Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy

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1 Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy (Private Hire School and Community Services Licensing is dealt with in a separate policy) TXD059 v4 02/16

2 CONTENTS PAGE General Licensing Policy Policy in relation to Dual Driver and Private Hire Driver Licences Policy in relation to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licences Roof signs and conditions Policy in relation to Private Hire Operator Licences Policy in relation to Enforcement Action Appendix One Convictions Policy: Driver Licence Appendix Two Convictions Policy: Operator Licence Appendix Three Penalty Point Scheme Dual Driver and Private Hire Driver Licence Conditions 27 Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence Conditions 30 Private Hire Vehicle Licence Conditions 34 Private Hire Operator Licence Conditions 38 TXD059 v4 02/16 2

3 LICENSING POLICY This policy contains the requirements that will need to be met before any Dual or Private Hire Driver Licence, Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle Licence or Private Hire Operator licence is issued by Wokingham Borough Council. If an applicant will only be carrying out work under a contract issued by the Wokingham Borough Council s Corporate Transport Services, they will require only a Private Hire School and Community Services Licence. This is dealt with in a separate policy. Each application will be considered on its own merits, taking into account all the relevant circumstances and legislation, but shall be subject to the following policies. A licence will not be issued until the appropriate fee is paid. Where fees are paid by cheque that is subsequently dishonoured, enforcement action may be taken. Please Note It is an offence to carry out Private Hire or Hackney Carriage work without the valid licences. Applicants will not be able to start working whilst their application is being processed, they must wait until the licences have actually been granted (unless it is a renewal application and their existing licences are still in effect). 1.0 Policy in relation to Dual Driver and Private Hire Driver Licences 1.1 General Wokingham Borough Council will accept applications from those who are licensed in a similar capacity with another local authority. However, no driver licence will be issued until the licence held with the other local authority has been surrendered All applicants, aside from those who are renewing their licence, will have three calendar months from the initial interview to complete the application process. After this time any incomplete application may be closed and any subsequent application will be treated as a fresh application. NB This time limit can be extended in exceptional circumstances, with the prior approval of an authorised officer of Wokingham Borough Council The applicant will be given three attempts to pass each of the required tests to become a licensed driver. If they have not passed after the third attempt no new application will be accepted for a period of three calendar months from the date of the last test. If a new application is then made after the three months, the applicant will be required to pass all the tests required by Wokingham Borough Council at the time of the new application. TXD059 v4 02/16 3

4 1.1.4 An application for the renewal of a licence must be made prior to the expiry of the licence or it will be treated as a new application. The licence holder can apply in writing to Wokingham Borough Council to request permission for an application, made after the expiry of the licence, to be treated as a renewal application. However permission will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of Wokingham Borough Council. Driving as a Private Hire or Hackney Carriage driver without a valid Private Hire or Dual Driver licence is an offence Dual Driver Licence holders will be required to comply with the current Wokingham Borough Council Hackney Carriage Byelaws in addition to the conditions detailed in this policy. A copy of these byelaws can be obtained from the Licensing Team at Wokingham Borough Council Where a licence is found to have been obtained using false or incomplete information enforcement action may be taken. 1.2 Fitness and Propriety Before Wokingham Borough Council will grant or renew a driver licence, the applicant or licence holder must satisfy the following requirements; Identity To prove their identity, all applicants must provide an authenticated form of photographic identification (for example photographic driving licence or national identification card). Applicants from outside the EU must provide; i. a passport with a valid stamp from the Home Office to say that they have leave to remain in the Country indefinitely or ii. a passport with a valid UK visa, which allows the holder to work as a Private Hire or Hackney Carriage driver (student visas will not be accepted), and which has at least six calendar months remaining at the time of application. A licence will only be granted until the expiry of the visa and will only be renewed or extended with the production of the passport and another valid visa issued by the Home Office. Wokingham Borough Council reserves the right to verify, at any time, a licence holder s entitlement to remain in the UK. We will not accept letters issued by the Home Office when a visa application is pending Disclosure & Barring Service Checks (DBS) Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Wokingham Borough Council will check with the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) for the existence and content of any criminal record held in the name of an applicant. Information received from the DBS will be kept in strict confidence while the licensing process takes its course and will be retained for no longer than is necessary. TXD059 v4 02/16 4

