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Agenda item

Private Hire Operators' Licences

Report of the Chief Licensing Officer

Minutes:

7.1

The Chief Licensing Officer submitted a report on a review of the Council’s policy in relation to the duration of a Private Hire Operators Licence, in the light of the Deregulation Bill 2015, and containing a list of proposed, revised fees payable on application for the grant/renewal of a Private Hire Operator’s Licence.

 

 

7.2

The report made reference to the Deregulation Bill 2015, which would come into force on 1st October 2015 which, among other things, required that every Private Hire Operators Licence shall remain in force for five years or such lesser period, specified in the licence, as the district council think appropriate in the circumstances of the case.  The report also contained information on the consultation held on such a change and the financial implications of the change to the Council and, attached, as an appendix, a list of proposed fees in respect of the grant of Private Hire Operators’ Licences.

 

 

7.3

Hafeas Rehman, Sheffield Taxi Trade Association (STTA), stated that there would be long-term implications for the trade, particularly the likely adverse effects on drivers in Sheffield, if drivers from other areas can come into the City and take bookings.

 

 

7.4

Mohammed Yasim, GMB, stated that he was not happy at the proposed changes, and considered that there had been a lack of scrutiny of the impacts of the changes set out in the Deregulation Bill, by this Committee.

 

 

7.5

In response to questions from Members of the Committee, Steve Lonnia stated that the fees for Private Hire Operators’ Licences would be cheaper, following deregulation, with operators benefiting more, the longer the duration of the licence.  It was very difficult to undertake any benchmarking with other local authorities, in terms of how they were reacting to the changes in the Bill, as all the authorities were dealing with the issue at the same time.  However, benchmarking work would be undertaken as part of the fees review to be undertaken in February/March 2016.  Offering operators the chance to pay for their licences in instalments had not been considered a viable option as there was a likelihood that it could cost more in the long-term, specifically in terms of chasing applicants up if they failed to pay an instalment on time.

 

 

7.6

RESOLVED: That the Committee:-

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

(c)        approves the revised fees, as set out in Appendix ‘A’ to the report, regarding applications for Private Hire Operators’ Licences.

 

 

Supporting documents: