Decision Maker: Licensing Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Committee received a report which set out a number of items which had been requested by the Chairman to be raised at the meeting for discussion by the Committee.
The first item was the introduction of a points based penalty system for taxi drivers, which was due to be received by the Committee at its meeting on 10 March 2020. Members noted that it was widely used in the UK and that when a set number of points were reached, the driver would appear before a Sub-Committee which would review the driver’s licence. It was agreed to establish the approximate number of local authorities using the system, along with the points awarded for each offence and how long they would be held on the driver’s licence as operated by local authorities close to Woking for purposes of comparison.
The second item was Delegation of Authority for the Licensing function, as set out in the Council’s Constitution. Councillor Morales tabled a proposed amendment regarding the revocation or suspension of a licence, or refusal to grant or renew a licence, to enable any member of the Committee to require the decision to be reviewed by a Sub-Committee. It was noted that the amendment could interfere with the driver’s right of appeal to the Magistrate’s Court within a statutory period of time after the revocation or suspension letter had been sent, which Councillor Morales stated had not been the intention and if so was content to withdraw the proposal. It was felt that the implications would need to be investigated and agreed that a legal opinion be sought on the suggested amendment, together with any changes required to the wider Delegated Authority for the Licensing function, to be received by the Committee at its meeting on 10 March 2020.
The third item was Licence Applications and Renewals under existing policy, which was noted by the Committee.
The fourth item was dates for future Taxi Forums and Request from Trade for Informal meetings. It was felt that the Forums should have a much reduced number of attendees, with the taxi trade nominating representatives, and that the meetings should become informal. It was noted that surveys to the taxi trade tended to result in an extremely low response rate. An alternative option would be to only invite members of the taxi trade who had submitted a question for discussion at the Forum. Members of the Committee would also be welcome to attend.
The fifth item was Electric Vehicles. It was noted that following the petition heard at Council in October, the implementation of the Council’s vehicle specification policy was deferred until December 2020. Given the declaration of a Climate Emergency by the Council, it was proposed to consider the introduction of a hybrid or an electric vehicle specification as part of the review of the overall policy, in line with the objective of becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030. It was agreed that Members would pass any suggestions to the Portfolio Holder, Councillor Harlow, and the Senior Licensing Officer, Matthew Cobb.
The final item was an update in respect of Uber following Transport For London’s refusal to renew its licence as an operator, which was currently being appealed. The position and its effect on Woking were noted.
Report author: Matthew Cobb
Publication date: 10/02/2020
Date of decision: 21/01/2020
Decided at meeting: 21/01/2020 - Licensing Committee