passenger without reasonable grounds.

Drivers are required to:

  • carry the passenger while in the wheelchair;
  • not to make any additional charge for doing so;
  • if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair;
  • ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort;
  • give the passenger such “mobility assistance” as is reasonably required

Mobility assistance includes:

  • enabling the passenger to get into or out of the vehicle;
  • if the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair;
  • to load the passenger’s luggage into or out of the vehicle;
  • if the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair into or out of the vehicle.

The driver is not required to:

  • carry more than one person in a wheelchair, or more than one wheelchair, on any one journey, unless the vehicle is designed to do this;
  • carry a person in circumstances in which it would otherwise be lawful for the driver to refuse to carry the person.

The Council can issue a driver with a certificate exempting him/her conveying:

  • a disabled person who is in a wheelchair, or
  • another person who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person who is in a wheelchair

On either medical grounds or on the ground that the drivers physical condition makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for them to comply.

The Council will only issue a medical exemption certificate, in relation to the carriage of assistance dog when it is authorised by the driver’s GP and is accompanied by medical evidence, for example a blood test, a skin prick test or clinical history.

If the driver holds a medical exemption certificate the driver must:

  • Exhibit the certificate in the vehicle by fixing it in an easily accessible place (e.g. on the windscreen or in a prominent position on the dashboard)
  • Seek to use a tactile medical exemption certificate so that guide dog owners are able to identify the certificate. This tactile medical certificate should be presented to the guide dog owner upon request.
  • Seek to use a tactile medical exemption certificate so that guide dog owners are able to identify the certificate. This tactile medical certificate should be presented to the guide dog owner upon request.

Duration of licence

The Council will normally issue a combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Drivers Licence for a three-year period. The Council has the discretion to issue licences of a shorter duration, if it considers this to be necessary given the circumstances. The applicant may also choose to apply for a licence of a lesser period.

Safeguarding Training

All new applicants will be required to attend the Nottinghamshire Authorities Safeguarding Vulnerable person training and pass the associated assessment before a licence is granted.

Current licensees are required to undertake Nottinghamshire Authorities Safeguarding Vulnerable person training prior to renewing their licence with the Council. Failure to do so will result in the licensee having to re-taking the training session and assessment at their own cost.

Should the applicant or licensee holder fail the assessment for a third time, in the case of a new applicant the application will be refused, in the case of a current driver the application to renew
will be refused.

The fee for the course and assessment are payable by the applicant/licensee for each time they participate in the training/assessment.

If the Council consider that the Nottinghamshire Authorities Safeguarding Vulnerable person training requires updating or amending licensees will be required to re-take the training and pass
the assessment once notified, in writing, upon subsequent renewals of their licences (e.g. before a new licence is granted).

Conditions

The Council may attach such conditions to a Private Hire / Hackney Carriage driver’s licence as are considered necessary. These are set out in Appendix G these will be reviewed from time to time.

Failure to comply with conditions may result in enforcement action being taken.

Dress code

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing plays an important role in portraying a positive image of Bassetlaw.

All Licensees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that serves to enhance the professional image of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire trade, and promotes the concept that drivers of licensed vehicles are professional vocational drivers.

Employees working for companies operating their own dress codes will also be required to comply with this standard. The Licensing Authority requires all drivers to adhere to the following dress code:

  • Drivers must ensure that at all times a smart standard of dress and cleanliness is maintained which is acceptable to the general public.
  • The seasonal wearing of dress shorts or culottes as appropriate will be allowed and drivers must wear either a short sleeved shirt, blouse or collared polo shirt.

The following are deemed to be unacceptable:

  • Clothing that is not kept in a clean condition, free from holes and rips.
  • Words or graphics on any clothing that is of an offensive or suggestive nature or which might offend.
  • Sportswear (e.g. football / rugby kits, track suits, beach wear etc).
  • Sandals with no heel straps, flip flops or any other form of footwear not secured around the heel.
  • Drivers not having either the top or bottom half of their bodies suitably clothed.
  • The wearing of hoods or other clothing that obscures the drivers vision or their identity.

Rights of the driver to work in the UK

The applicant/licensee must be eligible to live and work in the UK, as a licenced driver or a Hackney Carriage and/or Private Hire Vehicle and must therefore provide the Council with documentary evidence of this. For further information, relating to this please see Appendix H.

An application will not be accepted if the applicant/licensee cannot supply the relevant documents.

Licences granted to drivers whose leave to remain in the UK is time-limited will only be valid for the period for which they are entitled to work in the UK. To extend the licence period the licensee must produce further evidence to prove they have the right to work in the UK.

The Home Office (Immigration Enforcement) may provide the Council with information, or information may be obtained from other sources which causes the licence to be suspended or revoked on the basis that the licensee immigration status has changed.

The licensee is required to return the licence to the Council once the licence has expired or been revoked or suspended on immigration grounds failure to return the licence within 7 days is a criminal offence.

Right of the driver to drive in the UK

The Council must also be satisfied that the applicant/licensee holds an appropriate driving licence to drive in the UK for vocational purposes i.e. driving for a job.

The EEA states are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein,
Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

A valid licence issued on the strength of a driving test within the EEA, will allow the applicant to drive in Great Britain for a set period. Alternatively, the applicant can exchange their licence for a
British licence. Provided your licence remains valid the applicant/licensee may drive in Great Britain.

Car, motorcycle driving licence holders (ordinary driving licence):

  • until aged 70 or for three years after becoming resident, whichever is the longer period

Lorry, minibus, bus driving licence holders (vocational driving licence):

  • until aged 45 or for five years after becoming resident, whichever is the longer period
  • if the applicant/licensee is aged over 45 (but under 65) until your 66th birthday or for five years after becoming resident, whichever is the shorter period
  • if the applicant/licensee is aged 65 or over for 12 months after becoming resident

In order to continue driving after these periods, the applicant/licensee must obtain a British driving licence.

Drivers responsibilities

The Licensing Authority requires all its drivers to ensure that passengers are safeguarded when being transported in a licensed vehicle. 

