Taxi Licensing Fees Freedom of Information Request

2017 to 2020

BLTOA sent a FOI request into Blackpool Council, the request was asking for the revenue amounts on a yearly basis from 2017 to 2020.

A meeting was arrange to discuss the FOI with some senior management and heads of departments.

The following figures were discussed at the meeting, these figures are taken from the FOI response and assessed as follows:

  1. Average annual revenue from Taxi Licensing Fees over 3 years = £330,000 (Note: Revenue from other licensing activity = Approximately £450,000 bringing the licensing departments total revenue to approximately £780,000 annually).
  2. The below figures are the main expenses that the annual Taxi revenue pays for.
  3. Average annual licensing department salary bill = £130,000 (That figure is 45% of the bill, the other 55% is paid from other licensing activity revenue and is approximately £150,000 totalling £280,000 in wages for 6 to 8 staff).
  4. Average annual other costs paid from the Taxi fees = £200,000.
  5. The above £200,000 is spent on the following: (2020 as an example)
    1. Pit Test Centre = £79,000
    2. Building Running Costs = £24,000
    3. Registration & Inspection = £7,200
    4. Private Contractors = £9,800
    5. Legal Team = £31,000
    6. ICT = £14,377
    7. Other Materials = £7,800
    8. Consultants = £518
    9. Transactional Services = £1,290
    10. Custermer First = £2,600
    11. HR = £2,135
    12. Highways = £10,000
    13. Democratic Services = £16,900
    14. There are more headings the money is spent on.

BLTOA & Council Meeting

BLTOA requested the figures to be broken down in detail to explain why such high numbers are going to other departments.

BLTOA are working from the understanding that Taxi Licensing Fees are only to be used for Taxi Operations, and not to be used to fund other areas of council expenditure, keep this in mind for the below information.

  • Pit Tests – The £60 fee is split approximately £12 to the licensing department £48 to the CVMU.  The CVMU head of department stated the £48 pays for the mechanics 45 minutes time it takes to conduct a pit test.  No other explanation of what the £48 pays for.
  • All the above figures were discussed and others, and no credible explanation was given for the following:
    • Legal Fees
    • Admin Building Costs
    • Registration & Inspection
    • Other Materials
    • Democratic Services
    • Highways
    • Transactional Services
    • Etc etc
    • Towards the end of the meeting the council accountancy department representative said the council use a formula to calculate what each department can claim off the licensing departments revenue, that gives the impression the money is given using a percentage system and not actual work that other departments conduct.
  • The meeting concluded without sufficient information being given.

The current working assessment is that licensing fees are being used to fund other departments disproportionately to any actual work they may conduct for the licensing department to full-fill its role of administrating (Taxi operations) the Taxi Policy, and it appears there is scope to lower all Taxi fees.  Thats only an assessment of the current information, the council may come back and clarify other points, and conclude the matter.