5 All applicants, aside from those who are renewing their licence, will be required to have an enhanced DBS check. Existing driver licence holders will be subject to an enhanced DBS check every 3 years. If another local authority has carried out a DBS check, Wokingham Borough Council will only accept this if it is an enhanced check and it is less than three calendar months old at the date of application. Certificate of Good Conduct Those who have not been continuously resident in the United Kingdom for the previous five years must also provide a Certificate of Good Conduct, as the DBS checks do not cover convictions in countries outside the United Kingdom. The applicant should obtain this from the appropriate Embassy or High Commission and it must be in English. If this cannot be provided then the application will be refused. NB - Nothing in this policy shall preclude a licence holder from being required to undergo a further DBS check at anytime as directed by an authorised officer of Wokingham Borough Council Previous Convictions In relation to the consideration of previous convictions and cautions recorded against applicants and licence holders, Wokingham Borough Council has adopted the policy set out in Appendix One Medical Examination Each applicant, on first application and at the intervals indicated below, must complete a satisfactory medical examination by the applicants own GP (GP within their own practice), or Occupational Health doctor. Once a licence has been granted, medical examinations will be required at the following intervals; AGE FREQUENCY First Licensing And thereafter from age years to 65 years Every 5 years 65 years + Annually A medical examination may be required at any other time, as determined by the GP or occupational health doctor or as requested by an officer authorised by Wokingham Borough Council Driving Licence Applicants must have held a full European Union or other DVLA approved driving licence for at least 12 months prior to application (this excludes the holding of a provisional licence). This licence is to be submitted with the application form (including renewal applications) and will be checked with the DVLA. Any applicant, who does not hold a DVLA licence, will be required to obtain a D58 paper counterpart from the DVLA, before a licence will be granted. TXD059 v4 02/16 5

6 The address on the DVLA licence must be consistent with the addresses on any other paperwork submitted with the application. We may carry out spot checks on a random basis to ascertain any changes to the status of the DVLA licence Driving Standards Agency All applicants, aside from those who are renewing their licence, are required to have passed a Driving Standards Agency (DSA) Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Test. Any applicant who will be driving a vehicle, which has been adapted or manufactured for disabled access, will also need to have passed the DSA Ramp Test, before a driver licence is issued. If an existing driver is subject to enforcement action in relation to their driving, more than once within a period of 12 calendar months, including road traffic convictions, they will be required to undertake the DSA Hackney Carriage / Private Hire Test within three calendar months. Failure to pass the test within this time may result in the suspension of their licence until they have passed Knowledge of Area All applicants are expected to have a good knowledge of Wokingham Borough and the surrounding area. They will be required to pass a test on this knowledge prior to a licence being issued. All applicants, aside from those who are renewing their licence, will be tested on this knowledge Highway Code and Relevant Legislation All Applicants are expected to have a good knowledge of the Highway Code and the relevant provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and the Town and Police Clauses Act All applicants, aside from those who are renewing their licence, will be required to pass a test on this knowledge Training in the Assistance of Disabled Persons All applicants must be able to show that they have undergone training in the assistance of disabled persons, to a standard acceptable to Wokingham Borough Council. Current examples of acceptable standards are the Passenger Assistant Training Scheme (PATS) or Wokingham Borough Council s in-house Disability Awareness Training References All applicants, aside from those who are renewing their licence, are required to produce, as evidence of good character, the names of two persons of suitable standing from whom references can be requested. The referees must have known the applicant, personally or professionally, for at least two years. These names must be submitted with the application form. References from relatives and/or existing drivers or operators licensed with Wokingham Borough Council will not be accepted. TXD059 v4 02/16 6

7 2.0 Policy in relation to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licences 2.1 General Wokingham Borough Council will accept applications in relation to vehicles, which are licensed in a similar capacity with another local authority. However, no vehicle licence will be issued until the licence held with the other local authority has been surrendered An application for the renewal of a licence must be made prior to the expiry of the licence or it will be treated as a new application. The licence holder can apply in writing to Wokingham Borough Council to request permission for an application, made after the expiry of the licence, to be treated as a renewal application. However permission will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of Wokingham Borough Council. Driving a vehicle, as a Private Hire or Hackney Carriage vehicle, when it does not have a valid Private Hire or Hackney Carriage vehicle licence is an offence Where a licence is found to have been obtained using false or incomplete information enforcement action may be taken. 2.2 Vehicle Standards No vehicle shall be licensed unless it; i. has undertaken and passed the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Test, at a Wokingham Borough Council nominated garage. ii. is right hand drive, except where the vehicle is a stretch limousine iii. iv. can carry a minimum of four passengers (excluding the driver) has a minimum of four doors for driver and passenger access and egress. v. has an engine capacity of 1599cc or above vi. provides a clear seat width of at least 16 inches for each passenger vii. has a seat depth of at least 17.5 inches viii. has a knee space of at least 21.5 inches (measured from the rear of the seat in front to the front of seat) ix. has a rear height of at least 30 inches (top of the seat to the roof; measured from the point of contact between the seat cushion and the back of the seat). x. has no more than 8 passenger seats (in addition to the driver s seat). xi. has provision for every passenger to wear a seat belt. A sign must be displayed inside the vehicle requiring seat belts to be worn. TXD059 v4 02/16 7