Drivers are expected:

  • Ensure that they are fit to drive at all times;
  • Ensure their vehicle is fit to be driven at all times;
  • Not to use a vehicle which could put the public at risk;
  • To remain professional at all times;
  • To carry photo ID at all times, and wear it in accordance with any conditions of licence.
  • Not to use offensive or inappropriate language;
  • Not to swear or use foul or abusive language;
  • Not to behave in a manner that would make passengers feel uncomfortable, intimidated and/or threatened;
  • Not to misuse personal information obtained whilst working;
  • Ensure a log is maintained which records all incidents, refusals and accidents involving passengers and/or reported to the Operator immediately and in any event before taking the next fare;
  • To not smoke in the vehicle or permit any passenger to smoke in the vehicle (which for the avoidance of doubt shall include smoking or using an electronic cigarette or any other vapour producing smoking device).

Vulnerable Passengers

Drivers and/or Operators must confirm that appropriate provisions are in place for any vulnerable passengers prior to accepting any bookings and/or commencing a journey. A Driver/Operator would not be responsible for any alterations, but is responsible for ensuring the passenger is able to be transported safely and comfortably.

If a responsible person is not accompanying a vulnerable passenger the Driver should make reasonable attempts to obtain contact details for a responsible person in case of an emergency.

If a Driver is unable to commence a journey due to safety concerns, then all reasonable measures should be taken to ensure a responsible person is notified to enable alternative arrangements to
be made.

Accordingly, a specific Code of Conduct must be complied with when working with vulnerable passengers. This is provided at Appendix I.

Reporting Concerns

If a driver is concerned about the safety, welfare or behaviour of an individual, they should report it to the police by telephoning 101 (or in emergencies by calling 999) and to the Licensing
Authority.

Vehicles

All Licensed drivers are responsible for ensuring their vehicle is safe to carry members of the public and must refrain from driving it if there are any physical/mechanical concerns.

All concerns must be reported to the Private Hire Operator or the vehicle proprietor/owner as soon as practicably possible by the Driver.

The Vehicle must not be used until the concerns have been rectified.

Driver Hours

There are no direct controls over the hours that Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers can work. There are, however, limits applicable to drivers and crews of heavy goods vehicles or public service vehicles.

The Licensing Authority deem that the number of hours worked by drivers can impact public safety and as a result seeks to promote the same limits that are applicable to drivers and crews of
heavy goods vehicles or public service vehicles, namely:

  • An average of 48 hours per week calculated over a 17-week period normally;
  • In any single week up to 60 hours providing the 48-hour limit is maintained;
  • Night work is limited to 10 hours per night unless there is an agreement to work longer hours;
  • Working between 6 and 9 hours per day requires breaks totalling 30 minutes. If more than 9 hours is worked then breaks must total 45 minutes. Breaks must be of at least 15 minutes in duration.

The Licensing Authority recommends that these requirements are used as a guideline to ensure drivers are fit to drive and that public safety remains paramount at all times. Further guidance is
available from the Council’s website or upon request.

Drugs testing /screening

To provide equity with drivers of other forms of public transport, the Council will conduct drug tests on drivers on an intelligence led and random basis. Selected drivers will be expected to either submit to any tests deemed appropriate by the Licensing Department or to attend a medical practitioner chosen by the Council and submit to any tests deemed appropriate.

Positive test results or a failure to comply with a request for a test may result in the suspension or revocation of the driver’s licence and referral to the Licensing Committee.

Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles

Application process

The Council will consider all applications for vehicle licences on their own merits. The procedure for dealing with applications for Private Hire and Hackney Carriage vehicles is set out in Appendix J.

Grant and renewal of licences

The vehicle must be submitted for a supplementary inspection at the Council’s Vehicle Testing Station. The Supplementary Testing Manual to which the vehicle is inspected can be found at Appendix K.

For a renewal application the application form, supplementary paperwork and fee must be submitted to the Council’s Licensing Department before the date of the expiry of the vehicle licence. The vehicle must have also satisfactory passed the supplementary vehicle inspection before this expiry date. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is tested prior to the submission of the application. This can be done in liaison with the Council’s (Licensing Department) to arrange an appointment for the vehicle to be taken to the Council’s Vehicle Testing Station on a specific date and time. Failure to attend a test appointment will result in a fee payable for the mechanic’s time allocated to carrying out the inspection.

If either the application form, corresponding paperwork or the vehicle inspection (in which the vehicle passes) is not completed prior to the expiry date, the vehicle licence will not be renewed.

Applicants will have a right of appeal if a vehicle licence is not renewed, however, there must be evidence of the exceptional circumstances.

Once the vehicle licence has been issued, only licensed drivers will be permitted to drive the vehicle. Spouses, partners and their children who hold DVLA driver’s licences are unable to drive licensed vehicles for social and domestic purposes unless they hold a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver’s Licence issued by Bassetlaw District Council.

Age of vehicles and frequency of supplementary testing

Private hire vehicles

Private Hire Vehicle licences will be issued for a one-year period, commencing on the date that the licence is issued. The Council will not consider issuing a new licence to a vehicle which is more than 5 years of age from the date of registration on the log book (V5C). If the licensee of a vehicle, which is currently licensed with the Council wishes to continue to have a vehicle licensed, once it reaches 5 years of age the vehicle must undergo, and pass the supplementary testing every 6 months.

Private Hire Vehicles Licences will be issued up until the vehicle reaches 10 years of age. When the vehicle is approaching 10 years delegated power has been granted by the Licensing Committee to the Principal Solicitor (Licensing & Regulatory) and the Licensing Officer to continue to deal with individual age policy extensions to incorporate the full annual vehicle licence or the full six-month vehicle inspection as and when they arise. This means that if a vehicles 10-year age (calculated from the registration date on the V5C) falls within the operational period of full annual vehicle licence or the full six-month vehicle inspection the vehicle owner/proprietor will be granted a licence for the full period of the licence/inspection.

If the applicant wishes the vehicle to be licenced to be licensed beyond the 10 year point the vehicle must:

  • Comply with the exceptional condition requirements on the anniversary date (the anniversary of the date of registration)
  • Undergo a supplementary test 6 months after the vehicle has been deemed to comply with the exceptional condition requirement

A copy of the exceptional condition requirement can be found at Appendix L this applies to both Private Hire Vehicles and Hackney Carriages.

Hackney Carriages

Hackney Carriage licences will be issued for a one-year period, commencing on the date that the licence is issued. The Council will not consider issuing a new licence to a vehicle which is more than 5 years of age. If the licensee of a vehicle, which is currently licensed with the Council wishes to continue to have the vehicle licensed, once it reaches 5 years of age the vehicle must undergo, and pass the supplementary testing every 6 months.

