Secretary of State approves return of licensing powers to RotherhamPublished Wednesday, 14th December 2016
Rotherham Council has welcomed the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to hand back licensing powers to the authority, with immediate effect.
This allows the authority to resume all decision making on licensing matters, including for hackney carriage and private hire taxi services, for the first time since February 2015 without the consent of Government-appointed Commissioners.
The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP has today (13 December) written to Chief Executive Sharon Kemp to confirm the return of the service to the Council. This followed the submission of evidence from Commissioners, setting out the improvements made to the Council's licensing function and that elected members have the skills and capability to take on the decision making role.
Rotherham Council’s Commissioner Mary Ney, Commissioner with responsibility for licensing, will continue to maintain an overview of decisions and sit in an advisory capacity with members, in the few cases which were deferred from the Commissioners previous hearing and on a sample basis and at the request of the Chair. Commissioner Ney said: "The Council has worked hard to implement a range of improvements to its Licensing Function and I welcome the decision to return these powers to the Council as a result.
"Public safety and confidence is now at the heart of the Council's licensing service and the new Hackney Carriage and Taxi Licensing Policy, the benefits of which we know passengers are already experiencing.
"Whilst we understand that the Council is still on its improvement journey and we are focused on this and rebuilding trust and confidence in the way services are managed and delivered, this is another significant step forward in that journey."
Leader of the Council, Cllr Chris Read said: "This is welcome news and is testament to the strength of the work undertaken by the Council over the last 20 months, alongside Commissioners, to deliver necessary improvements. We've lots more to do but it’s a big step in the right direction, for the Council and for Rotherham."
Rotherham Council’s Chair of the Licensing Board Cllr Sue Ellis added: “This decision reflects the changes that Rotherham’s licensing board, working closely with the Commissioners, has introduced to ensure services are operating effectively.
“Rotherham’s taxi drivers and vehicles are now working to one of the most stringent policies in the country, and we continue to make good progress in regaining public trust by setting high standards to ensure the protection and safety of the public.”