Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Suite. View directions

Items
No. Item

15.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Cllr Gary Harding and Cllr Jordan Meade attended as his substitute.

 

16.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday, 22 September 2021 were signed by the Chair.

 

17.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Cllr Nirmal Khabra declared an interest in Item 5 Taxi Tariff as he was a taxi driver in the Borough.

 

18.

Taxi Tariff pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Minutes:

The Committee were presented with the outcome of the recent consultation with Gravesham-licenced Hackney Carriage drivers on the bi-annual taxi tariff review.

 

The Regulatory Services Manager guided Members thorough the report and gave some background information on the consultation with the taxi trade and the outcome of that consultation.

 

The Committee noted that by the end of the consultation period a total of 65 drivers had responded, which represented 40% of the taxi trade. A summary of the responses to the consultation was listed at 2.4 of the report but 66.2% of drivers who responded were in favour of an increase to the flag with the single most popular option being to increase the flag by 20p to £3.00.

 

The Regulatory Services Manager advised that for the purposes of benchmarking, the table at 3.4 of the report showed where Gravesham would sit in the league table based on each of the four consultation options set out in section 1.3 of this report. The Committee were reminded that the results were indicative only and based on all other Council’s tariffs remaining the same, which was unlikely to happen in practice.

 

In response to a Member’s question, the Regulatory Services Manager explained that the Taxi policy required all taxi drivers to be dressed reasonably smartly; it was agreed that the Licensing Team would send all drivers a polite reminder to dress reasonably smartly while working.

 

Members were in general agreement with the option of increasing the flag by 20p to £3.00 noting the rising living cost, increased fuel costs, the number of people who used taxis and ensuring that all customers were receiving an efficient and safe service.

 

The Chair agreed with Cllr Meade and asked that it be minuted that the local taxi service should be widely promoted by the Council as the safest and most reliable form of taxi transport in Gravesham.

 

It was agreed that:

 

  • The Portfolio Holder would approve any changes recommended under their  delegated powers as set out in Annex 1.6 of the Council’s Constitution and authorise the Regulatory Services Manager to proceed with and complete the tariff-setting process
  • Members endorsed the next review of the tariff to commence no later than autumn 2023 in accordance with the previously agreed two-yearly timetable

 

19.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Minutes:

The Committee were presented with the proposed amendments to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and the associated consultation methodology.

 

The Regulatory Services Manager outlined key points from the report concerning the proposed policy revisions for:

 

  • Vehicle Emissions

 

-       From 1 April 2025, all vehicle licence applications for newly licenced vehicles (i.e. all applications other than those to ‘renew’ an existing vehicle licence for the same vehicle by the same holder) must be for vehicles that are powered wholly by electricity.

-       From 1 April 2030, all vehicle licence applications must be for vehicles that are powered wholly by electricity.

 

  • Vehicle Inspections and MOT Tests

 

-       All additional MOT tests currently required by the Council beyond those required by Road Traffic legislation (i.e. when vehicles are 1, 1 ½, 2 and 2 ½ years old, and then at the 6-month point between each annual MOT), will be replaced with a safety and standards inspection, to be carried out by appropriately qualified technicians at the council’s vehicle workshop located at the Brookvale Depot, or such other place as the council may reasonably require.

-       All routine vehicle licensing inspections (e.g. the application inspections carried out as part of new applications and annual renewal applications thereafter) currently carried out by Licensing Officers, will instead be carried out by technicians at the council’s vehicle workshop located at the Brookvale Depot.

 

The Chair asked that Members consider the proposed policy revision concerning Vehicle Emissions first and asked for questions.