Hackney Carriage Vehicles Licences will be issued up until the vehicle reaches 10 years of age for saloon and estate vehicles and 12 years of age for wheelchair accessible vehicles. When the vehicle is approaching either the 10 or 12 years’ age policy, delegated power has been granted by the Licensing Committee to the Principal Solicitor (Licensing & Regulatory) and the Licensing Officer to continue to deal with individual age policy extensions to incorporate the full annual vehicle licence or the full six-month vehicle inspection as and when they arise. This means that if a vehicle either 10 or 12 years of age (calculated from the registration date on the V5C) falls within the operational period of full annual vehicle licence or the full six-month vehicle inspection the vehicle owner/proprietor will be granted a licence for the full period of the licence/inspection.

If the applicant wishes the vehicle to be licenced to be licensed beyond the 10 or 12 year point the vehicle must:

  • Comply with the exceptional condition requirements on the anniversary date (the anniversary of the date of registration)
  • Undergo a supplementary vehicle inspection 6 months after the vehicle has been deemed to comply with the exceptional condition requirement

A copy of the exceptional condition definition can be found at Appendix L which applies to both Private Hire Vehicles and Hackney Carriages.

Insurance

All insurance documents must be produced before a licence can be issued by the Council, namely:

  • A valid certificate of insurance or cover note confirming that insurance is in place for each driver of the vehicle and specifying use as either a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire
    Vehicle.
  • A Hackney Carriage vehicle requires insurance to cover public hire and hire and reward.
  • A Private Hire vehicle requires insurance to cover hire and reward.
  • A cover note will be accepted and the plate will be issued on the understanding that a certificate of insurance will be produced at the earliest opportunity. However, the paper licence will not be issued until this has been received.

The council will undertake periodic auditing of licensed vehicles to verify that the vehicle is appropriately insured.

Vehicle specification

The Council has set down a series of specifications. A vehicle will need to comply with these specifications prior to it being accepted as a licensed vehicle. The specification for Private Hire Vehicles and for Hackney Carriages is set out at Appendix M.

Licence conditions

The Council is empowered to impose such conditions as it considers reasonably necessary in relation to the granting of Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle licences. 

These are set out in Appendix N for Private Hire Vehicles and Appendix O for Hackney Carriages and Appendix P for Special Event Vehicles.

However, where it is considered necessary, additional conditions may be imposed. In considering what is reasonably necessary the Council will take into account it’s the aims and objectives of this
policy.

Identification of vehicles as private hire vehicles or hackney carriages

The Council requires Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles to clearly indicate to the public that they are licensed vehicles. Therefore, they must be clearly distinguishable from other vehicles and each other. The Council believes that clear signage, types of vehicle, together with colour of the vehicle, can achieve this.

Private Hire Vehicles

  • The TX4 or similar vehicle (commonly referred to as a ‘London cab’) will not be licensed as a Private Hire vehicle.
  • The minibus variants of approved Hackney Carriage vehicles (such as the Mercedes Vito can be licensed as Private Hire vehicles.
  • By law a private hire vehicle cannot have the appearance of a Hackney Carriage
  • Must not have a top light or sign

The Council has set standards on the acceptable type of signage for Private Hire Vehicles and Hackney Carriages. These can be found in the Private Hire Vehicle/Hackney Carriages conditions set out in Appendix N for Private Hire Vehicles and Appendix O for Hackney Carriages. They include:

  • the permitted position of licence plates
  • positioning of permanent door signs for vehicles
  • required wording for door signs on vehicles
  • requirements for the display of notices in vehicles
  • other notices / markings that the Council will require licensed vehicles to display

Fire extinguishers and first aid kits

All vehicles will carry both a First Aid kit and Fire Extinguishers as specified in the Supplementary Testing Manual at Appendix K.

Tyres

Tyres are the vehicle’s only point of contact with the road, so it is essential that they are in good condition.

The Council requires that all licensed vehicles adhere to the following provisions with regard to tyres:

  • Tyre treads are designed to efficiently and effectively remove water from the road surface and provide maximum grip. All tyres fitted to the vehicle must have at least 2.0 mm tread depth throughout the complete circumference and tread breadth of the tyre
  • Tyres must all be of the same type
  • The tyre provided on the spare wheel must be of the same size and construction as those fitted to the road wheels
  • In respect of the spare wheel space saver wheels are acceptable provided they are factory fitted to new vehicles as part of their standard equipment
  • ‘Space saving’ spare wheels must only be used in an emergency, and then only in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Should the use of a ‘space saving’ spare wheel become necessary during a period of hire then the journey may continue, but the wheel must be replaced before another journey commences.
  • If a vehicle has tyres in a combination which conforms to current legal requirements (e.g. radial and cross ply), the carrying of one spare wheel/tyre cannot be accepted since it can only be used in limited circumstances. The vehicle will therefore fail the test, even if the spare tyre is in good condition and matches one pair of the tyre’s fitted to the vehicle
  • Tyre fitted to a motor vehicle must be fit for purpose and be free from any defects which might damage the road or endanger any person.
  • Fit for purpose means that a tyre must:
    • not have any lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of the structure,
    • not have a cut or tear in excess of 25mm or 10% of the sectional width of the tyre, whichever is the greater, and which is deep enough to reach the ply or cord,
    • not have any part of the ply or cord exposed.
  • A mix of steel and cord radials on one axle will not be accepted.
  • Recut tyres are not acceptable.
  • A remould will only be acceptable if it carries a clearly legible manufacturer’s mark that the tyre conforms to the current British Standard – BSAU144E.
  • Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle / tyre manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
  • Tyre Inflation kits are not permitted.
  • The fitting of part worn tyres to licensed vehicles is not permitted.
  • All replacement tyres fitted to licensed vehicles must be new (i.e. not have been used previously on any other vehicle) and have been fitted by a reputable vehicle maintenance company /
    contractor. Vehicle proprietors are required to retain invoices / receipts to show that any tyre that is purchased meets this requirement 
  • The jack and wheel brace provided with the vehicle must be in good working order 
  • The spare wheel fixing bracket (or similar securing device) must ensure that the wheel is properly secured in the correct position 
  • The rims of all wheels must not be damaged or distorted

Accidents

If at any time the vehicle is involved in an accident, however minor, the driver must inform the Council of this fact as soon as possible and in any event within 48 hours in writing or email (telephone calls are not a permitted method of reporting accidents) on the Council’s specified form. A copy of the form can be found at Appendix Q.