8 2.2.2 Vehicles with tinted windows will be considered, however, the glass on the driver s compartment must satisfy the standards contained in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations In addition to the requirements in paragraphs and 2.2.2, all vehicles must conform to the standards, as prescribed in the Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle; Manual of Inspection Standards. A copy of these standards can be obtained from Wokingham Borough Council At the discretion of Wokingham Borough Council, vehicles that have been involved in an accident, which have required repair, may have to pass a further inspection at one of our nominated testing stations. 2.4 Additional Requirements for Stretch Limousines The term stretch limousine in this policy will be taken to mean any lengthened saloon vehicle that has been modified with an additional body section, by a manufacturer No passenger can be carried in the front of a left hand drive vehicle The stretch limousine must be fitted with tyres suitable to its size and weight Passengers must be able to communicate with the driver at all times; there cannot be a permanent screen in place between the driver s compartment and the passengers The age restrictions detailed in paragraph 2.5 below do not apply to stretch limousines. However, stretch limousines will be subject to a Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Test every six calendar months The seating in the vehicle must all face either forwards or backwards. 2.4 Insurance Evidence of valid hire and reward insurance must be produced; this must be in the form of original documents, photocopies will not be accepted. 2.5 Age Vehicles up to five years old from the first date of registration will be subject to an annual inspection at one of Wokingham Borough Council s nominated testing stations. Where vehicles are five years or older, from the date of first registration, they will be subject to an inspection every six calendar months. If an inspection is not carried out in the month that it is due, the licence will be suspended until such a test has been passed. TXD059 v4 02/16 8

9 2.5.2 When making a Private Hire vehicle licence application, a vehicle must be less than five years old from the date of first registration, unless the application is for the renewal of a licence. No Private Hire vehicle will be licensed if it is eight years old or older, from the date of first registration When making a Hackney Carriage vehicle licence application, a vehicle must be less than five years old from the date of first registration, unless the application is for the renewal of a licence. No Hackney Carriage vehicle licence will be licensed for a vehicle that exceeds 15 years old, from the date of first registration Please note that the age restrictions detailed in paragraphs and above do not apply to stretch limousines, vintage cars or novelty vehicles (for example a fire engine), which have been adapted to become Private Hire or Hackney Carriage Vehicles. 2.6 Advertising Advertising on the outside of any licensed vehicle is restricted to the name and telephone number of the owner or operator of the Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle, unless written permission is obtained from Wokingham Borough Council however: External and internal advertising will be permitted on Hackney Carriage vehicles subject to the prior written approval of Wokingham Borough Council and in line with the specified advertising criteria be agreed 2.7 Temporary Replacement Vehicles An application for a temporary replacement vehicle must be made in writing to Wokingham Borough Council. It will only be considered where the licensed vehicle has been involved in an accident or is otherwise incapacitated, and then only at the discretion of Wokingham Borough Council in accordance with this policy. Any temporary replacement vehicles must be able to satisfy the criteria of a licensed vehicle (as detailed in this part of this policy). 2.8 Single Vehicle Approval Where a vehicle has been modified from the manufacturer s specification (in particular stretch limousines and vehicles adapted for disabled access) the applicant will be required to produce a Single Vehicle Approval in order to confirm that the vehicle is still compliant with the current safety and environmental standards. In order to apply for SVA approval you need to complete a form, which can be collected from a VOSA office or local DVLA offices. TXD059 v4 02/16 9

10 2.9 Disabled Access Vehicle Standards A Hackney Carriage Vehicle licence will not be issued (other than by way of renewal) to any vehicle, unless it is accessible for disabled persons. All vehicles subject to a Hackney Carriage Vehicle application and those Private Hire Vehicles which have been adapted or manufactured for disabled access must comply with the following standards in addition to those detailed in the paragraphs above; i. The vehicle must be able to accommodate a fully grown adult passenger whilst seated in their wheelchair (i.e. there must be adequate headroom for the passenger). ii. Seats should not have to be removed to in order to accommodate a wheelchair. iii. The ramp(s) must be carried within the vehicle at all times. There should be suitable means of securing the ramp(s) safely away, this should include an adequate locking device to ensure that the ramp(s) do not slip or tilt when they are used. iv. There must be a means of securing both the wheelchair and its occupant when the vehicle is in motion. v. Seats must be suitable to allow all persons, in particular the elderly and disabled, easy access into and egress out of the vehicle. Additional handholds/grab rails and a portable step should be provided if necessary Vehicle Type Approval Where a vehicle has been manufactured for disabled access, the applicant will need to provide a VCA certificate confirming that the vehicle has been built in compliance with British Safety and Environmental Standards. THE DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT 1995 will, when Part V of the Act is in full force, require all hackney carriage vehicles to be accessible by those with a disability. A technical specification with regard to the dimensions and standards required of such a vehicle may be introduced by the Department of Transport under the Act at some time in the future. TXD059 v4 02/16 10

