Agenda item

Agenda items for 12th October 2022





Ben Thomson – Head of Public Protection – Chair

Cllr. Charlotte Morris – Culture & Economy

Michael Bridge – License Unit Manager

Andy Vernon – GMP Partnership Sergeant

Khalid Hussain – Chairman of Bury Hackney Association

Nazmul Islam – Business Engagement Officer

Muhammed Warraich - Private Hire Drivers Association Bury

Sham Raja – NPHTA

Laura Jones – Deputy Licensing Officer

Gihulam Anbia – Hackney Drivers Association

Laura Swann – Assistant Director Operations Strategy

Anna Wiley - TFGM


Minutes:    Maureen Foden




Welcome & Apologies


David Lawrie, Cllr. Sandra Walmersley, Mathew Freckelton, Habib Rehman





Matters arising Agree minutes of previous meeting 16/06/2022



The minutes from the previous meeting were agreed as a true record.


The five items on the action log are all covered on today’s agenda.


The minutes have not been uploaded due to technical difficulties; the associations were asked to pass them onto the trade in the interim.





GMP Update



AV reported on the Tell MAMA website  Report in Anti-Muslim Hate or Islamophobia ( response to an action from the last meeting. It supports victims of anti-Muslim hate in relation to racial abuse. This is a reporting website that drivers can use where they will be supported, advised and referred to the police if required. This can be done retrospectively but drivers are urged to contact the police instantly if urgent.


There have also been a number of incidents in Bury relating to taxi/private hire drivers but there was no information as to whether or not the incidents involved Bury Licensed drivers or non-Bury licensed drivers.


·         One incident took place on 02/10 in relation to the kidnap of a driver. The driver had finished work at 1am and was stopped near Gigg Lane, 2 drunken males approached him and wanted to go to Stockport Road in Wilmslow. They got into vehicle made the driver drive around for over 100 miles, whilst they were smoking, drinking and were threatening. They finished up at the arches on Oxford Road. Two males have been arrested for kidnap and drugs offences, investigations are ongoing, where it goes depends on the driver and the CPS.


·         A robbery was reported 22/08 on Derby Way, two victims were assaulted.  Officers were able to detain one male at the time. One of the victims confirmed to police that they had their phone taken. Whilst man was detained the police were approached and another male was named. As a result, all four people were detained with one still under investigation. This is ongoing and will be a CPS decision to progress.


·         Another incident happened at the weekend in Bury town centre, the police were contacted today by a friend of the victim. It was near the Knowlsey Pub and the driver sustained injuries to their face, not aware of any robbery.  The officer who responded to incident has been off for four days which meant that the driver was not updated which is unacceptable. It is still being investigated and CCTV is being looked at, enquiries are still ongoing. The officer has now updated the victim and the investigation is ongoing.

AV asked the association to urge their drivers to report incidents, even if this is after the incident. If they report through the GMP website, they are picked up instantly with a crime record and officer allocated.


It is reported that there is a lot of abuse being directed at drivers with damage to their cars in some circumstances. But on a positive note, there does seem to be a change in behaviours where drivers are starting to report incidents and there is more confidence in the Police in Bury but this is not happening in other local areas. It should make no difference where the crime takes place the same response should be provided.


ACTION 1:  AV to get the contact details of the equivalent officer in                        Rochdale for drivers to contact if they have any issues in                    that area


There are a lot of things that drivers can do to keep themselves safe. When they finish work, they must lock the doors to their cars, they should not leave the float in their cars overnight and they should not park their cars in busy areas. Drivers must take responsibility for their own safety. This is to be included in the driver safety video that is being produced.


Drivers were asked to share information on the locations where they are being racially abused and the times that this is happening at with AV. This information will then be shared with local officers so they can target these areas. 


There have been problems with moving people from stopping on the Hackney taxi ranks.  Licensing have spoken to the Take Aways and door staff in the area. However, Licensing cannot do anything about general drivers, parking services would need be the first point of contact. When preparing operations for planned visits at night will incorporate this into the enforcement gathering information, when and where, and will pass onto parking enforcement services.


