ADCU calls on West Northamptonshire Council to immediately suspend consultation on highly controversial taxi and private hire licensing proposals due to failure by the council to conduct an equalities impact assessment, a breach of council rules.
The App Drivers & Couriers Union has called on West Northamptonshire Council to immediately suspend consultation on highly controversial taxi and private hire licensing proposals after learning that the council has breached its own rules in failing to conduct an equalities impact assessment.
Such an assessment is necessary for all proposals but it is absolutely critical for the current taxi and private hire licensing proposals given the predominantly minority demographic of the driver licensee demographic and given the council's aggressive and controversial proposals that have great impact.
For example, the council is demanding that drivers secure and present certificates of good conduct for any 90 day period spent outside the UK since the age of 18. Such requirements are disproportionate and are contrary to Home office guidance yet the council is persisting with moving ahead without the due diligence of an equalities impact assessment.
Other proposals are likely to compromise and potentially weaken the worker rights of a minority workforce to the advantage of corporate interests.
In contrast, in a recent proposal to increase refuse bin charges, the council did conduct an equalities impact assessment so failure to conduct one for the taxi and private hire proposals raises serious questions.
The ADCU is demanding that the consultation is halted while the council conducts an equalities impact assessment and when it is published the council should vote again on the proposals in light of the assessment before opening the consultation period once more.
Shafqat Shah, Chair of ADCU Northampton said:
"It is incompetent at best and in bad faith at worst that the council has failed to conduct an equalities impact assessment especially in light of the severe impact of the proposals on a largely minority licensed workforce.
The council intends to impose very sensitive new conditions on drivers which have a highly discriminatory impact. Worst of all, it seems like the Council is trying to hoodwink drivers by rushing through the proposals into regulation without giving either the workforce or the travelling public the respect of conducting and publishing an equalities impact assessment which is anyway a legal requirement.
The councillors should know by now the procedures they must follow to enact regulation and even if they do not, they are advised by highly paid staff of the taxi and private hire licensing administration. It is difficult to understand why such a mistake could have occurred, but it now must be urgently corrected.
In the interests of democracy and fair process, the consultation must now be suspended, and an independent equalities impact assessment be undertaken. The council must then reconsider the proposals in light of the equalities impact assessment and only after this has happened should the consultation be reopened.
If the council can do an equalities impact assessment for a recent bin charge change, why can’t they do one for a proposals affecting the rights of thousands of minority licensees? Are we worth less consideration than a rubbish bin charge?”