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To approve the minutes from the last meeting.
The minutes of the meetings held on 12 November 2019 and 14 January 2020 were agreed by the members present and then signed by the Chairman.
Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors Bowden and Rogers.
Declarations of interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
There was no public participation.
N March introduced the report and explained that this draft policy was an amalgamation of the various taxi related guidance documents that are currently in place. He highlighted the key changes to the policy:
· Criminal records checks – a requirement to maintain a live check – cheaper for licence holders, and better for the Council as can carry out checks whenever necessary, rather than just on renewal as we do now. It is also intended to contact the local police directly to make enquires about applicants.
· No temporary licences – if applicants do not get their documentation sorted in time they would have to wait until this is all processed.
· No formal ‘grace period’, applicants will have to apply as new if applications not submitted in time. Completed application within the required timescales.
· Significant training requirements are suggested in regards to disability awareness and safeguarding. This is in line with other authorities around the country.
· The policy indicates that the Council will sign up to the NR3 database, which is a national database to check if applicants have been refused or revoked elsewhere.
· The level of acceptable criminality that is considered acceptable has been reduced, Page 95 of the reports show the changes, these are in line with the Institute of Licensing’s recommendations, with the exception of a small number that were already stronger in our existing policy.
· As the Council has declared a climate change emergency, a strong emissions requirement has been included in the draft policy.
· Finally, the policy makes it clear that the council will look to digitalise as many of its processes as possible, as the technology becomes available.
As this is a significant policy, 12 weeks is suggested as the length of consultation when the committee is happy with the draft.
He welcomed questions from the committee.
Councillor Allen referred to the DBS update service and asked what the legalities were, if any, in requiring drivers to register with it rather than go through the longer process. N March advised that there was no issue with requiring them to do it, we encourage them to do it especially as it is cheaper for them to do so. The guidance from the Department of Transport is supportive of having them sign up for it as a requirement and we are required to take that guidance in to account.
Councillor Allen asked if there was any consideration given to language barriers when considering late applications and taking away temporary licences. N March advised that all new drivers were required to take an English test if they didn’t have a qualification up to a certain standard so that shouldn’t be an issue. He felt that it wouldn’t be an acceptable reason as they should speak a certain level of English to be suitable to be a taxi driver.
Councillor Allen asked if we would consider granting temporary licences to those with exceptional circumstances for delays. N March said it could be considered but the committee would need to ... view the full minutes text for item 5.