Policy on granting driver’s licences
Hull City Council has a policy on granting private hire/hackney carriage driver's licences. Further than satisfying the requirements of the standard application process, the licensing authority has to consider a candidate's suitability to hold a driver's licence. When an application is complete, the application will be considered in its entirety which includes examining the history of a person's convictions and cautions and to establish if these are relevant or not. A decision on the granting of any driver's licence will not be made until the application is complete.
Those drivers who are currently licensed will also have any new convictions and/or cautions scrutinised in respect of the renewal and review of their licences. If it is decided by the licensing section that a conviction or a consistency of convictions raises concerns on their suitability to become a driver or continue as a driver, the application will be referred to the Licensing Committee for members to make a final decision on whether or not he/she is or still is a fit and proper person. They will then inform the person of the decision and choose to grant, refuse, continue or revoke a licence (additional conditions may be attached if the licence is continued as the Committee considers necessary). Continuing with or revocation is only made in respect of those who currently hold a licence.
The policy is in place in order to assist members of the licensing authority' Licensing Committee in their decision-making, to maintain consistency of these decisions and every application being judged on its own merits. Any case that warrants a hearing shall be held in private. The Licensing Committee may depart from policy if it believes that the circumstances of any case merits such a decision and in such cases the committee will give full reasons for the departure.
The primary objective of the licensing authority is to ensure that those licensed to drive taxis are suitable persons to do so. It is not the intention for the authority to punish a person again for a conviction or caution, but to ensure that public safety is not compromised.
Section 51 of the Local Government (Miscellanous Provisions) Act 1976 deals with the grant of a driver's licence and his/her suitability to hold it.
In order to be granted a private hire or hackney carriage driver's licence, the licensing authority has to be satisfied that a person is 'fit and proper'.
The onus is on an applicant to prove this and not for the licensing authority to demonstrate they are not.
There is no absolute definition in what constitutes a 'fit and proper' person. However, the Licensing Committee has to be confident that such people would be able to travel safely and rely on the driver, especially if the passenger may be considered vulnerable.
When considering the grant of a driver's licence, Hull City Council does not discriminate against any individual who has a disability, their religion/faith, or gender, race, colour, sexual orientation and any convictions or cautions they may have.
Every person is treated equally and no application is given treatment so it could be suggested that it is or was 'fast-tracked' or progressed unfairly which is outside the application process and/or policy. Also, no person shall be barred from applying for a licence, although depending on driving, criminal convictions/cautions and the nature of them, their application may be referred to the Licensing Committee. Any person aggrieved by a decision made by the committee may appeal to a Magistrates' Court within 21 days of receiving notification of that decision.