Open Letter to:
Caroline Pidgeon Val Shawcross
Helen Chapman Leon Daniels Garrett Emmerson Boris Johnson
I'm sure Ms Chapman would agree that civil servants have the job of ensuring that a contract is done properly - accurately - on time - and in accordance with the prescribed legislation - so any significant failure would solely be the responsibility of the civil servants.
With this, I am referring to Ms Chapman’s indisputable and corroborable defiance regarding her decision to not issue temporary licenses to taxi drivers who's Bill has been delayed by a backlog in applications made to the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS).
Are those affected to understand that Ms Chapman is acting against the Mayor’s behest, or can they assume it is merely the posturing and appeasement typical of what drivers have come to expect of Boris Johnson?
TFL cannot absolve themselves out of this, the vast majority of renewals clear before the old license expires, and the DBS carrying out these checks have been put under enormous pressure by the recent increase of new Private Hire driver applications, currently running at a minimum of 600 a week.
TFL’s contribution to this backlog is therefore indefensible, who, despite the severity of the situation, vehemently refuse to cap PH licenses even when it is perfectly permissible for them to do so (despite their protestations). I’d like to know how Ms Chapman justifies such an illogical stance?
Public safety is not a viable proposition when juxtaposed to the discrepancies that exist where cases cannot be subjected to a full and comprehensive police check.
The risk involved in granting an interim license to a taxi driver who has completed the necessary paperwork, has remunerated the current licensing authority- a transaction that happens remarkably quickly- and is of previous good character, is miniscule.
Earlier this year, Taxi Leaks editor Mr. Jim Thomas wrote to Sir Peter Hendy drawing his attention the Transport Act of 1985 section 17 subsection(7).
The Act of Parliament states:
‘Where a person holds a licence which is in force when he applies for a new licence in substitution for it, the existing licence shall continue in force until the application for the new licence, or any appeal under this section in relation to that application, is disposed of, but without prejudice to the exercise in the meantime of any power of the licensing authority to revoke the existing licence’
There is no record of any amendments to Act section 17. This disambiguates any concerns and highlights that licenses continue until you either receive a renewal, this applies, even if a suspension or revocation is awaiting an appeal
Any unnecessary delay due to a grossly understaffed administration is no fault of the driver, nor should it be of any consequence. No one should be impoverished by a regulator who refuses to address an insoluble dilemma.
How can Ms Chapman justify upholding mandatory prerequisites that are unachievable? This contradicts the very requirements that TFL themselves impose. Neither should Ms Chapman point the finger elsewhere, this desideratum is solely an insistence of TFL.
Any other organisation open to legitimate scrutiny would never condone such a diabolical administrative procedure. By this equation TFL are systemically failing in their duty to REGULATE, and such blatant dispossession of governance should be addressed in the first instance.
This deplorable situation could be helped if TFL relaxed pressure on the DBS by capping the number of private hire licenses.
Again, it is disingenuous of TFL to state that they do not have the legal power to do so. This is absurd. The law- or its omission thereof- is innominate.
Subsequently, there is nothing intractable that compels or prevents TfL issuing licenses. It’s a nonsense that is being passed off as obliging congruent procedures. Anyone that cares to check, the guidelines refer to a person meeting certain criteria that allows them to apply for a license.
The emphasis is on eligibility. Submitting an application for a licence does not make issuing a license compulsory. Indeed, mitigating circumstances such as the inexorable increase in motor traffic congestion, the ensuing pollution as a result of increased motor traffic, and the insurmountable backlog of DBS applications, are all deterministic factors for capping licenses.
It is my opinion that the implementation of an unjustifiable caveat that is not included in the Transport Act, constitutes maleficence on the part of the licensing authority. Notable also, any adjustments made to the start date of new licenses issued, effectively showing a discontinuation, cannot be considered as anything other than unethical business and political practice.
I am advising drivers who's license renewal has been delayed relating to the above information, especially if the time period has exceeded 60 days, and if they are a member of the UCG, to give them a call. In fact, all drivers who are experiencing intolerable hold ups, I suggest contact representatives at the earliest opportunity.
Yours Faithfully Sean Paul
Threatening letters are being sent to drivers waiting licence renewals.
So, just who is in charge here?
Boris Johnson, or Helen Chapman?