11 Roof Signs Conditions introduced on 6 November 2015 A single roof sign shall be fitted to each taxi and meet the following conditions and specification: Roof signs shall be kept clean and in good repair and at all times be securely mounted on the vehicle roof, with the main face showing the Council logo facing forward. The sign is to be positioned forward of the pillar between the front and rear doors, wherever possible. Vehicles with glass or fibreglass roofs or similar must attach the sign at the foremost point on the roof, where suitable magnetic adhesion is possible. The proprietor shall provide a roof sign to the following specification: (unless the vehicle is a London Cab or other similar vehicle which was manufactured as a taxi and produced with a built in sign). The roof sign will have dimensions of: 60.5 centimetres long, 17.5 centimetres wide at the middle point. 11 centimetres high at the rear middle point and 3 centimetres high at the front middle point. These dimensions will not include any raised lip or edging. Reference should also be made to any illustrative art work, or model signs, which can be provided by Wokingham Borough Council if required. The roof sign shall be white in background colour. When lit, the sign must show red to the rear but not red to the front and sides. The roof sign must be connected to the taximeter to be automatically controlled. The roof sign must be lit when the taximeter is not active and not lit when the taximeter is in use. The front face of the roof sign shall show the words TAXI, LICENSED BY followed by the Wokingham Borough Council Corporate Logo. The licence number shall be shown, within a circle, on both sides of this wording. TAXI shall be in capitals, in Ariel font and approximately 2.5 inches (65mm) in height. The circles shall be approximately 5.5 inches (135mm) in diameter and have the number cut out, 2.5 inches (45mm) high in Ariel font. The near side of the sign will show a wheelchair logo in white on a blue background. The wheelchair logo will be in reflex blue. The logo shall be 4 inches (100mm) square. The words and the circles will be in the green colour code is 125/173/131. TXD059 v4 02/16 11

12 Vehicles with raised roofs which are licensed as wheelchair accessible taxis shall have a roof sign of the same dimensions and design The rear face of the roof sign on all vehicles shall show the licence number (once only) to the same specifications as on the front. The number may be positioned anywhere on the rear face at the discretion of the licensee. The licensee may use the remaining space for any reasonable use. Examples of reasonable use include the word TAXI, the name of the proprietor and the telephone number of the proprietor. This text does not have to be green, (although the number does). All inappropriate or unauthorised signage will be required to be removed. It may be necessary for some wheelchair accessible taxis to display the sign on the front bulkhead of the vehicle due to height restrictions. Other than this variation, there shall be no other variations from the specification. In the event of the Council s Licensing Officers not being satisfied that a roof sign meets the specification, the conditions of the vehicle licence will be deemed to have been breached and the proprietor requested to remedy the defect. The licence holder of the vehicle may then be subject to a penalty within any point s scheme should one be in existence at the time and if not suitably rectified may have the sanction of law imposed. Vehicles which are purchased as custom constructed taxis that have a sign provided by the manufacturer, which is not a sign fitted into the fabric of the vehicle, must comply with the above specification. TXD059 v4 02/16 12

13 2.10 Dispensation Certificates Where the vehicle is used only for work carried out under a contract (i.e. 100% chauffeur work), the Council may issue a certificate precluding the need for the vehicle to display the external licence plate. Although the external plate will still need to be carried in the vehicle and the identification cards, provided by Wokingham Borough Council, will still need to be displayed in the front and rear windscreen of the vehicle. The dispensation will only apply for the duration of the current licence. NB Dispensation will not be granted unless the applicant can produce satisfactory evidence that they only carry out work under a contract. TXD059 v4 02/16 13

14 3.0 Policy in relation to Private Hire Operator Licences 3.1 General Anyone who in the course of business makes provision for the invitation or acceptance of bookings for a private hire journey is regarded as an Operator and must hold a Private Hire operator licence, unless they are covered by an exemption within the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act A private hire journey is one in which the services of any vehicle, with fewer than 9 passenger seats, is provided for hire with the services of a driver for the purposes of carrying passengers An application for the renewal of a licence must be made prior to the expiry of the licence or it will be treated as a new application. The licence holder can apply in writing to Wokingham Borough Council to request permission for an application, made after the expiry of the licence, to be treated as a renewal application. However permission will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of Wokingham Borough Council. Operating Private Hire Drivers and Vehicles without a valid licence is an offence Where a licence is found to have been obtained using false or incomplete information enforcement action may be taken. 3.2 Operator s Base Anyone who is based in more than one area will be required to hold an operator licence with the local authority in each of those areas An operator who has more than one operating base within Wokingham Borough does not require a separate licence for each premises, but must submit a list to Wokingham Borough Council containing all the addresses from which they run their business Planning permission or a Certificate of Lawful Use for the use or change of use of premises, whether home or commercial, should be sought from Wokingham Borough Council s Development Control Services if necessary If the premises or property are rented or leased, then the applicant must provide written authority from the landlord confirming that a business may operate from the address, at the time of application. 3.3 Fitness and Propriety Before Wokingham Borough Council will grant or renew an operator licence, the applicant or licence holder must satisfy the following requirements; TXD059 v4 02/16 14

