The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued best practice guidance on taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) licensing since 2006 to assist local authorities that have responsibility for the regulation of this sector.
This has recently been updated to take into account stakeholder views and changes in the way the sector operates.
DfT is seeking views from the public, licensing authorities and the taxi and PHV industry on the proposed updated version.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks from 28 March 2022 until 23:45 on 20 June 2022.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton said:
"The biggest change is the ease with which passengers are able to engage services – using an app on a mobile phone, for example, was something unimaginable in 2010.
"The increase in services has fuelled increases in the number of drivers in the sector, making a fundamental change to the way the industry works and how these services are delivered.
"A further challenge is the transition to zero emission vehicles to mitigate the impact of travel on air quality and climate change.
"Licensing authority polices should reflect the lead and assistance that government is providing in these areas. It is important they provide the certainty the sector needs so that it is able to plan ahead and invest.
"Zero emission vehicles have far fewer moving parts than their petrol and diesel counterparts. They are easier and cheaper to maintain, and far more efficient to run.
"While these benefits will be attractive for the private car owner, they could be transformative for the taxi and private hire vehicle industry.
"A constant message I hear from stakeholders is the need for consistency in standards across licensing authorities.
"I know that in respect of safeguarding issues, which are covered by the government’s Statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards, there was a great consensus around what those standards should be.
"I am aware that this is not necessarily the case in respect of some of the issues covered in the best practice guidance. I appreciate that with over 270 licensing authorities in England there are going to be significant variations and, because of this, the recommendations are unlikely to be welcomed by all, but I am keen that we try and reach a consensus where possible.
"In developing the consultation on best practice guidance, DfT has carefully considered the views expressed by a wide variety of stakeholders through ongoing engagement with the sector about what will make services even better than they are today.
"A key message is that the government needs to take a position on the important issues in the guidance, and the consultation reflects this.
"The government’s commitment to introduce legislation, when parliamentary time allows, to enable the setting of national minimum licensing standards remains.
"The measures in the final version of the best practice guidance, and the statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards issued in 2020, are likely to be the starting point when setting any such future legislation.
"The importance of licensing authorities to the safety of the public and the effective functioning of the sector cannot be downplayed, and the intention of the guidance is to help licensing authorities in carrying out this important job.
"This is a crucial consultation on a range of significant issues and I urge you to share your views to help shape the final version of the best practice guidance, we are keen to hear what you have to say.
"We have a shared vision for a safe and thriving sector and it is key that this is at the heart of the policies of licensing authorities that regulate the sector."
IoL Response to Consultation
The Institute of Licensing will respond to the consultation and this survey is intended to gather views from IoL members to inform the IoL response.
The questions in the survey replicate the questions in the consultation to ensure accurate representation.
This Survey will close on 31st May 2022.