ACTION 2:  Members to provide Licensing with information of where                    the parking issues are to pass onto parking enforcement


ACTION 3:  Licensing to use the information gathered on illegal parking                    on Hackney taxi ranks to share with parking services so                       they can employ their resources there


It was reported that up to seven private hire taxis are ranking up, only three vehicles are allowed at one time. There are two private hire companies in Bury, Blue Line and Magnum, the operators of these companies should be advising their drivers about this.


It was reiterated that drivers must report any incidents, they should not be putting up with abuse and even worse behaviours.





Enforcement / Service Issues



a.   Reminder of current window tint policy

There are a number of drivers who are purchasing vehicles that don’t meet the Councils window tint policy standards, this results in the driver being asked to get the windows changed. The trade reps are asked to pass onto their drivers that if they are looking at changing their vehicles to check council website regarding the policy, this states that from behind the drivers head all the rear windows need to be a minimum of 20% light transmission except for the rear windscreen. Drivers need to ask this specific question of the salespeople when buying and it was suggested get written assurance.


Some Councils have not yet adopted the minimum 20% window tint, seven out of the ten Councils have.


b.   Update on digitalisation of services

As frequently mentioned at a number of meetings the licensing service is now moving towards digitalisation. This includes change of address, report convictions and to report accidents.


Vehicle application forms are also being looked at and drivers will be able to apply and pay online, the application will then be ratified, and an email will be sent to book a test with confirmation and follow up reminders being sent by email.


In the first instance the driver will need to set up a section one account with all their details, then when they log in it will automatically populate most of the forms, there is a guide available to assist the trade. It has been reported that historically drivers do not read emails however they must read them in the future as this will be the standard form of correspondence and communications. In addition, the team are looking at producing a video to support this process. This is in its early stages and any progress will be shared.


The vehicle applications will not go live until the team is sure that the system works, and drivers are aware of the changes and what is expected from them. Information and guidance will be shared through email, whenever anything is sent out to drivers all trade reps will also receive the notifications and can give the heads up to their drivers to open.


Also, if drivers are asking another person to complete the application form on their behalf it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that full and correct details are provided.


Drivers will be automatically be given a reference number which they can refer to in any future correspondence, the new system should offer them a better customer experience.





Specific Subjects for Discussion



a.   Bury Driver Safety Project Update

The Licensing department are continuing to work with GMP to develop a driver safety initiative, this will focus on the safety of driver not the public. An open public consultation took place from June to August, there were over 600 people who visited with 89 active participants. Work is taking place with the police on the results which will be shared at a future meeting. NI also facilitated a focus group with fifteen drivers which looked at the problems and concerns of the trade.


A key element of this will be an information and training video on the basic safety measures and drivers’ problems and concerns. A script is being developed and the team is actively looking for a supplier to produce it. There will also be communications and posters to support the message ‘respect your drivers’.


Bury as an authority will not tolerate verbal or physical abuse towards its drivers and the video will incorporate all aspects of safety measures to help reducing and managing risk.


The group will be kept updated on progress.


b.   Update from TfGM on Clean Air Plan Funding

Anna Wiley gave an update on the Clean Air Plan and the targeted engagement that took place along with the results that came out of that.



The trade made it very clear that they are not happy about the funding being passed onto the dealerships; they feel that it should be going to the drivers. It is felt that the Government funding is not being allocated in the right manner. TfGM is looking into the dealership aspect, and it is important to clarify that no money has been distributed and it will not be until the whole plan has been agreed by the nine authorities and the Government.


The evidence gathering stage is coming to an end, the findings and information are being collated which will help inform and develop the detail of the Clean Air Plan.  This will then go to public consultation next year; it is hoped to have a decision by summer with funds being opened soon after.


It was asked what has been submitted to Government now is the principal’s part, when will the funding part be sent. If feedback from Government is good, the green light will be given to go ahead. Government is well aware of the proposals; they just need to be briefed on them. It was acknowledged that due to recent events there have been delays.


With regards to retrofit grants, the thoughts are that they are not viable, it would be more beneficial to give the money to the drivers. The Clean Air Plan is not directly related to the minimum standards, but assurance was given that there is a direct link with the licensing managers and retrofit will be part of these discussions.


