Leeds-Taxi-and-Private-Hire
Members of the licensing committee are being asked to consider the options and make a recommendation to the council’s executive board for consideration in September.
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Councillors to consider taxi and private hire licence changes to improve public safety in Leeds

Licensing committee to discuss report on 9 August.

Following consultation with the trade and public, plans to improve public safety in Leeds by changing taxi and private hire driver licensing standards are to be discussed by councillors next month. The meeting of Leeds City Council’s licensing committee on Tuesday 9 August will consider the outcome of the consultation process and consider several options regarding the threshold at which action is taken in cases concerning taxi and private hire driver licenses or new applications with minor motoring convictions.

The current standard in Leeds is 12 points on a driver’s licence before action is taken, but work has been progressed to consider changes considering the national Institute of Licensing framework which was introduced in 2018 and includes a lower threshold of seven points as the recommended standard where formal action should be considered. The consultation undertaken built on an earlier consultation exercise and the outcome of a working group consisting of councillors, trade representatives and stakeholder/passenger groups. In the latest consultation, more than 2,200 responses were received, with a clear split in the views expressed with those from the trade being opposed to the changes and the general public being supportive, with some calling for stricter restrictions to be introduced than those proposed.

Three options are presented for councillors to consider which are summarised as follows:

a) to recommend the adoption of the standards as consulted upon;
b) to recommend an amended set of standards taking account of the consultation feedback;
c) to recommend that the standard not be approved and that further work is undertaken.
In regard to option b) the report outlines that the standard could be amended to reflect feedback form the consultation as follows:

  • if a current licence holder accumulates seven or eight points, they would receive a warning and could be required to attend a driver training course to improve their driving standards and road safety awareness. They would be able to continue working and could still renew their licence.
  • If a driver accumulates nine points or more, their case would be reviewed on an individual basis and they may be required to attend training or the decision could be taken to revoke their licence.
  • For any new applications for a taxi and private hire drivers licence, applications would not be granted if the driver has already accrued seven or more points.

The changes included in options a) and b) would better align Leeds with councils across the country, including neighbouring West Yorkshire authorities and City of York Council, who have already implemented a seven-point threshold. Overall, the change in standards would affect less than 1.5 per cent of all current licence holders in Leeds, with over 80 per cent of taxi and private hire drivers in the city currently having no points on their licence whatsoever. Members of the licensing committee are being asked to consider the options and make a recommendation to the council’s executive board for consideration in September.

Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for resources and Safer Leeds Councillor Debra Coupar said:

“I’d like to thank everyone who has responded to this important consultation exercise. In considering our next steps it will be important to achieve the right balance between ensuring public safety in line with the Institute of Licensing framework whilst proactively supporting the taxi and private hire trade in Leeds.

“The options included in the report to licensing committee reflect the wide range of views received as part of the consultation process including option b) which makes a number of changes which respond positively to the feedback received. I look forward to receiving the outcome and recommendations from licensing committee when it has had an opportunity to consider this matter on 9 August.”

To see the full report to be considered by the licensing committee go to www.democracy.leeds.gov.uk

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