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ROUND THE COUNCILS WAKEFIELD:


PHV PASSENGERS TO BE ASKED THEIR ADDRESS


Passengers booking PHVs in Wakefield could soon be asked to disclose where they live, even if they’re not travelling to or from their home address. Private hire firms are set to request the details from every customer under proposed new rules. Wakefield Council, who are looking to implement the change as part of a review of its taxi policies, say the move is in the interests of safeguarding. It will help them get in touch with passengers in the event of any incident that needs following up afterwards. However, both the council and operators have accepted they are powerless to stop people giving false names and addresses, as passengers are under no obligation to comply. The idea was discussed at the council’s licensing committee on Wednesday 28 July. Representing one of the district’s taxi driver unions, licensing consultant Dave Wilson told the meeting he thought asking for customers’ addresses was “not unreasonable”. But he cautioned: “The main issue is whether people will honestly tell you. I think there may well be a number of Mickey Mouses and Donald Ducks. And where do they live? Disneyland, presumably! The council is also planning to introduce DBS checks for taxi office staff. However, Mr Wilson expressed opposition to that idea, saying that forcing existing employees to undergo the checks may be “difficult” under employment law. He said that firms could be forced to sack staff who refused to have the requirement written into a new contract, leaving them open to unfair dismissal claims. He told the meeting: “I’m not suggesting that operators are opposed to the DBS checks. “But if you’ve been employed by an operator for 15 or 20 years, you’ve had no trouble and they trust you implicitly, there’s a risk some people might take great offence.” However, councillors voted in favour of the idea being included in the proposed new policy, which will eventu- ally go out to public consultation before it’s put into practice. Labour’s Cllr Clive Tennant said: “I can understand where Mr Wilson is coming from. They might be a first-class employee. But the only person who doesn’t want a DBS check is someone who’s got something to hide. That’s my opinion.”


38


HAMBLETON: TOUGH NEW RULES SET FOR TAXI FIRMS


Taxi drivers in the Hambleton district will have to go through criminal background checks every six months under strict new rules proposed by the council. The Northern Echo reports that the new licensing measures are being proposed by Hambleton District Council to improve passenger safety and if approved would also see the introduction of checks for taxi business owners. Members of the council’s licensing committee backed the new rules at a recent meeting and a final approval will be needed from full council before they are implemented. Speaking at the meeting, Simon Fisher, licensing and procurement manager at the council, explained that the rules would also mean new checks for bookings staff. He said: “Staff who are responsible for taking bookings and dispatching vehicles – they are not licensed by the council. So, this is a new obligation, as recommended by the DfT, so that PH operators take some responsibility to ensure that those people who are


trusted with


potentially system information are also subject to criminal record checks.”


EASTLEIGH: VIEWS SOUGHT ON NEW LICENSING POLICY


Borough residents are being asked for their views on changes to rules for taxi and private hire drivers. According to the Daily Echo, public consultation has been launched as Eastleigh Borough Council looks to write up a new Taxi Licensing Policy. Covering a range of areas including DBS checks, safe- guarding training, driver training, dress code and signage, the new statement will bring the current set of policies in line with DfT guidance. Now businesses, residents and partners are all being asked to give feedback on the new draft policy with the consultation set to end on November 8. As part of the new policy, drivers would be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check every six months, vehi- cle owners and PH operators will be required to produce a basic DBS check, private hire operators will need a policy on employing ex-offenders, and identification stickers will be needed on both sides of private hire vehicles. View the draft policy here: https://bit.ly/3DctAdy


SEPTEMBER 2021


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