Council and democracy > Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Penallta House, Tredomen, Ystrad Mynach. View directions

Contact: Rebecca Barrett 

Items
No. Item

1.

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors D. Cushing, K. Etheridge, Mrs D. Price, J. Simmonds (Vice-Chair) and W. Williams.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received at the commencement or during the course of the meeting.

 

3.

Medical Fitness Test For Hackney Carriage And Private Hire Vehicle Drivers. pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager presented the report, which had been prepared following a Member’s request, and outlined the process and rationale used by other authorities in Wales for applying grandfather rights to existing licensed drivers when changing from Group 1 to Group 2 medical standards.

 

Members were reminded that under current Caerphilly Council policy, the process to determine the ‘fit and proper’ person status of prospective or existing licensed taxi drivers includes a requirement to provide a Group 2 medical.  Responsibility for determining the medical standard to be applied to taxi drivers rests with the Local Authority, and current best practice advice is that this should be the DVLA Group 2 standard.  This requirement was approved by the Licensing Committee on 28th May 2015, when the Authority amended its position from a Group 1 to Group 2 medical requirement and became effective from 1st July 2015. 

 

The Licensing Manager explained that this decision was taken in order to bring the authority into line with the majority of authorities in England and Wales and Department of Transport best practice guidance.  96% of licensing authorities in England base the medical fitness assessment on the DVLA Group 2 standard.  Consequently, all new taxi drivers are required to provide a Group 2 Medical as part of the application process, whilst existing taxi drivers are required to provide a Group 2 Medical at their next medical due date.  Members were advised that Caerphilly Council currently has 465 licensed drivers, and that at the time of the report, 338 drivers (72.7%), already meet the Group 2 medical standard, with the remaining 127 drivers being subject to the Group 2 standard when their next medical due date is reached.  

 

At the previous meeting of the Taxi and General Committee on 23rd September 2019, a Member requested a report on how some authorities in Wales had issued grandfather rights to existing drivers when introducing the Group 2 standard.  By way of clarification, the Licensing Manager explained that grandfather rights are a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases.

 

During preparation of the report, the Licensing Department made a request to all authorities across Wales for information on the type of medical standard applied, and also asked if grandfather rights were given to existing drivers for those that increased their standard from Group 1 to 2.  The response indicated that 18 of the 22 authorities in Wales currently require drivers to meet the Group 2 DVLA Medical standard.  Information on whether or not grandfather rights was provided was received for 12 local authorities.  To date, Caerphilly Licensing Officers are only aware of two authorities who gave such rights to existing drivers, namely Powys and Swansea Councils.

 

It was found during the course of enquiries that many authorities increased to the Group 2 medical standard so long ago that current staff do not have any knowledge of the change process.  Both Powys and Swansea Councils  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Hackney Carriage/ Private Hire Vehicle & Private Hire Vehicle Operator Fees - 2019/20 (Verbal Update).

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager delivered a verbal update on this item and reminded Members that at the previous meeting of the Committee on 23rd September 2019, Members had taken the decision to delay determination of the vehicle and operator fees for 2019/20 until after the scheduled Brexit date of 31st October 2019, and had requested that the proposed fee increases be brought back to the Taxi and General Committee for reconsideration after that date. 

 

            The Licensing Manager gave an update on the Brexit situation, and explained that since the scheduled date had now lapsed (currently rescheduled for 31st January 2020), Members may wish to consider how to proceed in regards to determining these fee increases.

 

The Committee discussed the update and were of the view that as the decision taken at the previous meeting had been to delay determination of these fees until after Brexit, they should continue to wait until after Brexit before reconsidering the fees.

 

It was moved and seconded that determination of the vehicle and operator fees for 2019/20 be delayed until after Brexit, and by a show of hands (and in noting there was 1 against), was agreed by the majority present.

 

RESOLVED that determination of the vehicle and operator fees for 2019/20 be delayed until after Brexit.