Consultation on changes to our Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy
We are reviewing our Taxi Policy and want your views on the proposed changes.
Following consultation on the review of the policy in 2020, our Licensing Committee accepted the proposed changes. Before it is adopted by us, we are seeking your views again on the draft policy. This further consultation is taking place to allow for further responses that may result from or reflect the effects of the Covid pandemic on the taxi trade and the travelling public.
Thedetails our requirements and expectations for licensed drivers, vehicles, and operators. Most of the policy has not changed from the previous version, however some significant changes are proposed and are detailed below.
Proposed changes to the policy
We are proposing the following changes to our policy:
- New applications (newly licensed vehicles): New applications for vehicle licences will only be accepted for vehicles manufactured to the emissions standard Euro 6 or higher.
- Renewal applications (existing vehicles and continued licensing): After the 1 January 2023, we will not accept renewal applications for licensed vehicles meeting Euro 4 or lower. After the 1 January 2024, we will not accept renewal applications for licensed vehicles meeting Euro 5 or lower.
Knowledge testing requirements will still apply, and prospective hackney carriage drives will still need to be tested on both knowledge and locality matters.
We have considered the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards and the proposals of the Institute of Licensing (IOL). Our new policy does not match the IOL standards in all respect but is in-line with the new National Standards.
We will introduce a driver improvement scheme for applicants with six points on their driving licences and for existing drivers who reach six points.
Safeguarding awareness including child sexual exploitation awareness training and disability awareness training requirements for both new and existing drivers is included in the new policy.
- Safeguarding (including child sexual exploitation awareness): Applicants will be required to attend a Safeguarding and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) awareness training course before being licenced. We consider that this training is so important that all drivers should undergo refresher training at least every three years. From 1 January 2023, all existing licensed drivers must undergo CSE awareness refresher training before their licence is renewed, if they have not already received CSE awareness training (or CSE awareness refresher training) within the previous three years.
- Disability awareness training: Applicants will be required to attend a disability awareness training course before being licenced. We consider that this training is so important that all drivers should undergo refresher training periodically, at least every three years. From 1 January 2023, all existing licensed drivers must undergo disability awareness refresher training before their licence is renewed, if they have not already received disability awareness training within the previous three years
- Contract exemption for displaying decals etc: The rules are being relaxed and rather than applying strict rules regarding the length of contracts that will enable an exemption to be applied for, considerations will be made on a case-by-case basis by us and the Licensing Committee Chair and Vice Chairs.
In accordance with the Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards, we have put in place a process that will allow for the immediate revocation of licences when the public is at serious and or imminent risk. In such cases, licences will not be suspended pending the outcome of a committee decision.
A decision to revoke a licence does not prevent the issuing of a new licence should further information be received that may change a previously made decision. A decision to suspend or revoke a licence is based on the evidence available at the time it was made, and new evidence may become available later. We will implement and operate a fast track re-application process for licence reinstatement following a revocation in such cases.
The right of appeal to a Magistrate's court also continues.
Have your say
The deadline for comments was midnight on Sunday 17 July 2022.
What happens next
Responses to the proposed changes will be reported to our Licensing Committee and a final policy document will be published.
Changes to Department of Transport Guidance (DfT)
The DfT are carrying out a national consultation on best practice guidance, and will announce their results later in 2022. They have advised us to implement the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards as soon as possible, following our consultations, as they do not expect their consultation to affect the Standards.
However, we will be in a better position to know if another consultation exercise is required when the best practice guidance is published.
Our address is:
- Durham County Council
- PO Box 617
- County Durham
- United Kingdom
- DH1 9HZ