Published October 24, 2018 at 10:55
Rossendale Council has welcomed news that the Government is looking at overhauling national standards for taxi drivers in a move to improve passenger safety.
The news comes via a new publication that is the result of a Government-backed review into the industry.
It makes 34 recommendations across a wide range of areas including an urgent review of legislation and introduction of a national minimum standard for taxi licensing.
Individual recommendations include legislation to enable licensing authorities to carry out enforcement and compliance checks and take appropriate action and that it be a condition of licensing that drivers cooperate; a statutory definition of both ‘plying for hire’ and ‘pre-booked’; as well as the urgent review of the evidence and case for restricting the number of hours that taxi drivers work.
Many of the recommendations aimed at Local Authorities, Rossendale Council has already introduced to its taxi licensing policy in 2016 in order to ensure it maintains the highest standards in public safety.
Some of the key changes brought in have included; enhanced DBS checks for all drivers, involvement with Greater Manchester Authorities in the establishment of the National Database of revoked drivers, coloured livery, mandatory CCTV in all licensed vehicles as well as new and existing drivers to complete a basic skills test prior to grant or renewal to include a local knowledge test.
The Council has also introduced compulsory training in Safeguarding, CSE and disability awareness for all new and existing drivers.
Councillor Jackie Oakes, Portfolio Holder for Operations, said:
We have been lobbying for Government to get a grip of this issue for some time. Taxi licensing laws need to be fit for the 21st Century and so we are pleased that this report recommends actions on inconsistent standards across the country.
In Rossendale we have some of the most stringent licensing policies in the country which we started to introduce in 2016 – including many of the recommendations included here – and we have been recognised as best practice for this.
I hope this is taken forward so we can a have a true national standard that everyone can work from that puts public safety first, and this includes drivers.