Tighter taxi regulations in Rotherham

Published Friday, 1st May 2015

Residents in Rotherham are once again being asked for their views on tighter regulations being recommended for the borough's taxi trade.

Commissioner Mary Ney, who is responsible for licensing for Rotherham Borough Council, has agreed that a further four-week consultation should begin on a revised new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy.

The aim of the policy, which was first consulted on last autumn, is to significantly raise the standards of the taxi trade currently operating across Rotherham.

If adopted, the amended policy, which takes into account views expressed in last year's public consultation, will apply to both existing and new drivers, ensuring a consistent standard for all taxis.

It includes:

  • Drivers having to complete a BTEC Level 2 Certificate within 12 months, ensuring they understand a wide range of matters including customer care, disability awareness and adult and child safeguarding
  • Specific child sexual exploitation awareness training
  • A new tougher communication and knowledge test for drivers that will require a Level 3 in English and Maths. Applicants that fail it three times will be unable to take the test again for a period of 12 months
  • The requirement that all drivers will subscribe to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), enabling checks on the DBS to be carried out at any time
  • Operators also receiving penalty points if they do not take responsibility for drivers and vehicles they employ
  • Applicants who have not been resident in the UK will face additional requirements to evidence their good character in the absence of UK criminal record checks
  • More rigorous standards applied to the consideration of past criminality, particularly concerning sexual offences and violence. The policy will apply immediately to all current drivers
  • Licence holders will have to appeal to the Magistrates Court rather than the Licensing Board if they wish to challenge a suspension or revocation of a licence
  • Updated vehicle standards will see specific age restrictions for taxis implemented on a phased programme
  • CCTV systems will be required in all vehicles within 12 months of the policy being adopted

There are currently 1,200 drivers registered in Rotherham, 80 operators and 800 vehicles, and the authority has been liaising closely with trade associations to discuss the proposals.

Commissioner Ney urged the public to make their views known on the amended proposals.

She said: "I would welcome the views of everyone on the proposed changes, whether they are taxi drivers, operators or members of the public.

"At the heart of the new policy lies a commitment to the protection of the public, the safeguarding of children and the vulnerable, and the prevention of crime and disorder.

“The policy seeks to set a standard that is among the highest in the country with the intention of both protecting the public and rebuilding confidence in the taxi trade following the Jay and Casey Reports.

"Local taxi drivers play a key role as ambassadors for the borough and our aim is to ensure that they, together with operators and vehicles, provide the highest quality service.

"The policy will make it extremely difficult for disreputable individuals to operate within the Rotherham licensed trade."

Views and comments about the revised policy can be made via the Council website 29 May 2015.

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