South Ribble taxi driver scrutiny to get tougher

South Ribbles first taxi policy was introduced in July 2016
South Ribbles first taxi policy was introduced in July 2016
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Taxi bosses at South Ribble Council are looking to tighten up their new licensing policy.

The strategy - brought in last July after a high-profile investigation into failings of the licensing department - was the number one recommendation made by independent solicitors who reviewed the matter.

It includes a ‘fit and proper person test’ and qualifications needed and condition of vehicles.

Previously, the authority’s policy could be found within numerous decisions taken by the General Licensing Committee over previous years. Councillor John Rainsbury, committee chairman, said this was the case for 80 per cent of borough councils across the country.

Now officers want to revise the Convictions Policy further, aimed at making it “more robust and to reflect best practice” seen in other authorities.

In particular, the revised policy emphasises the need to take into account “soft intelligence” - stories, narratives, complaints, worries and comments that can’t be reduced to numbers - as well as the traditional ones previously relied on.

A report to the General Licensing Committee for consideration, said: “It is increasingly recognised that a simple reliance on this harder evidence may not equip measures with the full picture needed to make a fully-informed decision under the civil law burden of proof (ie that a driver or applicant is fit and proper on the balance of probabilities).”

It adds that the revisions to the Convictions Policy “will enable members to take all appropriate information into account when reaching their decision, as well as bringing the Council’s approach fully into line with the approach taken by other local authorities.”

The proposal was sent to all 267 Private Hire and Hackney Carriage drivers licensed with the authority and no responses were received.

It is recommended for approval at a full council meeting on Wednesday.