In July 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) published its 'Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards' guidance document.
In the interest of transparency, the DfT has advised that all licensing authorities should publish their consideration of the measures contained in Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards.
The DfT has outlined that there is evidence to support the view that taxis and private hire vehicles are a high-risk environment. In terms of risks to passengers, this can be seen in the abuse and exploitation of children and vulnerable adults facilitated and, in some cases, perpetrated by the trade and the number of sexual crimes reported which involve taxi and private hire vehicle drivers. Links between the trade and child sexual abuse and exploitation have been established in many areas and other investigations continue. Data on reported sexual assaults by taxi and private hire vehicle drivers evidence the risk to passengers; data from Greater Manchester and Merseyside suggest that, if similar offence patterns are applied across England, 623 sexual assaults per year are reported.
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 enables the Secretary of State for Transport to issue statutory guidance on exercising taxi and private hire vehicle licensing functions to protect children and vulnerable individuals who are over 18 from harm when using these services. The ‘Standards’ document sets out a framework of policies that licensing authorities must have regard to when exercising their functions. Given that the standards have been set directly to address the safeguarding of the public and the potential impact of failings in this area, the importance of thoroughly considering these standards cannot be overstated.
Whilst the focus on the standards is on protecting children and adults at risk from harm, all passengers will benefit from the recommendations contained within it. There is consensus that common core minimum standards are required to better regulate the taxi and private hire vehicle sector, and the recommendations contained in the document are the result of detailed discussion with the trade, regulators and safety campaign groups. The Department therefore expects these recommendations to be implemented unless there is a compelling local reason not to.
The DfT has advised that Licensing Authorities should consult on proposed changes in licensing rules that may have significant impacts on passengers and/or the trade. Such consultation should include not only the taxi and private hire vehicle trades but also groups likely to be the trades’ customers.
Any decision taken to alter the licensing regime is likely to have an impact on the operation of the taxi and private hire vehicle sector in neighbouring areas; and licensing authorities should engage with these areas to identify any concerns and issues that might arise from a proposed change.
Summary of proposals
Read the full summary of proposals [PDF, 0.1MB] and let us know your thoughts.
Any comments that you forward to this Licensing Authority should clearly state your name and any organisation or persons you may be responding on behalf of.
How to comment
Comments on these proposals can be made by:
- Sending an email to email@example.com
- In writing to:
South Cambridgeshire District Council Anywhere
Cambourne Business Park
You must state your name and any organisation you may be responding on behalf of.
The deadline for responses to be made is 15 January 2021.
The results of the consultation will be presented to Members of the Licensing Committee at the end of January 2021 to take account of the feedback from the trade and other stakeholders to consider any amendments to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy.
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