The Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) submitted a report advising Members on operational issues within the Licensing Service.
The report set out updates in respect of the following issues:
· APPEAL TO MAGISTRATES
It was reported that a driver had appeared before Licensing and Safety Panel on 7th March 2019 in respect of his hackney carriage vehicle licence and the decision by the panel was to refuse to renew the Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence as the vehicle had fallen foul of the Council’s Five fault Rule for Hackney Carriage vehicles over 10 years old. This client appealed the decision. The appeal was heard on the 10th September 2019, at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court. The Magistrates considered the case and decided to dismiss the appeal. The Magistrates awarded the Council £1000 contribution costs.
· PARTNERSHIP WORKING
Officers of the Trading Standards and Licensing Service took part in a multi-agency operation on the 25th September 2019. The operation involved Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Housing Standards and the Immigration Service. Eight premises were visited. There were issues for the Immigration Service and Greater Manchester Fire. The immigration service found three individuals working in a shop who had no right to work and one individual who was a failed asylum seeker who had absconded. 2620 illicit cigarettes and 1.4 kilogrammes were seized by Trading Standards from one of the off licences visited. Investigations are ongoing.
· ATTENDANCE REQUESTED TO ATTEND A MEEETING
Following a request by Councillor Daly, the Licensing Unit Manager and the Deputy Licensing Officer attended a meeting at Blackford Bridge Church along with Greater Manchester Police. The meeting consisted of questions relating taxi related matters, these were answered by Greater Manchester Police and the Licensing Unit Manager. The meeting was attended by a large number of licence holders.
· TAXI TRADE LIAISON MEETING
On the 19th September 2019, the Licensing Service held a trade liaison meeting with the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade. All Private Hire Operators were invited, along with trade associations representing Hackney and private hire drivers in Bury.
This was a private meeting to allow full discussion on a range of issues. This included: proposals across Greater Manchester relating to common standards across the Hackney carriage and private hire trade; the proposed GM Clean Air Zone; proposed service improvements in Bury; information regarding Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme; along with a number of matters put forward by trade reps and individual drivers.
· COMMON MINIMUM STANDARDS
The report included the following position statement in respect of Common Minimum Standards:
In 2018, Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities agreed to collectively develop, finalise and implement a common set of minimum standards for Taxi and Private Hire services licensed in Greater Manchester. The proposed standards have four areas of focus: driver standards, vehicles standards, operator standards and local authority standards.
Greater Manchester Leaders have consistently stated that these standards must align with the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan proposals and support the requirements to tackle air pollution across the region. The 10 local authorities are awaiting feedback from government on some elements of those proposals, most notably the funding available to support vehicle upgrades – including taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs).
With this uncertainty, and the lack of clarity around the Government’s intention to legislate for national minimum licensing standards for taxis and PHVs in the future, there will be no consultation on the proposed Greater Manchester common minimum standards this autumn, however we will continue to engage with the trade on the development of both Clean Air Plan and common minimum standards.
It was agreed:
That the report be noted.