15 3.3.1 Identity To prove their identity, all applicants must provide an authenticated form of photographic identification (for example photographic driving licence or national identification card). Applicants from outside the EU must provide; i. a passport with a valid stamp from the Home Office to say that they have leave to remain in the Country indefinitely or ii. a passport with a valid UK visa, which allows the holder to work as a Private Hire Operator (student visas will not be accepted) and which has at least six calendar months remaining at the time of application. A licence will only be granted until the expiry of the visa and will only be renewed or extended with the production of the passport and another valid visa issued by the Home Office. Wokingham Borough Council reserves the right to verify, at any time, a Licence Holder s entitlement to remain in the UK. We will not accept letters issued by the Home Office when a visa application is pending Disclosure & Barring Service Checks Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Wokingham Borough Council will check with the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) for the existence and content of any criminal record held in the name of an applicant. Information received from the DBS will be kept in strict confidence while the licensing process takes its course and will be retained for no longer than is necessary. All applicants, aside from those who are renewing their licence, will be required to have an enhanced DBS check. Existing operator licence holders will be subject to an enhanced DBS check every 3 years. If another local authority has carried out a DBS check, Wokingham Borough Council will only accept this if it is an enhanced check and it is less than three calendar months old at the date of application. Certificate of Good Conduct Those who have not been continuously resident in the United Kingdom for the previous five years must also provide a Certificate of Good Conduct, as the DBS checks do not cover convictions in countries outside the United Kingdom. The applicant should obtain this from the appropriate Embassy or High Commission and it must be in English. If this cannot be provided then the application will be refused. NB - Nothing in this policy shall preclude a licence holder from being required to undergo a further DBS check at anytime as directed by an authorised officer of Wokingham Borough Council. TXD059 v4 02/16 15

16 3.3.3 Previous Convictions In relation to the consideration of previous convictions and cautions recorded against applicants and licence holders, Wokingham Borough Council has adopted the policy set out in Appendix Two. 3.4 Drivers and Vehicles The operator must ensure that any driver or vehicle operated or employed by them holds a correct and current licence issued by Wokingham Borough Council An application for a temporary replacement vehicle must be made in writing to Wokingham Borough Council. It will only be considered where the licensed vehicle has been involved in an accident or is otherwise incapacitated, and then only at the discretion of Wokingham Borough Council, in accordance with this policy. Any temporary replacement vehicles must be able to satisfy the criteria of a licensed vehicle (as detailed in section two of this policy) At the discretion of Wokingham Borough Council, vehicles that have been involved in an accident, which have required repair, may have to undergo a further inspection at one of our nominated testing stations. 4.0 Enforcement Action 4.1 General This policy will be considered in conjunction with the Corporate Services Enforcement Policy Wokingham Borough Council s policy is to ensure that all licence holders carry out their trade in accordance with both the relevant law and the conditions attached to their licences. 4.2 Enforcement Options Wokingham Borough Council aims to maintain a consistent approach when making all decisions in relation to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing In order to maintain a consistent approach, this policy is always considered, in addition to the Council s Public Protection Enforcement Policy, and followed where appropriate. In reaching any decision Wokingham Borough Council will also have regard to the following; i. the seriousness of any offences ii. the licence holder s past history iii. the consequences of non-compliance iv. likely effectiveness of the various enforcement options v. danger to the public TXD059 v4 02/16 16

17 4.2.3 Once Wokingham Borough Council has considered all the evidence and relevant information, the following options will be considered; 4.3 Appeals i. Take no action ii. Take informal action (e.g. warning letter, verbal caution) iii. Impose penalty points on the licence (see Appendix Three) iv. Statutory Notices v. Suspend the licence vi. Revoke the licence vii. Prosecute If a licence application or renewal is refused or enforcement action is taken, the applicant or licence holder will be informed in writing As part of Wokingham Borough Council s internal processes applicants and licence holders may appeal against a decision taken by a Wokingham Borough Council officer, in respect of a licence application, revocation, suspension or any other enforcement action. Such an appeal will be heard by an Appeal Panel, made up of elected members who will consider each case on its own merits. If an internal appeal is not made within 21 days of the officer s decision letter then a further letter will be sent out confirming that the officer s decision will stand. Where permitted by statute the applicant or licence holder will then be entitled to make an appeal to the Magistrates Court, in writing, within the statutory time frame of 21 days If an internal appeal is made, then an applicant or licence holder is also entitled to appeal against any decision taken by the Appeal Panel. This should be done by giving notice of an appeal to the Magistrates Court, in writing, within 21 days of notification of the Appeal Panel decision letter. TXD059 v4 02/16 17

