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Agenda item

Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Drivers' Licences

Report of the Chief Licensing Officer



The Chief Licensing Officer submitted a report on a review of the current policy in relation to the duration of Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Drivers’ Licences, in the light of the Deregulation Bill 2015, and containing a list of proposed revised fees to be charged for new licences.




The report referred to the impact of the Deregulation Bill 2015, which would come into force on 1st October 2015, requiring that Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Drivers’ Licences granted by a district council shall remain in force for three years from the date of such licence, or for such lesser period, specified in the licence, as the district council think appropriate in the circumstances of the case.  The report contained information regarding consultation held on the change, together with details of the financial implications of such a change in the law and attached, as an appendix, a table setting out proposed fees for licence applications, to become effective from 1st October 2015.




Hafeas Rehman, Sheffield Taxi Trade Association (STTA), stated that, whilst he welcomed the report, he did have concerns with regard to the increase in the fees for licence applications.  




Mohammed Yasim, GMB, stated that he was not happy with the increase in the costs, referring to a lack of a detailed breakdown of the costs and querying why the post costs element of the licence fees were not simply double, or treble from a 12 month licence, to a 24 and 36 month licence, respectively.  He stated that there were no savings or benefits to drivers. 




Steve Lonnia, Chief Licensing Officer, stated that the post costs element of the fees represented the largest increase in the fees on the basis that the majority of additional checks and associated administrative work to be undertaken on a two/three-year licence, was carried out following the grant of the licence.  He reported that the legislation stated that local authorities could recover reasonable costs of administering a system in terms of the granting of licences, and believed the proposed fees, as set out in the report, represented a reasonable cost.  He stated, however, that the Service’s administrative costs would be monitored, and the fees would be reviewed if it was found that such administrative costs were not warranted. 




In response to questions from Members of the Committee, Mr Lonnia confirmed that a review of the fees would be undertaken, as part of the annual fees review, in February/March 2016.  He stated that whilst the Service could charge for work undertaken in connection with compliance issues, it could not, by law, charge a separate fee for undertaking enforcement work on a driver’s licence.




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)       notes the contents of the report now submitted, together with the comments now made and the responses to the questions raised;




(b)       requests the Chief Licensing Officer to make arrangements for the grant of a three-year Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licence, as from 1st October 2015, except in cases where the Licensing Sub-Committee determines otherwise, on a case by case basis;




(c)        approves the revised fees in respect of applications for Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Drivers’ Licences, as set out in Appendix ‘A’ to the report; and




(d)       agrees that no further decisions be made upon any driver policy matters until the new policy is presented to this Committee at a meeting to be held later in the year.



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