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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:02 pm 
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NALEO calls for Deregulation Bill “Taxi” clauses to be dropped


The National Association of Licensing and Enforcement Officers (NALEO) has urged “every Local Authority and interested trade organisation” to lobby their Members of Parliament to have the Deregulation Bill “Taxi” clauses to be dropped when they are debated next week.

Readers may recall some time back that the DfT consulted with the taxi/PH trade on proposals to deregulate certain existing rules with regards to cross border sub-contracting, permitting unlicensed drivers to drive licensed vehicles and to make all taxi and PH licences last for 3 years.

It seemed odd that the Government would push for these amendments whilst the Law Commission is, at the same time, working a draft new Taxi Bill. The Government said, in relation to this, that it will have a whole year (from May 2014) to considering the Law Commission’s report which means that there will not be time to take forward a dedicated Taxi Bill before the next General Election hence why these changes are being introduced using the Deregulation Bill.

NALEO, writing to its members, stated that it “…believes that the clauses due to debated are not so vitally necessary that they need to be enacted ahead of the wholesale reforms due to be proposed by the Law Commission. The imminent Law Commission proposals have been extensively researched and NALEO cannot agree that more piecemeal changes are either helpful or that indeed as worded they will better ensure the safety of the travelling public.”

“The Law Commission is due to publish its report and draft Bill during May 2014. The Government will then have a year in which to consider the report and prepare a response in 2015. This time scale for considering the Law Commission’s report means that there will not be time to take forward a dedicated Taxi Bill before the next General Election. This seems a very poor reason for lessening the safety of the public at large by allowing unlicensed drivers to drive licensed vehicles!”

As a consequence, it is urging local authorities to lobby their Members of Parliament to have the Deregulation Bill “Taxi” clauses to be dropped. Given that the debate is due to take place early next week (29 April), NALEO has produced a sample template for interested parties to consider adapting to use in any representations which they may wish to make to their own Members of Parliament.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:09 pm 
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PLEASE INSERT YOUR AUTHORITY
ADDRESS AND DETAILS....





Date 24 April 2014


Dear …………………….



Deregulation Bill 2013/14- Proposed Clauses 8, 9 and 10 amending the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976

I write to you with regards to the proposed amendments to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 set out in the Deregulation Bill 2013/14. As you may be aware this Bill is currently passing through the Parliamentary process and we are urging you to support us in our opposition to these proposals.

The proposals are of great concern for many Local Authorities across the country. This concern is also echoed by many Taxi Trade Associations and the Police Commissioners in many areas.

The Meeting of Minds Group which includes the National Association of Licensing & Enforcement Officers [NALEO], The National Taxi Association [NTA], The National Private Hire Association [NPHA], Unite the Union, and the GMB held a meeting in Bolton on 15th April 2014. The delegates at that meeting included MP's, The Law Commission, The Local Government Association, the Police Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester and Elected Members as well as Licensing and Enforcement Officers. To assist you, a copy of the Minutes of the Meeting held on the 15 April 2014 are attached.

Local Licensing Authorities are charged with ensuring as far as reasonably practicable “Public Safety”. This is a constant thread throughout all threads of licensing legislation such as the Licensing Act 2003, Gambling Act 2005 and also the licensing of Sex Establishments, Street Traders and many others. The proposed amendments referred to are designed to affect hackney carriage and private hire licensees throughout England and Wales.

Licensing Authorities take this role very seriously and impose strict standards, conditions and policies to assist us in carrying out this role. It has taken us many years to get where we are now and this could all be undone overnight through adopting changes to legislation that take the control / and power to set local standards away from the Local Authorities.

It is my/our opinion that standards / decisions should be left in the hands of those locally elected members (Councillors) who are put in power through a democratic process by the residents of the district, town or city of each area.

In brief terms the three proposals are set out in Clauses (paragraph’s) 8, 9 and 10 of the Deregulation Bill;

Section 8 – Private Hire Vehicles: Circumstances in which driver’s licence required to drive a licensed private hire vehicle;
Section 9 – Taxi and private hire vehicles: Duration of licences;
Section 10 – Private hire vehicles: Sub-contracting between operators

I have set out below in very brief terms the concerns around the three individual proposals.

Section 8 – In simple terms this lessening of the legislation will allow anyone with an ordinary driving licence to drive a private hire vehicle when it is off duty.

This is seen by all concerned as a real backward step and is one that would cause a huge amount of concern and make enforcement of the legislation extremely difficult if not impossible.

The current situation is that only a licensed driver can drive a licensed vehicle whether that is for hire or reward or social domestic and pleasure purposes, this applies to hackney carriages as well as private hire, and this was upheld in the High Court in the following case Leslie Benson v Clinton Andrew Boyce [1997] EWHC Admin 35 (20 January, 1997).

This amendment is nothing short of a charter for drivers to abuse the system. It will be impossible to know when a vehicle is not working, or when the driver is not working, or indeed who is actually driving the vehicle. It will look like a private hire vehicle, so there is no need to state the obvious. You will also note from the attached minutes that all attendees agreed that this leaves the travelling public in a very vulnerable position.

This clause, if enacted as set out, will inevitably create a significant risk to public safety and especially to the users of such services which often include some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Section 9 – proposes to amend the standard duration of driver’s licences (private hire and hackney carriages) to three years and the standard for private hire operator’s licence to five years.

Again there are significant concerns. This should be left for local determination. We strongly believe that locally elected members should be allowed to determine local conditions / standards etc. including the duration / term of a licence and can see no reason to move away from the current legislative position. If there were to be a perceived need the currently proposed clause appears badly drafted and in need of amendment.