18 APPENDIX ONE STATEMENT OF POLICY ABOUT CONVICTIONS: DRIVER LICENCE General This policy is relevant to the consideration of whether a person is fit and proper to hold a Dual or Private Hire Driver Licence. By virtue of The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2003 the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply to driver licences. NB - Any reference to conviction(s) in this policy will include cautions, endorsable fixed penalties and/or convictions (both spent and unspent). Relevance of Convictions Although each case will be assessed on its own merits, having regard to this policy, there is an overriding issue of public safety. Wokingham Borough Council will take these into consideration when deciding whether or not an individual is a fit and proper person to hold a licence. Wokingham Borough Council will check with the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) for the existence and content of any criminal record held in the name of an applicant. Information received from the DBS will be kept in strict confidence while the licensing process takes its course and will be retained for no longer than is necessary. A conviction will not automatically bar an applicant from obtaining a licence. In deciding whether to grant a licence, Wokingham Borough Council will consider the following; i. The nature of the offence ii. The sentence given by the court iii. The age of the conviction Some discretion may be appropriate if the conviction is isolated and there are mitigating circumstances. Similarly, multiple convictions or a series of convictions over a period of time are likely to give greater cause for concern and may demonstrate a pattern of inappropriate behaviour, which will be taken into account. Any applicant refused a licence on the grounds that they are not a fit and proper person to hold such a licence has a right of appeal in accordance with paragraph 4.3 of this policy. The following examples afford a general guide on the action, which might be taken where the applicant or licence holder has a conviction. TXD059 v4 02/16 18

19 Dishonesty Offences Licence holders are in a position of trust and maintain close contact with members of the public. As a consequence, convictions involving dishonesty are viewed seriously by Wokingham Borough Council. Generally a period of 3 years prior to the date of the application, free of conviction should be required before an application could be entertained. An existing licence holder with a conviction involving dishonesty will have their licence reviewed immediately. Violence Wokingham Borough Council has an overriding duty to protect members of the public and therefore any conviction involving violence will be considered seriously by Wokingham Borough Council. The more serious the degree of violence involved and/or the frequency of convictions, the less likely it is that an applicant will be deemed to be a fit and proper person. Generally at least 3 years free of convictions of violence should be shown before an application can be entertained. An existing licence holder with a conviction for violence will have their licence reviewed immediately. Indecency Offences Any applicant with a conviction of a sexual or indecent nature will be expected to show a substantial period (of at least 5 years) free of such convictions, before an application can be entertained. Where the applicant has an indecency conviction involving children, an application will not normally be entertained, except in exceptional circumstances. An existing licence holder with a conviction involving indecency will have their licence reviewed immediately. Drug Related Offences Where the applicant has a drug related conviction, an application will not normally be entertained, except in exceptional circumstances. If, in exceptional circumstances an application is considered, applicants will normally be required to show a period of at least 5 years free from taking drugs and/or 5 years after detoxification treatment if they were an addict. An existing licence holder with a drug related conviction will have their licence reviewed immediately. TXD059 v4 02/16 19

20 Traffic Offences a) Minor Traffic Convictions Isolated convictions for minor traffic offences (for example obstruction, speeding, failing to comply with a stop sign) will not normally be a basis on which to refuse to entertain an application. However, Wokingham Borough Council will take into consideration the number, type and period of time over which these offences have been committed. If there are several convictions then Wokingham Borough Council will normally require the applicant to show a period free of conviction of at least 6 calendar months. In relation to existing licence holders; a conviction for an isolated minor traffic offence should not affect the validity of their licence (although it must still be reported to the Council under the conditions of the licence), but more than one such conviction in a twelve calendar month period may cause their licence to be reviewed. b) Major Traffic Convictions An isolated conviction, without disqualification, for an offence such as dangerous driving or driving without due care and attention will require careful consideration by Wokingham Borough Council. Where there is a conviction within 6 calendar months, prior to the date of the application, or there is more than one conviction for this type of offence within the last 5 years, then this will be reviewed before a licence is granted. An existing licence holder with a major traffic conviction will have their licence reviewed immediately. c) Disqualification from Driving Where the applicant or a licence holder has been disqualified from driving, an application will not be entertained until they have, since the period of disqualification ended, held a full driving licence for a continuous period of three years without further endorsement. Convictions under the Town and Police Clauses Acts and Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 Convictions under these Acts are taken very seriously, as the legislation is in place to protect members of the public. In particular an application will not normally be entertained where the applicant has been convicted of an offence under the Acts at any time during the 6 calendar months prior to the application or has more than one conviction within the last 2 years prior to the application. An existing licence holder with any conviction under this legislation will have their licence reviewed immediately. TXD059 v4 02/16 20

