Venue: Committee Room 1, Town Hall, Chesterfield, S40 1LP
Contact: Brian Offiler 01246 345229
Declaration of Members' and Officers' Interests relating to Items on the Agenda
No declarations of interest were received.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor V Diouf and Inspector Nicholls.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 October, 2017 were agreed as a true record.
Wendy Blunt, Health and Wellbeing Officer, and Lauren Curry, Alzheimers’ Society, invited to attend.
Wendy Blunt and Lauren Curry gave a presentation on issues related to dementia and opportunities for operators and drivers to become more dementia friendly, referring to a growing number of people diagnosed with dementia in Derbyshire (currently 14,000) and across the country.
Possible actions for operators and drivers included attending a dementia awareness session (45 minutes), adapting working processes (e.g. pre-paid accounts) and revising office layouts (e.g. removing black mats). It was noted that providing travel options benefitted not only people with dementia, but also businesses in terms of increased competitive advantage and brand reputation.
It was recognised that many licensed drivers were experienced in providing assistance to people with disabilities, including dementia, and it was confirmed that drivers could contact the Police (using the Herbert protocol) if they were concerned about a passenger’s safety.
Further information and training was available from the Alzheimer’s Society, including training to be a ‘Dementia Champion’ (who could then deliver awareness training to others), provision of the ‘I’m a Dementia Friend’ logo for display in vehicles (subject to an appropriate exemption within the Licensing Policy) and online awareness training.
Representatives were encouraged to contact Wendy Blunt or Lauren Curry to follow up any of the training opportunities.
In his absence Inspector Nicholls had submitted the reported crime figures for the period October - December, 2017 for the Chesterfield and the Bolsover and North East Derbyshire Policing sections, totalling 27 reports, which included:
23 – making off without payment
1 – criminal damage
2 – assault on driver
1 – racially aggravated offence, where driver is victim
The outcomes from investigation of these reported crimes were:
12 – restorative justice
7 - suspect identified (1 sentenced, 1 charged, 5 investigation ongoing)
8 – undetected
Resignation of Trade Representative, Stephen Aldersley
It was reported that Stephen Aldersley had notified his wish to resign as a representative of private hire vehicle licence holders on the Taxi Consultative Committee. Members expressed concern that a respected representative wished to resign and agreed that the Chair and relevant officers follow this up with Stephen to see if he was prepared to continue as a representative.
In the event of Stephen confirming his wish to resign from the Committee, it was agreed to commence the process to invite nominations for a replacement representative of private hire vehicle licence holders.
Further to Minute No. 16, Trevor Durham presented a draft revised version of the Licensing Policy, which aimed to make the policy document easier to understand whilst maintaining the necessary rigour required in a quasi-judicial process.
Trade representatives were asked to let Trevor have any comments on the revised draft, which would be presented to the Appeals and Regulatory Committee, following which there would be a formal consultation period, prior to the revised policy being introduced.
Derbyshire County Council Highways Issues
Further to Minute No. 14, Simon Tranter reported that some objections had been received to the Traffic Regulation Order proposing the use of bus lanes by hackney carriages. These related to concerns about road safety if a large number of hackney carriages, including those from other authorities working as private hire vehicles in Chesterfield, used the bus lanes. The Council would not have the legal power to stop such vehicles using the bus lanes.
It was therefore proposed that the use of bus lanes by hackney carriages be introduced on an experimental basis for an 18 months period to enable the impact to be monitored. If there were no issues during this period, this would then become permanent. It was confirmed that an experimental period could not exceed 18 months.
It was noted that work to install the necessary signs and lighting would need to be completed before the 18 months period began.
It was agreed that the use of bus lanes by hackney carriages to be introduced for an 18 months experimental period be proposed to the County Council Cabinet Member for decision, and that the Taxi Consultative Committee be updated on progress regularly.
Actions Taken by the Licensing Team since the last Meeting
Trevor Durham reported that during the past three months one driver’s licence had been revoked and four had been suspended (one for excessive points and three for not providing up-to-date medicals).
25 vehicles had failed the six-monthly vehicle test, although it had not been necessary to issue penalty points in respect of any of these cases.
Chris Brown requested that where vehicle tests were carried out at the Eckington test station at night, the licence plates be available at that time (for vehicles which passed the test), rather than the driver having to return the following day to collect, which was time consuming and costly, especially for individual or small operators.
Trevor Durham agreed to attempt to resolve this through the contract for the test station with North East Derbyshire District Council. It was confirmed that for tests undertaken at the Doe Lea test station, plates would still need to be collected from Eckington, as the Doe Lea station was not part of the contract.