After an accident has been reported the vehicle must be presented for inspection to the Council’s Vehicle Testing Station as soon as possible after the accident has taken place. An appointment will be arranged by the Council (Licensing Department) who will notify the vehicle proprietor of the date and time. Failure to present the vehicle for the appointment may result in the vehicle’s licence being suspended until such time as the vehicle is presented for examination.

The Council may, at any time, request that a vehicle be tested. The vehicle should not be used for hire or reward until the Council’s Vehicle Testing Station has confirmed it is satisfied that the vehicle is fit for use. The Licence may be suspended in the interim until the vehicle has been presented for inspection. If, following an inspection, it is deemed that the vehicle is not fit for use and/or roadworthy then the vehicle licence may be suspended.

If the vehicle is significantly damaged/not roadworthy, or is being assessed by an insurance company, then the vehicle proprietor must inform the Council (Licensing Department) as soon as possible and in any event within 72 hours. In these cases, the proprietor should provide photographic or other evidence to justify why the vehicle is unable to be presented for examination. Failure to do so may result in the licence being suspended and/or revoked.

If the vehicle cannot be driven, then the vehicle proprietor must inform the Council (Licensing Department) of this fact. The Council will then advise the proprietor of the action to be taken. In such cases the proprietor is advised to take photographic evidence of the vehicle’s condition that clearly illustrates the reasons why the vehicle cannot be driven / presented for examination.

Vehicle examination and testing requirements

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles examination are conducted under the supplementary testing manual which is set out in Appendix K.

All vehicles must undergo their vehicle inspection under the supplementary testing manual at the Councils Vehicle Testing Station.

Meters and Charging

All Hackney Carriages must be fitted with a meter.

Meters used to calculate fares must be accurate, display the correct time and be capable of displaying:

  • In the case of Hackney Carriages;
    • the various tariffs as approved by the Council (including extra charges recoverable under the approved Table of Fares).
    • The meter shall be calibrated and set to the Council‘s agreed charging distances and tariffs currently in force.
  • In the case of Private Hire Vehicles;
    • any scale of charges will be provided by the Private Hire operator.
    • There shall be no discrimination arising from disability, i.e. wheelchair users, for additional charges to be levied for doing so.

Meters will be checked for accuracy by a measured mile distance or by waiting time.

Meters must be positioned in order that the fare must be clearly displayed to the passenger throughout the journey.

Meters must be adequately secured within the vehicle.

Meters in use must not facilitate fraudulent use. Any signs of tampering including the breaking of any seals will result in a suspension notice being issued immediately.

Private Hire Operators and / or Hackney Carriage Drivers may agree a cost for the journey with the customer prior to the journey commencing. In this situation, the price quoted is the price that must be charged – there is to be no deviation from this price without the agreement of the customer.

On occasions where a price has been not been agreed prior to the journey commencing, the fare charged must be that which is reflected on the meter were the vehicle is equipped with a meter.

Meters must comply with the requirements of the Councils Supplementary Testing Manual at Appendix K.

Advertisements on Vehicles

The Council has set standards on the acceptable type of signage for Private Hire Vehicles and Hackney Carriages, this includes advertisements. These can be found in the Private Hire Vehicle / Hackney Carriages conditions set out in Appendix N for Private Hire Vehicles and Appendix O for Hackney Carriages.

Before signage/advertisements can be placed on any vehicle the proprietor must obtain the prior written approval of the Licensing Committee.

Taxi Ranks

A full list of permanent Hackney Carriage ranks, is set out in Appendix R.

Taxi ranks are only to be used by Hackney Carriages whilst waiting for their next hire.

Hackney Carriages should not to be regarded as parking places.

Private Hire Vehicles are not permitted to go on taxi ranks, under any circumstances.

Private Hire Vehicles must they allow customers to alight from their vehicle on a taxi rank.

Temporary taxi ranks may be used from time to time by the Council.

No Smoking Requirements

Smoking in a smoke-free place is prohibited under the Health Act 2006. In this context a ‘smokefree place’ will include a licensed Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicles. In the context of the Health Act 2006, smoking relates to the smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as vaporisers or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine by heating a solution of nicotine, flavouring, additives and propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine (glycerol). The devices typically consist of a mouthpiece, battery and cartridge or tank containing the nicotine solution. The use of these devices is prohibited in Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicles.

All licenced vehicles must display a no-smoking sign. This sign must also indicate that the use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes is prohibited in the vehicle.

Fares

Hackney Carriages

The Hackney Carriage Table of Fares (“the tariff”) is set by the Council and sets the maximum fare that can be charged by Hackney Carriage drivers for journeys within the District.

Lesser fares can be negotiated by the hirer for journeys.

The hirer may agree to the fare for a journey which ends outside the district being charged other than at the metered rate.

It is an offence for any person to charge more than the metered fare and penalty points can be issued to the Proprietor of the Hackney Carriage in such circumstances in line with the Councils penalty points’ scheme (Appendix S) Repeat occurrences may result in the revocation of a licence.

The Council will review Hackney Carriage fares. A notice of any variation to the maximum fare shall be advertised by the Council.

A table of authorised maximum fares will be provided to each Hackney Carriage licence holder. The table of fares must then be displayed in each vehicle so that it is easily visible to all hirers.

Drivers must, if requested by the passenger, provide written receipts for fares paid.

Private Hire Vehicles

The Council is not able to set fares for Private Hire Vehicles.

It is best practice to agree the fare prior to the commencement of the journey with the Private Hire Operator.

Drivers must, if requested by the passenger, provide written receipts for fares paid.

Private Hire Operators

Introduction

Vehicles and drivers may only lawfully carry out bookings made through a Private Hire Operator who is licensed by the same authority.

When an Operator is unable to fulfil a booking due to unforeseen circumstances, it may pass the booking to another Operator to fulfil the commitment providing it is done so in accordance with the law.

The term ‘operate’ is defined at section 80 of the 1976 Act as meaning, in the course of a business, to make provision for the invitation or acceptance of bookings for private hire vehicles.

Operators play a key role in ensuring that the public are kept safe, that drivers are suitably trained, experienced, supported to deliver a high quality service, ensure that vehicles are kept in a clean, safe and sound condition at all times.

