Private hire firms in Birmingham could be rated in a similar way to food businesses if a new ratings scheme is approved by councillors next week.
Under the proposed scheme, which will be considered by Birmingham City Council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee on 13 July 2016, private hire operators would be scored against 45 different criteria.
Similar to the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, operators’ scores would be published on the city council’s website – www.birmingham.gov.uk – to enable customers to see how they have been rated.
The proposed scheme would apply to all licensed private hire firms in Birmingham, which would receive one of five ratings:
- Licensed less than 10 points
- Bronze 11 to 20 points
- Silver 21 to 30 points
- Gold more than 30 points
- Platinum all points awarded
Operators would be rated on an annual basis, as part of routine inspections by licensing officers, with one point being awarded for each indicator that is met.
The criteria, which comprises of 28 essential and 17 bonus indicators, would look at vehicle condition, driver behaviours, policies and procedures – including those covering assistance dogs and wheelchair users – and how complaints are handled.
However, operators would be deducted five points if one of their drivers is cautioned or prosecuted for plying for hire.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Introducing this ratings scheme would give operators an incentive to improve their compliance and performance, which should lead to better safety standards for the public.
“Private hire firms will be deducted points if any of their drivers are caught plying for hire, which should be an incentive for operators to be more accountable for their drivers’ actions.”
Firms that wish to make improvements would be able to apply for a secondary inspection, on payment of fee.