Chapter 7 - LICENSING OF BOOKING OFFICES
7.1. Legislation introduced in 2009 requires licensing authorities to license the use of premises used for the taking of bookings for taxis and private hire cars in the interests of public safety and crime prevention (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2009/145/contents/made).
7.2. The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Booking Offices) Order 2009 ("The Order") was made on 2 April 2009 and came into effect on 16 November 2009. It provides that prescribed booking offices (those which take bookings for 4 or more relevant vehicles i.e. taxis or private hire cars licensed under Section 10 of the 1982 Act) must hold a booking office licence issued by the local authority in which area the premises are located.
7.3. The Order created a new licensable activity under the 1982 Act namely "the use of premises for the carrying on of a business which consists to any extent of the taking of bookings, by any means of communication, from members of the public for the hire of a relevant vehicle". (A relevant vehicle is defined as a vehicle in relation to which a taxi or private hire car licence has been granted in terms of the 1982 Act).
7.4. The Order prescribes several licensing conditions which authorities are required to attach to the grant or renewal of a booking office licence. These conditions require that a record is kept of all bookings taken and that that record should include the registration number of the vehicle and the name of the driver fulfilling the hire. The licence holder is also required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that any vehicle and driver used to fulfil a hire is appropriately licensed under the 1982 Act.
7.5. The new legislation does not set out to be overly prescriptive as to conditions that might be applied to licences. Authorities, however, may in terms of paragraph 5 to Schedule 1 of the 1982 Act attach such other reasonable licensing conditions as they consider appropriate having regard to local circumstances and their own legal advice.
7.6. The Order applies Part 1 of the 1982 Act (including Schedule 1) with certain modifications. This ensures that licensing authorities will send a copy of any application to the Chief Constable. The result is that those responsible for the operation of booking offices (the licence holder) are subject to police criminal record checks. Local authorities are also required to refuse an application where the applicant is not a fit and proper person to be a holder of the licence. In the case where a licence for that activity is in force or has been applied for the Order will also afford enforcement personnel and police with access to inspect premises and records to check whether the terms of a licence are being complied with. The Order will also, subject to the obtaining of a warrant, provide powers to enforcement personnel and police to enter and search unlicensed premises.
Email: Joanna Mackenzie