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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:17 pm 
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Hull City Council found guilty of bias in taxi driver training row

A watchdog has ruled Hull City Council was biased in the way it directed people applying for new taxi licences to just one training provider to obtain a necessary qualification.

Until changes were made earlier this year, the council's application pack for would-be taxi drivers only referred to one provider of a mandatory BTEC course.

It involved 150 hours of home revision based on a 175-page training document followed by a three-day classroom course.

In a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, the Humber Taxi Association (HTA) claimed the council unfairly signposted applicants to North Humberside Motor Trades Group Training Association, a charity which provides apprenticeships to the authority's adult education department Hull Training.

In a new report, the Ombudsman said the council had shown show bias towards one of its own sub-contractors by failing to include details of an alternative independent accredited BTEC provider, Humberside Training Associates, which was set up in 2018 with the support of the HTA.

After receiving an initial complaint over the application pack, the watchdog said council agreed to include details of the alternative provider in a revised version.

However, the new pack still only named the same provider and gave contact details while stating: "The BTEC can be obtained through any accredited provider."

The Ombudsman said: "The council failed to take the action required. The revised pack stated any provider could be used but it still in effect, pointed applications to one training provider.

"It took until January 2020, after a complaint to the Ombudsman, for the council to properly address the issue."

The Ombudsman also ruled the council had failed to properly review or renew its contract with the charity after initially setting up and funding the BTEC course as a pilot scheme seven years earlier.

The report said this lack of oversight contradicted Hull Training's own written polices which requires sub-contracted contracts to be reviewed annually.

It said the council's response to complaints by the HTA about this and its links to the sub-contracting company were "not open and transparent".

In a judgement, the Ombudsman said: "The council should apologise to the (Humber Taxi) Association for the lack of transparency in its responses to their complaints and correspondence.

"It should also apologise for the delay in removing Training Provider Y (the Motor Trades Group) from the application pack."

As part of the decision, the council was also ordered to pay £250 to the taxi association to recognise the "time and trouble" it had gone to in pursuing the matter.

David Stuart, a director at Humberside Training Associates, said: "It is a pretty damning report and really shows how independent training providers in the area, including Humberside Training Associates, have suffered as a result of the council's actions.

"More pertinently to the people of Hull, the actions of the council have adversely affected the taxi trade in Hull with many taxi businesses going to the wall and potential drivers not being given a freedom of choice and encouragement to pursue taxiing as a career.

"The council blatantly disadvantaged us as it was clearly inappropriate for the licensing pack to refer to only one provider of the BTEC course, which just happened to be a sub-contractor of its own adult education department."

A city council spokesperson said: "The city council always endeavours to follow a fair approach when recruiting training providers and other outside contractors.

"This is a report from a ruling from June 2020. Since the ruling, the council has begun a full review of taxi driver training, including the knowledge test, and any future provider will be required to undertake a quality assurance process.

"Hull City Council always strives to make sure the city's drivers are trained in accordance with current guidance and are able to provide the high standard of service expected by the public, including drivers having a good working knowledge of the city and being able to communicate this to their passengers."

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:19 pm 
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Quote:
A city council spokesperson said: "The city council always endeavours to follow a fair approach when recruiting training providers and other outside contractors.

"This is a report from a ruling from June 2020. Since the ruling, the council has begun a full review of taxi driver training, including the knowledge test, and any future provider will be required to undertake a quality assurance process.

"Hull City Council always strives to make sure the city's drivers are trained in accordance with current guidance and are able to provide the high standard of service expected by the public, including drivers having a good working knowledge of the city and being able to communicate this to their passengers."

This drives me mad.

All they needed to say was we are sorry, and we have now changed things.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:00 pm 
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Quote:
David Stuart, a director at Humberside Training Associates, said: "It is a pretty damning report and really shows how independent training providers in the area, including Humberside Training Associates, have suffered as a result of the council's actions.

"More pertinently to the people of Hull, the actions of the council have adversely affected the taxi trade in Hull with many taxi businesses going to the wall and potential drivers not being given a freedom of choice and encouragement to pursue taxiing as a career.

"The council blatantly disadvantaged us as it was clearly inappropriate for the licensing pack to refer to only one provider of the BTEC course, which just happened to be a sub-contractor of its own adult education department."

Not entirely clear how what the council did 'sent taxi businesses to the wall' and how potential drivers weren't encouraged to pursue taxiing as a career.

Unless, of course, he means that thier own course was easier to 'pass' than the course that the council was steering applicants towards. Which certainly ties in with the earlier discussion here about the course effectively being an assessment rather than a qualifcation as such, therefore effectively impossible to fail.

