Blackpool Council Licensing Policy
Consultation, Advice & Legal Notice 2022/3

The new Blackpool council licensing policy will affect the trade for the next 5 to 10 years.  Obviously things can change at short notice due to central government legislation etc.

Without prejudice BLTOA have been working to assist the council in operating legally, proactively, and to improve the taxi trade in Blackpool.

The following outlines some of the input over the last 18 moths has been:

Licensing Fees

  1. In early 2022 BLTOA informed the council about their procedures not conforming to the laws and regulations over the last decades and bltoa are willing to work with them to fix the issues as explained below:
  • Licensing fees being accounted for unlawfully as one lump sum.
  • Licensing fees being set by the PPC for the last few decades have been unlawful.
  • Each section of licensing must be accounted for separately.  There should be 7 licensing fee accounts = Hackney vehicle & badge.  PH vehicle & badge. Horse drawn carriages & badge. PH Operator licenses.
  • No cross funding of accounts should happen.  Blackpool council have been cross funding for decades.   Examples: If a PH driver has a legal issue about the vehicle and goes to court, the PH account must pay for that issue, not hackney or Horse drawn carriage.  The same goes for all other accounts, each account pays or its own operation.  This has serious implications on Fee Costs for each account over the last 40 years, hence, PPC setting unlawful fees.  The potential restitution figures are high.
  • Licensing department staff funding.  Each staff members salary must be accounted for correctly.  The current system of one lump sum being taken from licensing fees and paying all staff is not correct.  All licensing staff are paid for by the trades licensing fees.
  • The council have verbally informed bltoa they have implemented new accounting procedures as of approximately March 2023.  Nothing has been received in writing from the council explaining how the new accounting system will be operating.
  • After being informed about the above, council senior management played a key role and set the tone for moving forward and that was appreciated by BLTOA.


Vehicle Inspections

  1. In December 2022 bltoa informed the council about unlawful practices with regards to vehicle inspections:
  • A letter sent to the council from bltoa explaining their unlawful activity in Dec 2022 did not receive a response from the council licensing department.  The letter clearly stated 3 other councils (Barnsley, Skipton, Wakefield) who have been caught unlawfully inspecting vehicles and subsequently stopped the practice.
  • On the 20/02/2023 a legal licensing expert wrote to the council and explained in detail how the councils policy was unlawful.
    • Short version:
    • Vehicles can legally be inspected 3 times in a rolling 12 months (CVMU or MOT).
    • The current licensing policy involves either a vehicle being inspected 4 or 3 times within a 12 month period.  The 4th inspection is unlawful and beyond the councils powers.
    • If a vehicle is sent to the CVMU for testing during ad-hoc enforcement by licensing at anytime, that inspection is unlawful.  Unless the licensing policy changes to 1 annual inspection for all vehicles (which actually means 2, leaving 1 more inspection for ad-hoc)
  • The council have inspected lots of vehicles 4 times or more within a 12 month period over the last 10 to 15 years.  The vehicle owners will be entitled to take legal action and claim restitution for all fees paid for inspections above 3 in a 12 month period.
  • Bltoa legal representative has requested an itemised list of vehicles/owners going back as far as possible, detailing which vehicles have been inspected more than 3 times in a 12 months period.
  • The council have failed to respond within the FOI allowed 20 working days.
  • The formal complaint procedures available to bltoa are being considered.
  • On-street vehicle enforcement can happen at anytime 24/7 and is not effected by the above point.  Any on-street inspections that find a fault and a notice given to the driver, the vehicle must be presented to the acting council officer when rectified so the vehicle can continue operating.  Note: If that happens to be on a weekend, the rectified fault will probably not be signed off by a council officer until Monday. Regular driver checks will stop that from happening.


Taxi Liaison Meeting 28 March 2023

    1. Council representatives stated they do not agree with the vehicle inspection policy being unlawful and will continue.  Bltoa have requested to see the councils legal advice that states the inspection policy is legal.   That legal advice has been requested twice over the last 3 months and the council have not responded.

BLTOA are seeking further information on exactly what licensing fee accounting procedures are in place now, and speaking to our legal representative to move things forward about vehicle inspections, and restitution outcomes.