Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

50.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bhatti, Burbage, Cox, Hill and Hilton. Councillor Sharp was going to be attending later.

51.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST pdf icon PDF 217 KB

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

52.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To confirm the Part I Minutes of the meeting held on 10 April 2018.

Minutes:

The Panel Unanimously Agreed that the minutes of the last meeting on 10 April 2018 were a true and accurate record.

53.

THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To consider the above report.

Minutes:

David Scott introduced the report and informed the Panel of both recommendations.

 

Councillor Hunt read out the email sent from Lisa Hughes as Vice Chairman for the Access Advisory Forum:

 

Dear Councillor Hunt

It was good to see you at Tuesday’s Planning Inspector’s Hearings and I thought the lady representing the Hurley and Walthams neighbourhood planning group got the salient points across very well.

As you and I discovered, the Local Access Forum and Licensing Panel have a scheduling clash next Tuesday evening. I mentioned to you that I had wanted to sit in the Public Gallery at the Licensing Panel (in my role as vice-chair of the Access Advisory Forum) as one of the agenda items concerns Taxis and People with Disabilities.

The background

Some parts of the Equality Act 2010 did not come into effect until 6th April 2017. The clauses relate to disabled people being treated fairly by taxi/PHV drivers and companies – not refusing a fare because of the passenger’s disability, not charging more to a wheelchair user, not refusing to carry a guide dog unless the driver has a valid medical exemption certificate.

For these clauses to come into effect local licensing authorities needed to change their taxi / PHV licensing agreements, which required some preliminary activities. Statutory guidance was produced by central government well before April 2017.

We discovered in January 2018 that RBWM had not made the necessary change to Taxi/ PHV licence agreements and so wrote to the RBWM licensing team on 1st Feb 2018. It took some chasing to get any response and we were told it would be raised at the March 2018 Licensing Panel. It then took more chasing to find out the panel’s response and how changes would be progressed - we were dismayed that there was no timescale for those changes

At the same time we came across a Freedom of Information response from RBWM, dated 21 Apr 2017, about this very matter – the council indicated that licensing changes would be completed by June 2017.

More than 15 months after they could have been legally protected, wheelchair users in the borough are still being charged more than other people and we have also been told about occasions where taxi drivers see that the hirer is using a wheelchair and drive off.

We really hope not only that the Licensing Panel will support the necessary changes to bring these clauses into effect for a vulnerable and disadvantaged group of residents, but also that the changes will be made swiftly.

Best regards

 

Lisa Hughes

 

vice-chair RBWM Access Advisory Forum

member RBWM Local Access Forum

 

Greg Nelson informed the Panel that it was the intention of the Licensing Team to enforce this last year but due to operational reasons it wasn’t taken forward but has been now. The delay was regretted but wanted to move forward now.

 

The timetable of the implementation was discussed and the Panel felt that it should be implemented sooner. Greg Nelson informed the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

THE USE AND EFFECTIVENESS OF PENALTY POINTS pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To Consider the above report.

Minutes:

Greg Nelson  introduced the report. The report consisted of two recommendations that the Panel were to discuss. Greg Nelson informed the Panel that the trial had been very effective and penalty points had not been issued twice to the same driver. Drivers had the right to appeal against the points and currently the appeal would be heard by a panel of three members. To date, there have been two appeals and on both occasions, the appellants did not attend, the appeals were dismissed and the points were upheld. The team see ked legal advice and were informed that the driver would have a right to appeal, however, there was no legal statement on what stance the appeal panel could take. Greg Nelson asked the Panel if we should keep it as it was now or delegate to a senior officer in the council to take the decision.

 

Councillor Sharpe discussed the cost to the community and the cost to the council to implement. Councillor Sharpe highlighted that the penalty was small. Councillor Sharpe asked the Panel should the council spend all the money and time or move to a more efficient way or working. Councillor Sharpe was concerned that we were dealing with our own drivers but there was no guarantee the Uber was dealing with their drivers. Greg Nelson Informed the Panel that we passed on all information to Uber. Uber had been very helpful to us. Uber suspended access to the app so the driver could not work until the matter was investigated. Councillor Sharpe suggested we move to the new system unless the driver has twelve points, then it should be heard by a Panel.

 

Councillor Majeed proposed that we should continue as we were and a panel should hear all appeals or give the driver the choice. Councillor Wilson seconded the suggestion.

 

A named vote was carried out. Six members (Alexander, Richards, Bowden, Luxton, Sharpe and Hunt) voted against the motion that was proposed by Councillor Majeed and Councillor Majeed and Wilson both voted in favour for the motion.

 

The Panel Unanimously Agreed that:

 

i) Members agreed that the penalty point infringements introduced in April 2017 for a one year trial period are added to the respective hackney carriage and private hire policies permanently.

 

ii) Members agreed to consider amending the RBWM Hackney Carriage Driver and Vehicle Policy & Conditions and the RBWM Private Hire Driver and Vehicle Policy & Conditions respectively such that appeals against the imposition of penalty points are heard by a Senior Officer of RBWM instead of an Appeals Panel made up of elected Members from the Licensing Panel.

 

iii) Members agreed to delegate the implementation of the above point ii to the Head of Service and the Lead Member for Environmental Services (including Parking and Flooding).

 

55.

SAFEGUARDING TRAINING FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS AND OPERATORS pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To Consider the above report.

Minutes:

Greg Nelson presented the report on Safeguarding Training for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers and Operators.

 

The recommended option was to choose Personnel Check Ltd as this was a high quality ‘off the shelf’ product which was used by a number of Berkshire LAs and other LAs around the country.

 

Greg Nelson informed the Panel that the trade had already been consulted and the report was mindful of the responses.

 

Uber drivers were discussed and the Panel wanted to know if they were trained for safeguarding. There were no requirements of the safeguarding training for Uber drivers, the PCO had its own rules. The Panel felt that it should be publicised to our residents, once the training was complete that our drivers were trained for the protection of our residents and drivers.

 

ACTION: A letter to be sent to Uber from the Lead Member of Environmental Services advising them of what the borough was doing with regards to Safeguarding training.

 

Councillor Majeed highlighted the need of the training being provided in different languages. Greg Nelson confirmed that this would be addressed by Personal Checks Ltd.

 

The Panel Unanimously Agreed the recommendations in the report.

56.

DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

Panel Members to note dates of future meetings:

 

·         2 October 2018

·         8 January 2019

·         2 April 2019

Minutes:

Members noted the next meeting of the Licensing Panel would be on 2 October 2018.

57.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 - EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC

To consider passing the following resolution:-

 

“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the

public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion

takes place on item 7 on the grounds that it involves the likely

disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1-7 of part I

of Schedule 12A of the Act"

58.

PART II MINUTES

To confirm the Part II Minutes of the meeting held on 10 April 2018.

59.

SAFEGUARDING TRAINING FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS AND OPERATORS - APPENDIX D

To Consider the above report.