Rotherham taxi consultation to beginPublished Tuesday, 4th November 2014
The public consultation on plans to tighten the standards of Rotherham's taxi industry has begun.
From Monday November 3, members of the public as well as the Rotherham taxi industry itself, are being invited to make their views known on the proposed changes to the Council's draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy. If implemented, some commentators are suggesting that this will make Rotherham’s standards the toughest in the country.
For the next eight weeks, views and comments are being invited via the website. People can view the proposed policy and appendices as well as an online questionnaire for completion. The questionnaire is also being sent to all taxi operators in the borough for completion and they will be asked to pass it on to their drivers.
The authority's Licensing Board agreed last week that a new draft policy is needed to raise the standards of the taxi trade operating across the borough.
Members of the Board heard that following the publication of the Jay report in August there has been a significant impact on the public's confidence in the borough's taxi industry.
Cllr Judy Dalton, the Chair of the Licensing Board said that the authority wished to create a top class service for the travelling public.
She said: "Although Rotherham's current policy is compliant with the law and our standards exceed those of some areas, we felt we had to restore public confidence in the local taxi trade so we propose to raise the standards in a variety of areas.
"We hope the industry and the public will respond to the consultation, and share with us their views and advice. We will take this into account and seek to have so we can have any changes in place by April 2015 early next year."
The main changes to the policy include:
- The application and vetting process will see drivers have to successfully complete a BTEC Level 2 Certificate that will ensure drivers understand a wide or matters including customer care, disability awareness, and matters relating to adult and child safeguarding
- A new tougher communication and knowledge test
- Applicants from abroad will face more rigorous tests to prove their previous good character
- More rigorous standards will be applied to the consideration of past criminality, particularly concerning sexual activity, violence, children, vulnerable adults, dishonesty or drug dealing. Anyone who is believed to have committed the most serious violent or sexual offences will be prevented from working as a taxi driver
- Updated vehicle standards will see specific age restrictions for taxis
- Revised standards for smaller limousines
At the moment there are 1,200 drivers registered in Rotherham, 80 operators and 800 vehicles. They operate within Rotherham's current policy that complies with national legislation. The legislation allows for significant variations across the country and is also being reviewed by the Government.