Section 10 – proposes changes to allow private hire operators to sub contract bookings to other operators licensed in a different district (Authority)

Although it is understood that businesses do cross Authority borders and this amendment may well be intended to aid business growth. The concern is that this will become confusing for the members of the public.

Licensing/Enforcement Officers would have no clear line of enquiry for complaints made against drivers of companies not based in their particular jurisdictions. In the event of complaints and enquiries who is responsible for the work (job) carried out? Would this be the company/person taking the original booking or the company / person who undertook the journey / job? Who would be the legal owner of that work?

We once again ask you to oppose these amendments when the time comes There is a Westminster Debate on 29th April at 2.30 pm. Your support would be very much appreciated not only by we the requestors but also by the majority of your constituents who would, we are sure wish to have confidence in the bona fide licensed trades members.

There is currently legislation in place that covers these areas already, this current legislation has been subject of a comprehensive review by the Law Commission on behalf of the Government and the full report and recommendations are due to be published in May 2014.

There does not see any clear reason why these three clauses are so vitally important that they need to be taken in isolation ahead of the wholesale proposals imminently due from the Law Commission. These clauses appear to have been rushed and at best are ill thought out.

It is strongly felt that they should not be enacted and that the best course of action should be refer these matters for inclusion in the ongoing comprehensive Law Commission Review currently under way and which is due to report in May 2014, less than one month away.

Yours sincerely,

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:47 pm 
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Yes But who was reposenting the grass root members who were not members of any of the enclosed.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:50 pm 
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charles007 wrote:
Yes But who was reposenting the grass root members who were not members of any of the enclosed.


the NTA were, they have grass roots members

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:50 pm 
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Nothing wrong with having a 3 year badge, as long as councils don't increase the fee


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:07 pm 
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skippy41 wrote:
Nothing wrong with having a 3 year badge, as long as councils don't increase the fee


councils can already issue 3 year badges - what the government is proposing is patently stupid.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:18 pm 
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captain cab wrote:
skippy41 wrote:
Nothing wrong with having a 3 year badge, as long as councils don't increase the fee


councils can already issue 3 year badges - what the government is proposing is patently stupid.

Why is it stupid? some of us would like the opportunity to have a 3 year badge and our Councils won't allow it.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:11 pm 
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grandad wrote:
captain cab wrote:
skippy41 wrote:
Nothing wrong with having a 3 year badge, as long as councils don't increase the fee


councils can already issue 3 year badges - what the government is proposing is patently stupid.

Why is it stupid? some of us would like the opportunity to have a 3 year badge and our Councils won't allow it.

=D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> .Yep its £70 a year for us then extra every 3 years for a crb check. So yes 3 years would be nice


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:52 pm 
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Today in the commons

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publi ... nown/1345/


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:01 pm 
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thelodger wrote:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publi ... nown/1490/

This is just what we need during this ongoing situation, a MP grandstanding over an issue that isn't even on the table. ](*,)

Lisa Nandy (Wigan) (Lab):
This rushed and ill-thought-through process has caused real concern among my disabled constituents. Would my hon. Friend welcome an assurance from the Minister that the Government do not propose to make any changes to section 37A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which makes it illegal for minicab drivers to refuse to carry guide dog owners simply because they are accompanied by a guide dog?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:03 pm 
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grandad wrote:
Why is it stupid? some of us would like the opportunity to have a 3 year badge and our Councils won't allow it.

The idea in itself makes sense, however in areas that have robust and regular enforcement have genuine concerns said enforcement will end due to no funds to pay for it.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:05 pm 
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charles007 wrote:
Yes But who was reposenting the grass root members who were not members of any of the enclosed.

I would say the Labour MP bringing this debate has taken note that not everyone is with the MoM people.

As has been demonstrated by the objections raised by all concerned parties outside Whitehall, the policy is clearly contentious and there are a number of different viewpoints. Indeed, I have had a couple of debates over the past few days, including one this morning on local radio, and there is a huge degree of contention on the pros and cons of the three new clauses. Nowhere in the guidance do I see a reflection of the current situation, in which such a disparate industry with such disparate views, and with many different stakeholders and interested parties, was given only 10 days’ notice of the proposals.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:26 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
grandad wrote:
Why is it stupid? some of us would like the opportunity to have a 3 year badge and our Councils won't allow it.

The idea in itself makes sense, however in areas that have robust and regular enforcement have genuine concerns said enforcement will end due to no funds to pay for it.

Since when can drivers badge fees be used for enforcement? Even my Council do not include enforcement in their costings.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:47 pm 
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grandad wrote:
Since when can drivers badge fees be used for enforcement? Even my Council do not include enforcement in their costings.

Some do, for example Guildford and more recently Cardiff. When the Auditors catch them at it, they have to find a way to make good. A mere £93.5K in Guildford, a whopping £1.3Million in Cardiff. I am looking forward to finding out the number in my own 'burgh.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:07 am 
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grandad wrote:
Sussex wrote:
grandad wrote:
Why is it stupid? some of us would like the opportunity to have a 3 year badge and our Councils won't allow it.

The idea in itself makes sense, however in areas that have robust and regular enforcement have genuine concerns said enforcement will end due to no funds to pay for it.

Since when can drivers badge fees be used for enforcement? Even my Council do not include enforcement in their costings.

Well they can't, but the proposals also include vehicle licenses.

However the question must be asked is how do councils fund driver's enforcement?

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