Ever wondered what a Borough Councillor's role entails?

Ever wondered what a Borough Councillor's role entails?
I did! I was elected as a Councillor for the Lynn South & West ward of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk on 5th May 2011.

A little bit about me:
I have lived in South Lynn for 7 years with my wife and work locally for the Norfolk Primary Care Trust as an IT Manager.

I am a Labour Councillor and whilst the local Labour group made some encouraging gains in the May elections (moving from 4 councillors to 13) we are still very much a minority opposition as the Tories hold 42 of the 64 council seats.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

PRESS RELEASE - Labour Councillors raise safety concerns over taxi driver points limits

The following press release was sent out after Labour Councillors proposed an amendment to a policy being pushed through at Thursday's full council meeting. The amendment was worked up by the Labour Group after I had raised concerns at my first Community & Culture panel meeting and following a lengthy email exchange with the relevant portfolio holder, Cllr Brian Long.


Labour Councillors in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk have opposed changes to new licensing conditions for the Borough’s Private Hire and Hackney Carriage vehicles.

Currently if a licensed driver accrues 7 DVLA points, this triggers an appearance before the Council’s Licensing Panel where the situation is discussed and sanctions can be applied. The new conditions would see the points total increase to 10 before the Panel considers the matter. The Labour Group are concerned that this could lead to drivers who have accrued almost as many points as to receive a DVLA ban (currently 12) continuing to drive without having to attend a Borough Council Licensing Panel.

Speaking at the Full Council Meeting on 30 June 2011, Labour Group Leader, Councillor David Collis, said, “As the licensing authority, the Borough Council has a duty of care to ensure the safety of all passengers using any taxi services in West Norfolk. By allowing drivers to accrue up to 10 points before even being given a warning we consider that the Borough Council is not fulfilling this obligation.”

“The vast majority of licensed drivers keep within the bounds of the law and we do not want their good reputation to suffer as a result of any adverse publicity if say, a driver with 9 DVLA points was involved in an accident whilst speeding and it was later revealed that the Borough Council had not even issued a formal warning. The present system works well and the only reasons we can see for change is one of cost savings.”

Cllr Collis formally proposed that the procedure remain as it is – accruing 7 points would require an appearance at the Panel. A recorded vote was held but the motion was defeated by 37 votes to 15.

After the Council meeting Cllr Collis said “It is a regrettable outcome but the Labour Group of Councillors will maintain a watching brief and re visit the matter if standards of safety appear to be declining.”

- ends -

Note to editors
In the past 2 years, 9 drivers (3% of the total number of licensed drivers) have appeared before the Licensing & Appeals Panel for having accrued 7 or more DVLA points.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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