Whilst it is accepted that Operators will have less direct contact with the public than drivers (with the exception of receiving bookings for journeys), to ensure the safety of the public the Licensing Authority must apply similar checks when considering applications for licences. The Licensing Authority must be satisfied that prospective Operators are fit and proper persons.

A licensed Private Hire Vehicle must only be despatched to a customer by a Private Hire Operator who holds a valid Operator’s licence. Such a licence permits the Operator to make provision for the invitation or acceptance of bookings for a licensed hire vehicle in line with the law.

Application Process

Applications for Operator’s licences must be made in writing using the approved application form in line with the application procedure detailed in Appendix T.

  • Where the application is being made by a single individual, the questions on the application form should be answered by that individual.
  • Where the application is being made by multiple individuals (whether in a formal partnership or not), the questions should be answered jointly by the applicants.
  • Where a limited company is applying for a licence, the questions should be answered in respect of both the company and its directors.

This is necessary and particularly relevant to the questions relating to conviction, cautions, insolvency or disqualification, where the Licensing Authority must be satisfied as to the fitness and propriety of each and every applicant.

Before an application will be accepted the applicant must include the following:

  • A standard DBS disclosure certificate;
  • A certificate of good conduct Declaration (see Appendix C and paragraph 6.5 if applicable);
  • Proof that the applicant is legally permitted to work in the UK – a licence will not be issued for a period longer than that period the applicant is permitted to work (see paragraph 6.15 and Appendix H if applicable);
  • The Nottinghamshire Authorities Safeguarding Vulnerable people assessment pass certificate;
  • The application fee (non-refundable);
  • Any other documentation required to progress your application e.g. relevant insurance documents.
  • The names of addresses of two professional referees to be provided - one of which should be your present or last employer and one other taken from the list of acceptable professional persons who should not be related/family friend as outlined in Appendix T.

If any issues arise during the processing of the application, in the first instance the applicant will be given an opportunity to provide clarification, or if appropriate to amend the application form.

When all required documents and other information have been received, the application will be determined.

In accordance with the Interpretation Act, the term ‘person’ may apply to both individuals and bodies corporate and un-incorporate. Where an application is made by one or more individuals, the provisions herein shall be applied to each individual so specified in the application. Where an application is made by a partnership or limited company, the provisions herein shall be applied to each partner or director, as the case may be, and to the company secretary.

Completed application forms (including any information in annexes required as part of the application) should be returned to the Council along with the applicable fee.

Operator’s licences are non-transferrable. In the event of the control of a licensed business passing to a different person, it will be necessary for the new owner of the business to apply for a licence.

Determination

Where issues have arisen and evidence is collated that the applicant may not be a fit and proper person to hold a licence (e.g. previous convictions) the application will be heard by the Councils Licensing Committee. The applicant will be given an opportunity to make representations, either in writing or orally at a meeting. All representations will be given full consideration prior to a decision being made in respect of the application.

The Council will consider information from other sources such as the Police, Children and Adult Safeguarding Boards, other licensing authorities and statutory/non-statutory bodies.

Where an application is granted, a licence document will be issued to the applicant, which confirms their right to operate private hire vehicles. The Council reserves the right to grant licences for a shorter duration, than that applied for, if deemed necessary in the circumstances.

Where an application is refused or a licence is suspended and/or revoked by the Council, and the operator is aggrieved by the decision there is a right of appeal to a magistrates’ court. Further details will be provided where applicable.

Fitness and Propriety of Applicants

In determining applications, the statutory test set out at section 55 of the 1976 Act is applicable, namely that the Licensing Authority:

“shall not grant a licence unless they are satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold an operator’s licence”.

The operator is responsible for all persons and vehicles that are employed, contracted or otherwise used in the course of their business.

In order to assess the suitability of an applicant, for a licence, the Council will undertake any checks and apply whatever processes it considers necessary to determine whether an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence and ensure that licences are not issued to, or used by, unsuitable people.

In assessing the suitability of an applicant or licence holder, the Licensing Authority will consider the following factors:

  • Criminality
  • Right to work
  • General conduct / standards of behaviour (including online behaviour)
  • The conduct of the applicant in making the application (e.g. whether they have acted with honesty and integrity during the application process)
  • The previous licensing history of existing / former licence holders (including honesty and integrity)

In addition, the Council may need to verify information or obtain further information from other sources such as the Police, other local authorities, statutory & non-statutory agencies and Boards such as the Children and Adult Safeguarding Boards.

All Operators are required to undertake and maintain evidence of checks that satisfy them that their drivers and/or vehicles are suitable, fit and proper to be used in the course of their business. Failure to ensure that appropriate checks are in place may have an adverse impact the operator’s licence.

Examples of checks include:

  • Ensuring vehicles are roadworthy;
  • Monitoring the conduct of drivers;
  • Appropriate complaints handling
  • Frequent relevant training offered to all staff and agents of the Operator
  • Good Record keeping of:
    • Driver hours
    • Vehicle maintenance
    • Vehicle checks
    • Training records
    • Complaints received and dealt with
  • Records of any public safety issues/concerns involving drivers and/or vehicles and the reporting of such concerns to the Council.

Convictions

Whilst Operators come into contact with the public less frequently than drivers, they still play a critical role in ensuring the safety of public. In assessing an applicant’s fitness and propriety, the Council will take into account any convictions or cautions for criminal offences when determining an application.

The effect of any convictions or cautions which are not considered to be ‘spent’ under the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act will all be considered. A serious view will be taken where there are offences relating to dishonesty, financial impropriety, violence, substance misuse, abuse of a person with a protected characteristic, safeguarding offences or misconduct under taxi and private hire legislation. The convictions policy applicable to drivers will be used as a guideline when considering offences for Operators.

It shall be the duty of the Operator to inform the Council of the following:

  1. Any convictions incurred by them or any partner, director or company secretary during the period of the licence for any offence. They must be reported to the Council in writing within 7 days
  2. Change of address, in writing within 7 days.
  3. Any other changes that could affect the licence. They must be reported to the Council in writing within 7 days.
  4. Any convictions of their employees or agents who hold Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Drivers Licences. They must be reported to the Council in writing within 7 days.

Private Hire Operators are not identified as an exempt profession under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, and therefore the provisions of that Act relating to convictions becoming spent after a certain amount of time will apply in full.

Licences

Any relevant licensing history relating to an applicant will be considered by the Council. Where appropriate, further information may be sought from any other relevant body. Consent from the applicant should not be unreasonably withheld.

