CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation) prevention work has been undertaken in relation to Taxi Licensing in Conwy by Conwy County Borough Council Licensing Authority.
As a result of the “Report of Inspection of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council February 2015” undertaken by Louise Casey CB, Conwy’s Licensing unit reviewed its policies and procedures and considered what additional steps they could take in relation to CSE and taxi licensing. Amongst other things, it was decided that:
- Awareness training on CSE for taxi drivers was needed (Police and Social Services support/ input needed for this);
- Better information exchange between partners/ agencies;
- Taxi licensing conditions should be changed to require drivers to hold the BTEC Level 2 Certificate (or equivalent) on the “Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver (QCF)”, which includes training on CSE matters.
Officers subsequently commenced liaison and engagement with Conwy’s Social Services, Community Safety, North Wales Police, Barnardo’s and the local taxi trade. It was decided that a report to the General Licensing Committee of Conwy County Borough Council would be presented setting out the suggested approach that all currently licensed drivers must attend a mandatory CSE awareness session, and at the time their driver licences were required to be renewed, they must also have obtained the BTEC level 2 Certificate (or equivalent) on the “Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver (QCF)”, which enables taxi and private hire drivers to demonstrate evidence of technical competency and underpinning knowledge in relation to their work activities.
The recommendations in the General Licensing Committee report on were agreed on the 21st September 2015, and so in liaison with the above partners, CSE awareness sessions for Conwy’s taxi drivers were planned and undertaken on 25th November 2015. The sessions were extremely well received by the taxi trade, with 300 plus taxi drivers getting the important messages given out, which will hopefully lead to greater levels of public safety and awareness/ prevention of CSE.
Local providers for the BTEC level 2 have been identified and the taxi trade advised of the new mandatory BTEC requirements. Drivers not attending the CSE awareness sessions, or failing to obtain the BTEC and wishing to remain licensed, would be referred to the General Licensing Committee for a determination of whether they were still ‘fit and proper’ to hold a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicle drivers licence.
The Criminal Conviction policy for the issuing of Hackney Carriage and/ or Private Hire Vehicle licences to drivers was also reviewed and strengthened, following agreement at the General Licensing Committee report on 16th March 2015.
It is hoped there will be better CSE awareness and information exchange as a result of the above work, which was led and facilitated by Conwy’s Licensing unit.