Venue: Rennes Room, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter. View directions
Contact: Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Officer (Committees) Telephone 01392 265115 or email email@example.com
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2023.
The minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2023 were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chair as correct.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests that relate to business on the agenda and which have not already been included in the register of interests, before any discussion takes place on the item. Unless the interest is sensitive, you must also disclose the nature of the interest. In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, you must then leave the room and must not participate in any further discussion of the item. Councillors requiring clarification should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer prior to the day of the meeting.
No declarations of interest were made by Members.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 1976
To consider the report of the Service Lead – Environmental Health& Community Safety.
The Principal Licensing Officer advised that following a period of consultation, a report on the introduction of a Taxi Penalty Points Policy for Exeter City Council, with a number of amendments had been brought back to Members for their consideration. The Policy would bridge the gap between lesser and more serious matters and ensure a level of compliance with licensing regulations as well as raising standards, improving safety and enhancing the protection of members of the public, operators and vehicle proprietors. The ten week consultation ran from 20 February until 30 April 2023, and included meetings of the Taxi Working Group.
The following changes to the draft policy were suggested:-
· Point 31 - specifically related to evidence of any food or drink being in the vehicle and drivers needed to eat and drink whilst they were working. It was therefore proposed that Point 31 be amended to read “Eating whilst a passenger is in the vehicle”.
· Point 57 - was in relation to waiting and stopping on a double yellow line, bus stop or private land without the owner’s permission unless requested by a paying passenger present in the vehicle. The points system would penalise those drivers who had no safe alternative other than to wait on double yellow lines whilst picking a fare. It was therefore proposed that Point 57 would remain as it was written in the Policy document.
· Point 59 - related to an appeal issued by way of a Sub-Committee. Members would only hear cases and take the appropriate action where more than 12 penalty points had been accrued or where seven or more points were likely to be issued in one incident. It was therefore proposed that Point 59 be removed.
In response to questions from Members, the Service Lead - Environmental Health & Community Safety explained that the Government had published a new statutory standard for Private Hire and Hackney Carriage licensing in July 2020. Previously there was no system in place for local authorities to deal with relatively minor infringements, which would not have warranted a driver appearing before a Licensing Sub-Committee. A working group was convened to consider a system for Exeter City Council, which would also provide an evidence base to enable Members to agree an appropriate response. The Policy also offered an opportunity to educate and engage taxi drivers.
The Principal Licensing Officer responded to the following Members’ questions:-
· potential offences would need robust evidence to be provided, with a thorough investigation to be satisfied that an offence had been committed. Evidence would be drawn from a variety of sources, and include officer observations on the taxi rank and around the city, physical evidence in the form of video or from dash cams and when checks were made on vehicles when drivers were renewing their licences.
· it was anticipated that a joint operation identifying taxis operating in Exeter but licensed by other authorities would be carried out as well as liaising with colleagues and fellow licensing officers from other local authorities. ... view the full minutes text for item 19.