Where consent is refused to obtain additional information a licence will normally be refused.

It shall be the duty of the Operator to ensure that the licences of all vehicles and drivers are valid and current.

The Council will normally issue an Operators licences for a three or five-year period. The Council has the discretion to issue licences for a shorter period, if it considers this to be necessary in the circumstances.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Person Training

All new applicants will be required to attend and pass the Nottingham Authorities Safeguarding Vulnerable Person training course prior to a licence being granted.

Current licence holders will also be required to undertake the training prior to their licence being renewed by the Council.

Failure to complete the training and pass the associated assessment may result in refusal to grant a licence, immediate suspension, revocation and/or another course of action deemed appropriate by the Council.

The training will involve the applicant/licensee attending a session at a location approved by the Licensing Authority. At the end of the session all applicants will be required to pass a test.

Should the applicant or licensee holder fail the assessment three times, in the case of a new applicant the application will be refused, in the case of a current driver the application to renew will be refused.

The fee for the course and assessment are payable by the applicant/licensee for each time they participate in the training/assessment.

If the Council consider that the Nottinghamshire Authorities Safeguarding Vulnerable person training requires updating or amending licensees will be required to re-take the training and pass the assessment once notified, in writing, upon subsequent renewals of their licences (e.g. before a new licence is granted).

Conditions

Under section 55(3) of the 1976 Act, the Council may attach such conditions to an operator’s licence as are believed necessary.

The conditions which operators are subject to are set out in Appendix U, these will be reviewed from time to time.

Failure to comply with conditions may result in enforcement action being taken.

Right to work in the UK

Please refer to section 6.15 and Appendix H of this policy.

Operators Responsibility

The Operator shall at all reasonable times provide a prompt, efficient and reliable service to members of the public and shall in particular ensure that:

  1. when a vehicle has been hired to attend at an appointed time and place the vehicle shall unless delayed or prevented by sufficient cause attend punctually;
  2. premises provided by the Operator will be within the District or approved by the Council and any waiting areas shall be kept clean, heated, ventilated, well-lit with adequate seating;
  3. any telephone facilities and dispatch equipment are maintained in an effective working order;
  4. any complaints received by the Operator that could undermine public safety shall be referred in writing to the Council, together with any action taken;
  5. all vehicles operated shall be maintained in a satisfactory and road worthy condition; and they shall ensure that any defects to vehicles are recorded and corrected as soon as possible;
  6. the Operator shall ensure, without prejudice to any other liabilities imposed under the Act, that all vehicles and drivers owned, controlled or operated in association with the Operator shall observe and perform the conditions of their licence;
  7. the Operator will monitor and record drivers working hours to ensure they are safe to transport the public. Although there is no legal framework for taxi driver’s hours, it is incumbent upon the Operator to ensure drivers do not work excessive hours and that they are fit to drive and thus will not put the public at risk.

Planning

Any premises maintained by the operator (e.g. vehicle depots, booking offices, call centres, etc) may require planning permission for the correct usage, irrespective of how many vehicles are to be operated from that location.

It is advised that applicants seek advice from the planning authority prior to making an application for a licence or commencing the use of premises under a licence, as to whether any permission will be required.

Applicants must note that both planning and licensing requirements must be satisfied prior to the commencement of any operation.

Insurance

Operators are required to have the relevant insurance policies in place:

  • Vehicle;
  • Public Liability;
  • Employers Liability (where applicable)

Copies of these documents must be produced to Officers of the Council, within 48 hours, upon request.

Trading names

Operators will be asked to declare their (proposed) trading name(s) within their application. This is the name by which the business will typically be known by customers and the public, and which will appear on advertising placed by the Operator.

While trading names are a matter for an Operator to determine, the Council will, as part of its licensing process, seek to prevent names which may offend or cause confusion from being used in connection with the provision of private hire services in the area.

In particular, applications will not be granted where the proposed trading name is the same or substantially similar, either phonetically or visually, as:

  • An expletive, derogatory or offensive term
  • A term associated with inequality
  • A term with political implications
  • A registered trademark (unless the applicant can demonstrate a right to use that mark)
  • The trading name of an existing Private Hire Operator, either licensed in the Bassetlaw area, or trading in a neighbouring area
  • The trading name used by a Bassetlaw hackney carriage proprietor, where the proprietor has previously notified the Council of the use of that name and the name has been used regularly since
  • A name which implies official recognition or endorsement by the Council or another regulatory body
  • A term in any language other than English which when translated would fall within any of the preceding categories.

Legally, only hackney carriages may display the words ‘taxi’ or ‘cab’ on their vehicles. For this reason, trading names which include the words ‘taxi’, ‘cab’, ‘hackney’ or ‘public hire’, or which are phonetically or visually similar, will not be permitted by private hire operators.

If, the operator also provides bookings to hackney carriages, a variation of the permitted trading name including one of these terms may be displayed on advertising specifically in respect of those vehicles, but not in respect of any matter relating to the wider business or to private hire vehicles.

Should concerns arise about the suitability of a trading name, in the first instance these concerns will be discussed with the applicant, who will be given an opportunity to respond or to amend his application.

Where an operator licence is revoked by the Council, the name (or a similar name) of the Private Hire company associated with that licence cannot be used by another operator until such time as six months has elapsed since the date of revocation or the date on which all appeal processes have been concluded (whichever is the longer).

Door signs and advertising

Under the council’s standard conditions applying to vehicle licences, vehicles which are operated by an operator must display that operator’s door signs in prescribed positions, at all times.

Any signs on the vehicle shall be confined to a notice fixed to one or both front door panels of the vehicle containing the following information:

  1. Name of the Operator; and
  2. Telephone number of the Operator

A sample or proof of the proposed door sign should accompany an initial application for an operator’s licence, or if this is not possible, should be supplied to Council as soon as practicable following the confirmation of grant of the licence.

A door sign that has not been approved cannot be used on a vehicle. Proofs may be supplied either on paper or electronically. Approval of a design will not be unreasonably withheld, so long as the signage, is of a suitable size, and relates to the operating company’s services only, and not to any other product or service.

No other advertising material shall be exhibited on the vehicle without the prior written consent of the Council. Any requests for such consent shall be reserved for consideration and a decision by the Councils Licensing Committee and shall relate only to the rear passenger doors and rear window of the vehicle.