And isn't the Humberside Training Associates that complained to the ombudsman an offshoot of or closely related to the Humber Taxi Association, which was the rebranded Humber Private Hire Association :?:

Which makes a mockery of the complainer's point about the council being unfair to 'indepedent' providers of the qualification. Huge conflict of interest if it's in their interests to get as many drivers through the course as possible.

Which is why in turn I don't think organisations like this should be allowed to adminster such courses in the first place [-(


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:28 am 
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Two years ago, Magnus Murray wrote:
“Anybody who wants a career change, and those affected by the adverse effects of Brexit can come in and speak to us because it can be a stopgap for people until they get employment elsewhere."

When he said that in 2019 I assumed he was anti-Brexit, but seems he was actually pro-Brexit, and as a consequence is standing for the council as an independent candidate.

So presumably his point back then about Brexit's 'adverse effects' was not a principled stand against Brexit but rather a recruiting tool. Who'd have expected that? It's an ill wind... :-o


Meet the Brexit-inspired Hull taxi driver standing to be a councillor

https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hu ... xi-5326841

Image
Image: Hull Daily Mail

Outspoken Magnus Murray says he would be available to the public 24 hours a day

A Hull taxi driver has said he was inspired to stand as an independent candidate in next month's local council elections because he felt politicians had "ignored" voters on Brexit.

Magnus Murray, probably best known for his role as secretary of the Hull-based Humber Taxi Association, is standing in Marfleet ward in east Hull.

The taxi driver said his entry into the local elections field followed his "keen interest" in politics, particularly in the aftermath of the 2016 referendum which saw voters side with leaving the EU.

Mr Murray is among the handful of independent candidates are hoping to make a breakthrough in Hull's council elections next month.

At the moment, all 57 seats on the authority are occupied by representatives from the main political parties. Unlike the East Riding where there is long-standing tradition of independent councillors, Hull has seen relatively few in recent years.

In the past, those who did end up as independents at the Guildhall were usually previously members of one of the main parties, having walked away for one reason or another.

Without having the resources of an organised party machine behind them, it's often hard for independent to make an impact during an election campaign, particularly when it comes to delivering leaflets.

Nonetheless, several are still trying to make a name for themselves this year by standing on their own platform.

Mr Murray said he felt politicians had become too "remote" from voters, adding he wanted to be more in touch with and available to them.

He said: "I've always had a keen interest in politics and I've now reached the stage in my life when I can devote more time to it.

"What really inspired me to get more involved was Brexit and what happened afterwards when certain parts of the political establishment actively attempted to ignore what the majority of people voted for, including the three Labour MPs in Hull.

"At the time, I applauded Labour MPs like Caroline Flint in Don Valley because she stood up for her constituents and supported Brexit because they had voted for it.

"She was prepared to put her neck on the line and, ultimately, probably lost her seat in the 2019 general election because she stuck to her principles.

"If I get elected, that's what I will bring to the job of being a councillor. I believe that when you are elected by the people you should represent the people, not carry on doing what you like for various ulterior motives.

"Over the years I've voted for Labour and the Conservatives, a classic floating voter if you like. I'm not at one political extreme or another, probably dead centre for most of my life and I suspect most people are.

"What I believe in is politicians being available 24 hours a day and that's what I would be, not just having a surgery once a month. Things have got too remote, too distant from the average person and I want to change that."

Although he's standing in Marfleet, he actually lives in nearby Bilton.

"I've owned a couple of businesses in Marfleet for 20 years so that's why I decided to stand there.

"As well as my background in taxis, I'm also self-trained in civil litigation and have been involved in that for a long time.

"It interests me because it's about challenging things and putting things right for people, particularly in local government - not just in Hull but in other places like the East Riding and North Lincolnshire where I've also been involved in cases.

"I'm proud to say I've never lost a case yet." [...]


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:28 am 
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Funny too that in the articles about the BTEC etc he looked like a Mr Big in the trade, while now he's been reinvented more as a grasroots driver. Not sure whether that's the media's own portrayal, or whether he maybe thinks it's more of a vote winner if he looks more like a man of the people, or whatever :?

(The final few paragraphs of the article are about the other independent candidates, so left those bits out. But the main focus of the article is certainly on Mr Murray.)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:19 pm 
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Do drivers still actually have mikes?

Dark ages.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:26 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Do drivers still actually have mikes?

Thought that too, but on closer inspection it looks like a charger plugged into his mobile phone.

But, yes, all the offices here still use two-way radios, as far as I know :oops:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:12 pm 
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I still use two way radios as well usually on talk through :wink: much more flexible

and yes it is a charger because you can see the red LED in the pic !

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