Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722006, 722085 

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Substitutes

To receive details of any Member nominated to attend the meeting in place of a Member of the Committee.

Minutes:

None.

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

None.

3.

Public Representations

Up to a total of fifteen minutes can be allowed, with each speaker being allocated a maximum of five minutes, for members of the public to present a petition, ask a question or comment on any matter on the Agenda or within the remit of the Committee.

Minutes:

None.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Of the meeting held on 12th March 2020 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 12th March 2020

be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

5.

Hackney Carriage Unmet Demand Survey 2020 - Update pdf icon PDF 87 KB

That Members note the contents of the report.

Minutes:

The Senior Practitioner – Licensing presented to the Committee an update report on the Hackney Carriage Unmet Demand Survey 2020.

 

In summary, the Council’s current policy in relation to hackney carriage vehicles is to limit the number licences to 231. The Council must review this policy every three years, which meant the policy was due for review at the end of 2019. A procurement exercise was undertaken by Worcestershire Regulatory Services on behalf of the Council in November 2019 to source a company able to perform the Hackney Carriage unmet demand survey, however the exercise was unsuccessful. Officers were set to undergo another procurement exercise in 2020 however due to COVID-19, Officers felt it was not an appropriate or effective time to carry out a survey. It is anticipated that the planned lifting of lockdown restrictions will provide the opportunity to complete another procurement exercise and conduct the required unmet demand survey, with the view to report findings of the survey back to the Committee at the December meeting.

 

Officers responded to Members’ questions relating to the impact of COVID-19 on self-employed drivers. Officers informed Members that WRS have acted as a signposting service for many drivers seeking government help during the pandemic.

 

The Council’s Solicitor clarified that the Council had begun the process of conducting the policy review within the required time period and that the current situation has meant conducting an effective survey was beyond control of Officers at present.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the report.

6.

An Update on the Provision of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in Licensed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles pdf icon PDF 92 KB

That Members note the contents of the report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Practitioner –Licensing presented to the Committee an update on the provision of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in licensed Hackney Carriage and private hire vehicles.

 

The Licensing and Environmental Health Committee established a working group in 2018 for matters concerning hackney carriage and private hire vehicles. The group resolved to revisit the matter of CCTV once further statutory guidance had been published.

 

An extract of draft guidance from the Department for Transport relating to the installation of CCTV in licensed vehicles was attached as appendix to the report, however Officers stressed that the guidance is subject to change prior to publication. Further guidance from the Local Government Association on “Developing an approach to mandatory CCTV in taxis and PHVs” was also attached as an appendix. Safeguarding guidance has yet to be published due to the COVID-19, Officers will provide full details to the Committee when the guidance becomes available.

 

The Senior Practitioner – Licensing highlighted that the guidance available at present clarifies that if the Council chooses to mandate CCTV for all it’s licensed vehicles, the Council will be responsible for all the data collected.

 

Members were pleased with the guidance provided and were in agreement further time and consideration was required before any more progress could be made on the matter.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the report.

7.

An Update on Progress with the outcomes of the National Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing pdf icon PDF 104 KB

That Members note the update on the Government Response to the Report of the Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee were provided with an update on progress with the outcomes of the National Task and Finish Group on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing by the Senior Practitioner – Licensing.

 

The Government formed a National Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing to gather evidence relating to issues around Licensing Authority powers, as set out in legislation and guidance, and make recommendations to Government. A report submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport made 34 recommendations, although many of these recommendations were at national level.

 

The report presented to the Committee summarised the main recommendations from the national working group’s report relevant to local authorities, the Government’s response and how these points compare with the Council’s current practices.

 

Members thanked the Senior Officer – Licensing for compiling the report and commented that as a licensing authority Worcester City Council presented well against the recommendations as well as outlining areas for improvement in the future.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the report.

8.

Street Amenity Licensing: Covid Implications

Report to follow.

Minutes:

Item withdrawn from the Agenda.

9.

Licensing and Environmental Health Committee Forward Plan 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To note the Committee’s Forward Plan 2020-21.

Minutes:

The Committee noted the Forward Plan 2020-2021.

10.

Any Other Business

Which in the opinion of the Chairman is of sufficient urgency as to warrant consideration.

Minutes:

Licensing and Environmental Health enforcement operations during COVID-19 pandemic

 

The Corporate Director – Homes and Communities summarised actions taken by Worcestershire Regulatory Services since the commencement of Government Lockdown in March 2020.

 

WRS have been heavily involved in multi-agency action from the start of the pandemic, firstly carrying out inspections where necessary but also providing support and access to national and local help available to business during this time. WRS have also been supporting business attempting to responsibly reopen and have supported Worcestershire County Council with track and trace.

 

Members thanked WRS and all staff working together during this difficult time.