It was reported that when white coloured vehicles were introduced, prices went up in surrounding areas, drivers had to travel further to buy vehicles as dealerships knew that they had no choice but to buy that colour, need to be conscious of this.


c.    MOTs & Compliance Test Certificates

BT in response to an action from the last meeting contacted the DVSA and raised the issue regarding the compliance test and MOT test and the restrictions from accessing certain national services. It was confirmed by the DVSA that if a taxi or private hire vehicle is also used for personal use then then the vehicle would require both a complainant and annual MOT tests, if the vehicle is used purely for business, it would be exempt from the MOT and there are no current plans to change this.


As compliance and MOT procedures are exactly the same it was asked if Sunnybank or Bradley Fold could charge a minimum amount for example £10 for the MOT. BT spoke to both garages and consulted other authorities as previous discussed, and due to DVSA requirements  regarding MOTs, tests results must be recorded on the DVSA system at the time of the test and this has to be done separately to the compliance test. Rochdale do provide a service where it will do both however drivers are charged for both. It will be up to drivers to find cheaper options.


BT and the team understand the drivers’ frustrations and will be lobbying to try and affect changes to get this reversed through the GM licensing group. Firstly, they will need to understand what are the barriers that the drivers are facing.


ACTON: 6    Association representative to take to this back to their                         members and come back with a list of points or issues that                    they feel are not appropriate or they do not agree with


The issue of not being able to purchase insurance online is something that needs to be explored further. Also, if drivers have issues with either of the two testing centres there are complaint procedures in place.


The Bury manual has recently been reviewed and is available to view online, it was brought in to support drivers, so they know why their vehicles have failed for full transparency.





Trade Agenda Item



a.   Update requested on Livery (MLS Stage 2)

Bury have delayed the implementation of the changes to livery in November last year and any further changes to this policy would be subject to a  report to go to members of the Licensing & Safety Committee for consideration. Not all GM authorities have adopted the changes in Stage 2.


b.   Update requested from GMP on incidents and reporting

Covered under item 4.


c.    Rear Loading Vehicles

In response to an action from the last meeting BT agreed to look at previous decisions made regarding rear loading vehicles.  This has gone before Licensing Safety twice and the points raised have been carefully considered along with the decision by panel. Because there has been no material change and considering the justifications of members decisions regarding public safety it is not something that the Council is looking to change.


The issues that drivers have is that they feel that side loading vehicles are not suitable for electric chairs and scooters, there have been frequent incidences where they have not been able to accommodate customers especially the visitors to Bury Market.


BT is not aware of any direct complaints from  individuals with disabilities to help evidence this request.  As these decisions are democratically submitted, and decisions have been made, to change this the Council will need evidence and a note of specifics. Drivers also need to ask customers to complain to the Council to help support this argument. This is a process that needs to be followed.


ACTION:     Mr Hussain to relay to drivers to report specifics if they are                    having to deny wheelchair access and to get customers to                    complain to the Council



d.   DBS Checks & Advertising Conditions (Operators)

This item was put forward by Magnum Whiteline, as they are not in attendance it was agreed it will be deferred to the next meeting.






a.   Reminder Application Process open 8 weeks before and 5 days to process

MB reiterated that drivers and vehicle operates can make application up to eight weeks prior to renewal, it was asked if the association representative could widen this message out. If they put application in early, they will not lose any time it just allows more time to process the application and address and rectify any issues that may arise.


b.   Cross border operators

The issue of cross border operators from Wolverhampton was raised. There has been no change from Central Government on this although assurance was given that lobbying is ongoing, and the Clean Air Plan should also support this. Any changes need to be done at a national level through legislation.


Drivers are going to Wolverhampton and Sefton because the standards are lower, and it is cheaper. GM are trying to achieve higher standards for both drivers and customers and to support the professionalism of the trade. When producing the driver safety video, it will promote Bury drivers and their high standards. And will continue to lobby Government on this issue to protect Bury drivers. 


c.    Meetings going forward

This will be discussed at the next meeting as there seems to be a better attendance when the meetings are held via Teams.





Date and Time of next meeting

To discuss attendance and in person or Teams


Proposed Thursday 12th January 5-7 Teams – will confirm in writing



Supporting documents: