Part 1 - Background, Enquiries, Appointments and About this Document
We have the responsibility for licensing Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles, Drivers and Operators within the Borough of Welwyn Hatfield.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council ("the Council"), has the responsibility for licensing Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles, Drivers and Operators within the Borough of Welwyn and Hatfield. In carrying out this work the main aims of the Council are to protect the public, encourage and support legal compliance with taxi and private hire legislation and support and develop economic growth within the Borough.1 Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles have a specific role to play in an integrated transport system.
They are a flexible form of public transport that can play an increasingly important role in improving accessibility and sustainable travel. They aroused by all groups and are able to provide safe, secure and comfortable transport, providing an on-request 'door to door' service in various circumstances, including where public transport may not be available, e.g. outside 'normal' hours of operation such as in the evenings or on Sundays, in rural locations or for those with mobility difficulties.
All correspondence regarding the work of the Hackney Carriage Office should be addressed to:
Hackney Carriage Office
The Council Offices
Welwyn Garden City
Telephone: 01707 357984
Appointments at the office
The Hackney Carriage Licensing Office will issue pre-arranged appointments to individuals applying for or renewing licences. The Hackney Carriage Office is a small, busy team which involves officers working outside of the office, therefore all appointments should be booked in advance.
It will generally not be possible to meet with an officer without an appointment.
Should you require an appointment for any reason between the hours of 9.30am to 3.30pm Tuesday to Friday you should contact the Hackney Carriage Office on 01707 357984.
Appointments will be offered on a strict first come, first served basis. There is parking for three vehicles undergoing inspection, at the rear of the council offices. These bays are clearly marked. This is the only place that you are authorised to park for a vehicle inspection. If your appointment is not for a vehicle re-licence/inspection please do not use this bay and find alternative parking arrangements. All the 'Council' car parks are operated by a separate contractor and are covered by ANPR cameras.
If you use one of these car parks and receive a fixed penalty notice, it is your responsibility to either pay or appeal it. An appointment at the office is not a valid reason for not following the car park conditions.
About this document
This guidance document does not replace the legislation governing Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Operators, nor does it set out what that legislation is. This guidance sets out the approach the Council will undertake in exercising its discretion in carrying out its regulatory functions whilst considering, or making decisions on applications, and is a supplement to the corporate enforcement policy. Nothing in this guidance undermines the rights of any person(s) to apply for authorisation- under the licensing regime and each application/case will be considered on it sown individual merits. Where it is necessary for the Council to deviate from this guidance document, clear reasons for doing so will be provided.
Links to other documents
As well as the corporate enforcement policy, this guidance document needs to be used and read in conjunction with other relevant documents, including the following:
- The relevant and current national legislation;
- Welwyn Hatfield Council Constitution;
- The Council's current set of terms and conditions;
- The current byelaws;
- The Council's regulatory service standards;
- The Council's corporate complaints, compliments and comments procedures;
- Ministry of Justice guidance on simple cautions.
Consultation, document development and review
The development of this guidance is overseen by the Council's Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The process for developing the initial guidance and updating it in future is set out below:
- Research and evidence gathering
- Initial draft prepared. Consultation with legal services
- Draft finalised in light of comments from legal services and a covering report prepared
- Draft submitted to Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (EOSC) for members to consider and agree that it is released for public, (including trade and partner agencies) consultation
- Public consultation, (including trade and partner agencies)
- Consideration of responses to consultation
- Redrafting of policy in light of consultation
- Finalised document and covering report submitted to EOSC
- Consideration by EOSC, and if in agreement, document sent to Cabinet
- Consideration by Cabinet, and if in agreement, Cabinet to recommend to Full Council that the guidance is agreed and adopted.
This guidance will be kept under review and amended as and when necessary to reflect significant changes in legislation. In any event, the guidance will be reviewed every 5 years.
1 Further details of the council's key priorities are set out in the Council Business Plan