21 Drunkenness This covers any conviction involving drunkenness. a) Not in control of a motor vehicle An isolated conviction may not debar an applicant or an existing licence holder from obtaining/continuing to hold a licence. However, a number of convictions will usually result in a review of the fit and proper status of the applicant/licence holder. b) In control of a motor vehicle A serious view is taken of any convictions of driving or being in charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence of drink. Any isolated conviction may not debar an applicant, but more than one conviction involving drunkenness will give rise to grave doubts as to whether the applicant is fit and proper to hold a licence. If an application is made less than 3 years after the restoration of the driving licence, the situation will be reviewed before a licence is granted. In relation to existing licence holders, any conviction of this nature will result in an immediate review of their licence. Wokingham Borough Council will need to consider whether their conviction is an indication that they have seriously fallen below the standard required of licensed drivers. Cautions and Endorsable Fixed Penalties For the purposes of these guidelines formal cautions and endorsable fixed penalties shall be treated as though they were convictions. Where the conviction is not of a nature which would have any bearing on whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a driver licence, then such a conviction will be disregarded other than in consideration of an overall adherence to law. If you would like to discuss what effect a conviction or caution might have on your application, you may contact the Taxi Licensing Service on or TXD059 v4 02/16 21

22 APPENDIX TWO STATEMENT OF POLICY ABOUT CONVICTIONS: OPERATOR LICENCE General This policy is relevant to the consideration of whether a person is fit and proper to hold a Private Hire Operator Licence. NB - Any reference to conviction(s) in this policy will include cautions, endorsable fixed penalties and/or convictions. Relevance of Convictions Where the applicant has a conviction which has not been rehabilitated in terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, the conviction will be taken into consideration before a licence is granted. Particular attention will be paid to any relevant convictions. A relevant conviction, for the purposes of this policy is a conviction, which would mean the operator, is a risk to members of the public. This would include a conviction involving any of the following (although the list is not exhaustive); Violence Indecency Offences Drug Related Offences Dishonesty Offences Although each case will be assessed on its own merits, having regard to this policy, there is an overriding issue of public safety. Wokingham Borough Council will take this into consideration when deciding whether or not an individual is a fit and proper person to hold a licence. An unspent conviction will not automatically bar an applicant from obtaining a licence. In deciding whether to grant a licence, Wokingham Borough Council will consider the following; i. The nature of the offence (for example whether it is a relevant conviction) ii. The sentence given by the court iii. The age of the conviction Some discretion may be appropriate if the conviction is isolated and there are mitigating circumstances. Similarly, multiple convictions or a series of convictions over a period of time are likely to give greater cause for concern and may demonstrate a pattern of inappropriate behaviour, which will be taken into account. Any applicant refused a licence on the grounds that they are not a fit and proper person to hold such a licence has a right of appeal in accordance with paragraph 4.3 of this policy. TXD059 v4 02/16 22

23 If you would like to discuss what effect a conviction or caution might have on your application, you may contact the Taxi Licensing Service on or TXD059 v4 02/16 23

24 APPENDIX THREE PENALTY POINT SCHEME General Issuing penalty points is a means of enforcing the terms and conditions that all licence holders have to adhere to. The penalty point scheme is seen as a way of ensuring compliance with the conditions of the licence and serves as an early warning system to drivers, operators and vehicle owners who fail to satisfy the conditions of their licence(s). Please Note Penalty points will be issued in accordance with the Enforcement Action Policy in Section Four of this document. All licence holders that have penalty points recorded against them will be given notice in writing explaining the reason(s) for the allocation of penalty points and their numerical value. Once the penalty points have been on record for twelve calendar months, and if the licence holder has not had any enforcement action taken against them by the Council during those twelve months, then their penalty points will reduce in value by 50% (i.e. from 50 points to 25 points). This will continue to occur every twelve calendar months, assuming no further enforcement action is taken. If the total number of penalty points is the equivalent of 20 points or below then at the end of the year, they will be cleared from the record. Review of Licence Any licence holder who has accumulated 100 points or more will have their licence reviewed immediately. Further appropriate enforcement action may be necessary. The following guide shows the maximum number of points that Wokingham Borough Council will award for various infringements: INFRINGEMENT LICENCE SUBJECT TO THE POINTS MAXIMUM PENALTY Using bus/taxi lane (except Private Hire Vehicle 20 points Hackney Carriage Vehicles) Licence Private Hire Driver Licence No fire extinguisher in vehicle Any Licence 50 points Failure to notify the licensing service of a conviction within 7 days Dual Driver Licence Private Hire Driver Licence Private Hire Operator Licence 50 points TXD059 v4 02/16 24

