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There were no minutes available to be signed at this meeting.
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
An apology for absence was received on behalf of Councillor Mills.
Councillors Barnes and Whitman were absent.
Declarations of Interest
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(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent
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(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter (and must withdraw to the public seating area) unless they have been granted a dispensation.
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Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and prejudicial interests are defined in Part 2 of the Code of Conduct For Members
[If a member is in any doubt as to whether they have an interest which should be declared they should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer before the start of the meeting]
There were no declarations of interest.
An opportunity for members of the public to make statements and ask questions in accordance with the rules on Public Participation.
The Chairman explained that she would call each person individually to speak for 3 minutes and only those that had already registered would be allowed to speak on item 5.
Before the discussion commenced, The Chairman asked those present to avoid clapping and shouting during the representations to ensure the meeting ran efficiently and swiftly.
The Chairman asked R Hill if he had anything to add to the report.
R Hill made the following statement:
“This is a post-consultation report from proposals originally presented to the Committee last September on a variety of taxi-related matters. The consultation responses have been considered, and the proposals have been updated to take into account views expressed.
Chairman, if I may, I would like to clarify the proposals which are being put to the Committee tonight, as they are different from those originally consulted upon.
Firstly, in respect of knowledge tests, we recognise that there is clear and significant support, although not unanimous, for retention of a geographic test for all new drivers. Whereas the original consultation proposal was to remove this requirement for new private hire drivers, the officer recommendation is now to retain such a test, albeit restructured to make it shorter and easier to administer. This would mean that Dacorum’s standards for new drivers would remain higher than many of our neighbouring authorities, but would bring our requirements closer to the local average test standards, which were detailed in the September report.
The geographic test would sit alongside current requirements for language and driving skills assessments. Additionally it is proposed that a new training day, covering a range of topics, will be introduced, to ensure that new drivers have the knowledge to equip them to work as a professional driver in Dacorum.
The consultation asked whether a version of this course should be delivered to existing drivers. Numerous child sexual exploitation and equalities court cases around the country have highlighted the need for ongoing training for all professional taxi drivers. However, since the consultation began, a new legal power for the Government to issue safeguarding guidance for taxi licensing authorities has been introduced, to be commenced next week. It is therefore proposed to defer a final decision on any refresher training until that guidance has been published and considered.
Secondly, the consultation also looked at medical requirements, and on this subject responses were more mixed. Having considered the responses, it is proposed to retain the current medical frequency of every 3 years, which was generally supported, but to introduce the standardised national driver medical form.
Finally, the consultation sought opinions on what signage should be displayed on private hire vehicles. There was a clear consensus in favour of retaining recognisable external plates on these vehicles, and we therefore propose to keep our current requirements for the display of plates on private hire vehicles unchanged.
Chairman, the powers for local authorities to set their own requirements in respect of prerequisites for taxi driver licences are well established, and were reaffirmed again by the courts earlier this month in a case involving Transport for London and Uber, in connection with language skills testing. This consultation began in response to concerns that ... view the full minutes text for item 19.