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Private hire operators' licences

Under the provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 no person shall in a controlled district operate any vehicle as a private hire vehicle without having a current Private Hire Operator’s licence. A Local Authority shall not grant a licence unless they are satisfied that the applicant is a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold an Operator’s licence. A private hire operator’s licence will be valid for five years.   

In determining whether an applicant is ’fit and proper’ to operate private hire vehicles and drivers in Charnwood the Council shall have regard to the following factors:

  • Any previous convictions of relevance
  • The applicant’s financial standing
  • The applicant’s general character
  • The applicant’s knowledge and experience of the private hire profession
  • The applicant understanding of his/her responsibility as a private hire operator and their commitment to abide by the terms and conditions of the private hire operator’s licence.
  • Immigration status (see Schedule 5 re ‘right to licence’) 

Only when the Council is satisfied on all these points will it consider granting/renewing a private hire operator’s licence. However, before granting the licence the Council will have to be satisfied that the premises from which the applicant intends to operate is suitable.

When the Council is satisfied with the fitness of the applicant and the suitability of the applicant’s premises then a private hire operator licence can be granted/renewed subject to standard terms and conditions plus any other special conditions which the Council deems necessary.


The Applicant’s Premises

The applicant’s premises MUST be within the Borough of Charnwood. (those based outside the Borough prior to this Policy coming into place continue to have grandfather rights to that agreement unless they let their existing operator’s licence lapse).  Written planning permission for the premises to be used as a private hire booking office should be obtained from Charnwood Borough Council Planning Department prior to submitting an application for a private hire operator’s licence. Where planning permission is deemed unnecessary then evidence of this must be produced in writing.

Once the appropriate Planning Approval has been obtained the application can be considered. However if the applicant proposes to allow members of the public to wait at the premises from which the applicant intends to operate, before granting the operator’s licence, a Licensing Enforcement Officer (s), will inspect the premises to ensure that they are suitable for accommodating members of the public and are properly furnished. 


Applying

Please read pages 26-32 and Schedule 3 of the Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing Policy for detailed information on the private hire operator application process and all requirements.


Processing the Application

Once a fully completed application form (including the fee) has been received by the Licensing Section accompanied by references and evidence of planning approval (if necessary) any inspections or meetings, which are necessary, will take place between the applicant and the Licensing Enforcement Officer.  Once the Licensing Enforcement Officer is satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person, the Licensing Section will issue the licence. The licence will last for 5 years.

The Licensing Sub-Committee will hear any applications referred as a result of using  the Enforcement Convictions Scheme (Schedule 4), concerns over financial reference or where the Licensing Enforcement Officer considers that the applicant is not a fit and proper person.

The Council will aim to process an application within 10 days of receipt if all the additional supporting information has been received (e.g. subject access search/statutory declaration, references, planning consent, including financial etc.).

Successful applicants will have their licence granted by the Licensing Section subject to the standard terms and conditions plus any additional conditions which members may deem necessary.


Renewal of Licence

The Operator’s licence must be renewed in the fifth year. The form, together with the appropriate licence fee and documentation must be submitted to the Licensing Section at least 10 working days prior to the expiry of the current licence.

Providing there have been no serious breaches of the licence conditions in the lifetime of the previous licence then the licence will normally be renewed by the Licensing Section. If there has been a serious breach of the licence conditions then the application will be referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee for consideration.

If an existing licensee fails to renew their licence prior to its expiry, then the Council shall not renew the licence but the person/organisation concerned will have to submit a new application. Including a new Statutory Declaration/Basic Disclosure check, written confirmation from their banker confirming that they are of good financial standing and new character references which might mean you cannot work for a period of time.

The Council has power to revoke or suspend an operator’s licence for any offence under, or non-compliance with, Part II of the 1976 Act, for any conduct on the part of the operator which appears to the Council to render him unfit to hold an operator’s licence, for any material change in any of the circumstances of the operator on the basis of which the licence was granted, or for any other reasonable cause.


Change of Premises/Additional Premises

Should a licensed private hire Operator wish to either change or add premises, then planning permission for the new premises must be obtained if necessary or written confirmation provided to the Licensing Officer that planning permission is not required. 

Notification of such a change must be made to the Council, in writing, at least 21 days in advance of the change.

Note - if the applicant proposes to allow members of the public to wait at the premises from which the applicant intends to operate, a Licensing Enforcement Officer(s), will inspect the premises to ensure that they are suitable for accommodating members of the public and are properly furnished.

The applicant’s premises MUST be within the Borough of Charnwood.

Subject to approval being granted, the address of the new premises will be noted and a new licence will be issued on request.


Safeguarding Awareness Training

As part of the new Private Hire Policy, all new and existing private hire operators will need to attend Safeguarding Awareness Training.

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