Any proposed advertisements on the rear window of vehicles which shall cover the entire window shall use “Contra Vision” or similar technology to enable to driver to be able to see out of the rear window whilst allowing the advertisement to be seen from outside the vehicle. Details of the specification of the Contra Vision” or similar technology shall be included with the application to the Council.

Complaints/Records

Each Operator shall keep a record of complaints made to them, their agents or employees in relation to any aspects of the business. The records shall be maintained for the duration of the Licence and should be available at all times for inspection by Officers of the Council, a Police Officer or any other Authorised Officer.

Complaints involving any element of:

  1. the fitness of a licenced driver to drive; and/or
  2. the driving ability of any licenced driver
  3. the condition of any licenced vehicle

Must be reported to the Councils Licensing Department, in writing, within 48 hours of the complaint being made to the Operator.

Exemptions to Displaying Plates

The Council has considered requests from certain operators for their businesses or part thereof to be exempted from displaying rear vehicle plates.

Exemptions are only granted in exceptional circumstances and for specialist businesses, for example, those providing novelty vehicles such as stretch limousines and/or executive chauffeur businesses.

In all cases, requests for exemption from one or more of the licence requirements must be made in writing, setting out the exemption sought and the justification as to why this exemption may be considered appropriate, in accordance with the criteria set out in the preceding paragraph. The request must be accompanied at the time of submission (not at a later stage) by suitable and sufficient evidence to support the request.

Where exemptions are granted, the Licensing Authority reserves the right to impose additional conditions or requirements, which may stipulate an alternative way of achieving the initial requirement, or a close alternative.
All exemptions granted will be subject to periodic review, and may be withdrawn at any time and without prior notice if the Licensing Authority can no longer be satisfied that the exemption is necessary, or if there is evidence to suggest it is no longer suitable.

The Licensing Authority will not grant exemptions from the signage requirements for hackney carriages.

Duties under the Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 places specific duties on Operators to transport passengers accompanied by assistance dogs.

An Operator shall not refuse to accept a booking for a Licensed Vehicle, and commits an offence under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010;

  1. if the booking is requested by or on behalf of a disabled person or a person who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person, and
  2. the reason for the failure or refusal is that the disabled person will be accompanied by an assistance dog.

An Operator commits a further Offence under the Equality Act if:

  1. they make an additional charge for the transportation of an assistance dog who is accompanying a disabled passenger or
  2. refuses to accept a booking if the booking is made on or behalf of a disabled person or a person who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person and the reason for the failure or refusal is that the disabled person is accompanied by an assistance dog

 

Further guidance can be found at Appendix F.

Operators are under a duty to accept booking from passengers with guide, hearing and other assistance dogs without additional charge. When carrying such passengers, drivers have a duty to:

  • Convey the disabled passenger’s dog and allow it to remain under the physical control of the owner; and
  • Not to make any additional charge for doing so.

Operators are required to inform their drivers about the best practice when they are conveying disabled passengers with assistance dogs (see paragraph 6.9).

Operators should allocate booking made by passengers accompanied by assistance dogs to drivers who do not hold certifiable medical to exempt them from conveying assistance dogs.

If a driver, who is employed by an Operator or works on behalf of an Operator holds a medical exemption certificate the Operator must ensure the driver:

  • Exhibits the medical exemption certificate in the vehicle by fixing it in an easily accessible place (e.g. on the windscreen or in a prominent position on the dashboard)
  • Seeks to use a tactile medical exemption certificate so that guide dog owners are able to identify the certificate. This tactile medical certificate should be presented to the guide dog owner upon request.

Refusal of the Carriage of Wheelchairs in Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

If the Operator has licensed wheelchair accessible vehicles they have a duty placed when using that to transport:

  • a disabled person who is in a wheelchair, or
  • another person who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person who is in a wheelchair

The duties are as follows:

to accept a booking, the passenger while in the wheelchair or a person who wishes to travel with a person using a wheelchair;

not to make any additional charge for transporting a disabled person who is in a wheelchair.

The Operator shall ensure that a person employed by them or working on their behalf shall, if transporting a disabled passenger using a wheelchair ensures:

  • if the disabled passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat of their vehicle the driver carries the wheelchair;
  • driver checks before commencing the journey that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort;
  • the driver gives the passenger such “mobility assistance” as is reasonably required.

Mobility assistance includes:

  • enabling the passenger to get into or out of the vehicle;
  • if the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair;
  • to load the passenger’s luggage into or out of the vehicle; 
  • if the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair into or out of the vehicle.

When accepting bookings, the Operator, is not required to accept booking which would mean a vehicle would:

  • carry more than one person in a wheelchair, or more than one wheelchair, on any one journey, unless the vehicle is designed to do this;
  • carry a person in circumstances in which it would otherwise be lawful for the driver to refuse to carry the person.

The Council can issue a driver with a certificate exempting him/her conveying:

  • a disabled person who is in a wheelchair, or
  • another person who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person who is in a wheelchair.

If a driver, who is employed by an Operator or works on behalf of an Operator holds a medical exemption certificate the Operator must ensure the driver:

  • Exhibits the medical exemption certificate in the vehicle by fixing it in an easily accessible place (e.g. on the windscreen or in a prominent position on the dashboard)
  • Seeks to use a tactile medical exemption certificate so that guide dog owners are able to identify the certificate. This tactile medical certificate should be presented to the guide dog owner upon request.

No Smoking Requirements

Smoking in a smoke-free place is prohibited under the Health Act 2006. In this context a ‘smokefree place’ will includes a licensed Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicles as well as a Private Hire Operator’s premises which are open to the public. In the context of the Health Act 2006, smoking relates to the smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as vaporisers or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine by heating a solution of nicotine, flavouring, additives and propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine (glycerol). The devices typically consist of a  mouthpiece, battery and cartridge or tank containing the nicotine solution. The use of these devices is prohibited in Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicles well as a Private Hire Operator’s premises which are open to the public.

Private Hire Operators shall ensure that all vehicles owned by them display no-smoking signs. These signs shall refer to the prohibition of the use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

Fees

The legislation provides that fees charged to applicants can cover most of the costs to the Council in providing the licensing services. This includes the administration of applications, and ensuring compliance by licensees within the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire trade.

The fees are reviewed at the start of each calendar year and confirmed by the Council ahead of the start of each financial year i.e. 1st April. The Council, however, can review the fees at any time.

