An end of year deadline has been put in place by the Government which has contacted licensing authorities across England for all new taxi and private hire statutory guidance rules to be reviewed.
With regards to the letter issued to the authorities, after the reviews have been finalised, new rules should begin to take effect ‘as early as in 2022’.
A survey sent by the Department for Transport (DfT) has requested the licensing authorities complete it, by January the progress in implementing measures set out in the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards published in July 2020 will be assessed.
To improve consistency in the licensing system the new Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards is expected to be implemented by local authorities, this will aid in reducing the risk of potential harm to children and vulnerable passengers in the process.
A key part of the standards is to conduct a criminal record check every 6 months for drivers, as well as conducting safeguarding training for all drivers to aid them in identifying and responding to passengers that may be being abused or exploited. It has been recommended for licensing authorities to assess whether the use of CCTV would be beneficial or appropriate in their areas, taking into consideration potential privacy issues.
An extra £62.24 per year will be charged to drivers to cover the new statutory standards
“As you may know, the regulation of the trade is only as strong as its weakest link and so we need to raise the standards where they are lacking, this matter is a priority.’’ stated in a letter to Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport.
“To further protect the safety of all passengers it is essential to insert the changes to your policies in order to bring them in line with the Statutory Standards. Some licensing authorities have already begun to implement the Statutory Standards into their new licence applications, this is to be applauded. It is necessary that the authorities ensure the Statutory Standards apply to all licence holders as soon as possible and not just at renewal stage. It is vital to protect the public that these changes are conducted with urgency.
“Covid-19 has thrown about numerous challenges yet authorities have still continued to make important progress. Based on the feedback from other authorities the view is that the review needs to be completed before 31 December 2021, to ensure that any changes required to policies can be implemented as soon as possible in 2022.”