 

The Regulatory Services Manager fielded questions from the Committee and explained that:

 

·         There were currently no grants or incentives available that could be given to taxi drivers from the Council for moving over to electric vehicles but in the future, the Licensing Team could take that into account when setting the annual licence fee provisions

·         It was expected that existing drivers would probably renew their licence with a petrol or diesel vehicle just before the 2025 deadline in order to benefit from using that vehicle right up to 2030. The Licensing Team were happy that there wouldn’t be a significant burden on the existing trade with the proposed policy revisions

·         It was possible that some new drivers may be deterred by the electric vehicle provision but it was a route that most Councils were following so there wouldn’t be many alternatives for new taxi drivers anywhere else.  In addition, any new drivers considering coming into the trade for the first time would be making that decision in the knowledge of the electric vehicle requirements. All vehicles would eventually have to move over to electric; statistically there had been a 66% growth in the sales of electric vehicle since 2019

·         Work is currently underway to find a dedicated area solely for taxis to charge their vehicles; the local taxi trade would be consulted on the decision

 

The Committee raised concerns about:

 

  • Implementing the policy without having satisfactory infrastructure in place; a fully electric taxi service would require electric charging points in the Town Centre  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Street Champions and Great British Spring Clean Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

The Committee was presented with a report on the Street Champions initiative and the Great British Spring Clean.

 

The Waste & Compliance Officer updated Members on the improvements made to volunteer litter picking activities in the Borough through the 'Street Champions' initiative, which launched in January 2020, outlined key figures from the report and also provided Members with an update on the proposed future developments to the scheme.

 

Members were also given an overview of the Ward Co-Ordinator role and informed that all Members were welcome to volunteer to be Ward Co-Ordinators for their respective Wards.

 

In response to Members questions, the Waste & Compliance Officer and the Director (Environment) & Deputy Chief Executive explained that:

 

  • As part of the Street Champion initiative, the volunteers report to the Council on a monthly basis which gives the team data at Ward level but it would be too difficult to track street level data due to the amount of streets volunteers may clean. The first data reported to the team was being counted and would be reported in December; that data would show the team who made the report and what they reported i.e. how much rubbish did they collect. Using that data, the team would be able to see what individuals had worked really hard and options would be explored in the future as to how to reward individual. Further reports would be brought to the Committee on the work of the street champions in the future 
  • The Waste & Compliance Officer advised instructions on what vegetation could be cut back, when it should be cut back and where the vegetation waste should go could be circulated to the Street Champions outside of the meeting
  • The Street Champion webpage and subsequent communications with volunteers will clarify that volunteers are able to do as little or as much as volunteer activity as they wish - there are no set hours for volunteers to commit to.All of the information and data that is collected from the Street Champions would be shared with all Members as well as local rubbish pick up events around the Borough; all Members will be made aware even if it isn’t in their ward. If no Member wanted to be a Ward Co-Ordinator in a certain ward then officers would still approve equipment and share information directly with the Street Champion volunteers for that ward. It was hoped that many Members would become involved in some way and to have at least one dedicated Ward Co-Ordinator in each ward

 

Members raised the point that many wards had more than one Member and each had different roles; ward Members could nominate one Member from  each ward to be the Ward–Co-Ordinator.

 

After further discussion, the Chair advised that he would draft a letter to all Members explaining the role of the Ward Co-Ordinator and ask for nominations.  The Chair advised that he would send the letter to Cllr Meade first.

 

The Committee congratulated the street champions and applauded the level of work they had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Corporate Performance Report: Q2 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee were presented with an update against the Performance Management Framework, as introduced within the Council’s Corporate Plan, for Quarter Two 2021-22 (July to September 2021).

 

Appendix Two to the report provided Members of the Operational Services Committee with a statistical overview of the Council’s performance against the Corporate Plan for Quarter Two 2021-22, covering the period July to September 2021.

 

The Chair went through the report page by page and asked for Member discussion on the performance indicators. 

 

Cllr Ridgers noted the improvement in PI 4 - % of broadly compliant food establishments and the Regulatory Services Manager explained that businesses were recovering from the pandemic and it was likely that those figures would continue to improve.

 

The Committee noted the information contained within the report.