The current fees applicable are available on the website or upon request.

Communications and Information Security

Personal Information

In the course of their business, operators and/or drivers will be required to process and store various pieces of data, some of which will be personal data.

The processing and storage of this data will fall under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998, which will require certain measures to ensure the security of that data, and to prevent unauthorised breaches of the security, or usage of the information for unauthorised purposes (e.g. sending marketing information without the consent of the subjects).

Licensees are required to establish whether they need to register with the Information Commissioner’s office as a data controller.

For further information on whether registration is required, please refer to the website of the Information Commissioner’s Office, at www.ico.org.uk.

Radios

Where a Licensee maintains a radio network for use, the range and/or frequency used by the system may require a business radio licence1 from Ofcom.

Operators will be asked to confirm whether they have satisfied this requirement on making an application. For further details, please visit: http://licensing.ofcom.org.uk/radiocommunication-licences/business-radio.

CCTV

Approval in writing must be obtained from the Licensing Authority before CCTV equipment is installed and used in the vehicle.

Each system must be registered with the offices of the Data Protection Registrar with proof of registration supplied to the Licensing Authority before the system can be used.

Any material recorded on the equipment shall be used only as evidence in court proceedings or to aid investigation of a crime or to confirm or rebut complaints made against the driver.

Material captured by the system shall be accessible only to the Police, authorised Council Officers or the CCTV Operator.

The system should be of evidential quality, indicate the time and date and be retained for a period of 31 days if an incident has taken place.

The system must be operated in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. 

The CCTV Operator must ensure recommended signage and appropriate contact details are displayed in a prominent (though not obstructive) position where they can be easily read by persons both inside and outside of the vehicle. The CCTV Operator must ensure that the notices are maintained in a clean and legible condition.

Compliance and Enforcement

Enforcement

The principal purpose of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing is to protect the public and promote public safety.

The Council aims to provide the delivery of efficient, targeted and proportionate regulatory services and as such will monitor its licensees to ensure compliance.

The safety of passengers, pedestrians and other road users is paramount. Compliance assessments can be used to ensure that the driver and/or operator is a “fit and proper” person to hold a licence and/or the vehicle is safe.

The Council will investigate and respond to complaints made by the public and referrals from other agencies and bodies. Where appropriate referrals will be made to other agencies such as the Police, HM Customs & Excise Immigration, other Licensing Authorities and both Adult and / or Child safeguarding teams Officers of the Council will undertake proactive inspections and testing as either, day to day activity or as part of programmed operations.

The Council will respond to complaints made by the public and referrals from other agencies & bodies. In addition, officers will undertake proactive inspections and testing as either, day to day activity or as part of programmed operations.

Any breach of the required standards, policies and conditions may result in suspension, revocation and/or any other action deemed appropriate by the Licensing Authority e.g. warnings, penalty points, suspension, revocation and/or prosecution.

The Council has the power to suspend/revoke with immediate effect if it is necessary in the interests of public safety.

If a licensee or applicant is not happy with a decision of the Licensing Authority, an appeal may be lodged with the local Magistrates Court but this must be within 21 days being notified.

Penalty Points Scheme

The Council will operate a penalty point system of enforcement of specified minor breaches of conditions of licence or other unacceptable behaviour specified as part of this policy. The penalty point system will apply to drivers, operators and vehicles.

The scheme is used as a formalised method of issuing warnings. It is also completely transparent in that every licence holder will know what penalty points to expect for a particular breach.

Points will be issued per incident and will accumulate on a licence until they reach the “trigger level”. At this trigger level, the licence holder will be referred to the Licensing Committee for the Panel to consider whether it is appropriate for licence holder to remain licensed by the Council. The Licensing Committee may determine that the licence should be suspended or revoked, or the Panel may choose to administer some other sanction at its disposal.

The scheme is designed to deal with minor breaches and not major concerns as to a driver’s suitability. It is designed to alert the authority that a driver’s conduct over a period of time is giving rise for concern. The trigger level will normally be 12 points in a rolling 24-month period.

The Council’s Solicitor and Principal Solicitor (Licensing and Regulatory) will be authorised to operate the scheme and issue points accordingly. The penalty point scheme is outlined in Appendix S.

Suspension of licence

Where an individual fails in meeting the vehicle conditions is detected an authorised officer may take immediate action to suspend the licence and require remedial action. This requires the service of a vehicle defect notice and further use of the vehicle may be suspended until the defects have been remedied. The suspension will then not be lifted until the vehicle has undergone a further test, at the proprietor’s expense, and / or been passed as fit for use by the Council. Such defect notices will also be appropriately accompanied with a penalty point resolution.

In situations where there exists a serious risk of the safety of the public specified Officers under Council Constitution and delegated powers, are permitted to suspend the licence of a driver, vehicle or operator. A suspension of this nature will usually take effect until the day after the next meeting of the Licensing Committee to enable members to consider what further action, if any, to take.

When considering the suspension of any licence, Officers will take into account all relevant facts and circumstances including the aims and objectives of this policy and the nature of the breach.

Refusal to renew a licence

If Officers, when processing an application, feel an applicant has:

  • not provided all relevant information or documents
  • has failed to comply with any of the requirements to renew a licence
  • information/evidence has been collated (e.g. previous convictions) that would give cause to believe the applicant is not fit and proper to hold a licence

The Officer will refer the decision as to if to grant a licence to the Licensing Committee. Officers do not have the power to refuse to grant a licence, once a completed application has been submitted.

Prosecution of licence holders

The Council reserves the right to prosecute licence holders for relevant offences.

Appeals

Any notifications of enforcement actions will include information on how to appeal and to whom the appeal is made, if a right of appeal exists. 

On an appeal relating to a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Drivers Licence the magistrates court are not entitled to consider whether the licence holder should have been convicted of an immigration offence or received an immigration penalty or should have been granted by the Home Office permission to be in the UK. This is because separate rights of immigration appeal, or to have an immigration decision administratively reviewed, exist.

Service Requests and Complaints

The general public can submit service requests / complaints / concerns about licensed drivers and operators to the Council either in person, via email, via telephone or in writing.

In considering the most appropriate action to take in relation to a complaint, the credibility of both the complainant and the licence holder will be taken into account.

In addition, if any person wishes to complain about the service provided by the Council there is a Complaints procedure available on the on the Councils website.

 

 


Last Updated on Thursday, September 17, 2020