25 Failure to properly display Wokingham Borough Council vehicle licence plate Failure to notify licensing service of change of address within 7 days Any Licence Any Licence 25 points 10 points Failure to contact licensing service as instructed or to provide documents as requested by Wokingham Borough Council (points will be awarded per document) Any Licence 5 points Faulty tyre Any Licence 30 points (per tyre) Private Hire Vehicle displaying a Taxi roof sign Private Hire Driver Licence Private Hire Vehicle 50 points Hackney Carriage Vehicle failing to display Taxi roof sign as per policy and conditions Licence Dual Driver Licence Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence 20 points Overcharging Dual Driver Licence 100 points Lack of local area knowledge Aggressive / violent / abusive behaviour Private Hire Vehicle parking in a Taxi rank Licence fee cheque being dishonoured and the payment needs to be acquired by other means. Operator failing to keep proper records Dual Driver Licence Private Hire Driver Licence Dual Driver Licence Private Hire Driver Licence Private Hire Operator Licence Private Hire Driver Licence Private Hire Vehicle Licence Any Licence Private Hire Operator Licence 25 points 100 points 30 points 10 points 40 points Operator failing to assist an authorised officer of Wokingham Borough Council making a reasonable request in relation to enforcement duties Private Hire Operator Licence 100 points TXD059 v4 02/16 25

26 Fail to wear a Private Hire/Dual Driver badge Driving a licensed vehicle in an obviously unsafe condition Behaving in any other manner contrary to the terms of the licence conditions Private Hire Driver Licence Dual Driver Licence Any Licence Any Licence 100 points 100 points 100 points TXD059 v4 02/16 26

27 DUAL DRIVER AND PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE CONDITIONS In these conditions, unless otherwise indicated; the Council will mean Wokingham Borough Council the Driver means a person who has been granted a licence by Wokingham Borough Council under section 51 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act General 1.1 Hackney Carriage Drivers Only - The holder of this licence shall comply with the provisions relating to Hackney Carriages in the Town Police Clauses 1847, the Public Health Act 1875 and Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 as well as the current Wokingham Borough Council Hackney Carriage Byelaws. The conditions contained in this part of the policy do not apply to the Hackney Carriage Driver Licences. However, they do apply to Dual Driver Licence holders in relation to the Private Hire Driver element of their licence. 1.2 Private Hire Drivers Only - The holder of this licence shall comply with the provisions of Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act The Driver shall, on obtaining a similar licence from another local authority, immediately stop carrying out work under their Wokingham Borough Council licence. They shall then, within five working days, return the licence issued by Wokingham Borough Council to an authorised officer of the Council. 2.0 Conduct of Driver 2.1 The Driver Must wear the badge provided by the Council in such a position and manner as to be plainly visible at all times Must at all times be clean and tidy in his dress and person and behave in a civil and orderly manner, and not use foul or abusive language Shall take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of passengers conveyed in, or entering, or alighting from the vehicle Shall not drive a vehicle adapted or manufactured for disabled access without completing the DSA Ramp Test Shall make reasonable checks of the vehicle they are driving, to ensure that it is in good working order and is safe to drive Shall ensure that the vehicle they are driving displays the necessary licence plate and identification cards required by the Council Shall assist with the loading and unloading of luggage. TXD059 v4 02/16 27

28 2.1.8 Unless otherwise directed by the hirer, shall proceed to the destination by the shortest possible route Shall comply with the hirer s request not to eat in the vehicle Shall comply with the hirer s request not to play any radio or other sound reproducing instrument of equipment in the vehicle other than for the purpose of sending or receiving messages in connection with the operation of the vehicle Shall provide, on the request of a passenger, a written receipt for the fare paid which describes the journey involved and states the Driver s licence number Shall at no time cause or permit the noise by any radio or previously mentioned equipment in the vehicle which he is driving to be a source of nuisance or annoyance to any person, whether inside or outside of the vehicle Shall at all times be affiliated to and operated by a Wokingham Borough Council licensed operator. 3.0 Duties of the Driver 3.1 The Driver shall return the badge and licence to the council within 7 days of the expiration of such licence, or on the demand of an authorised officer of the Council. 3.2 Any Driver changing his home address must give notice in writing to the Council within 7 days of such change. 3.3 The Driver shall within 7 days disclose to the Council in writing details of any conviction imposed on him during the period of the licence. 3.4 The Driver shall within 42 days of the date of a Fixed Penalty, notify the Council in writing of any Fixed Penalty imposed on him which results in an endorsement on his driving licence. 3.5 The Driver shall notify the Council in writing within 7 days, of any change of operator by whom he is operated. 3.6 The Driver will provide any documentation reasonably requested by an authorised officer of the Council. Failure to present the documentation within the specified time may result in penalty points being allocated. 4.0 Passengers 4.1 The Driver shall not convey or permit to be conveyed in a licensed vehicle a greater number of persons than that prescribed in the licence for the vehicle. 4.2 The Driver shall not allow there to be conveyed in the front of the vehicle any child below the age of ten years, unless licensed for 8 passengers, or more than one person above this age. TXD059 v4 02/16 28

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