Uber licence review in Brighton and Hove ‘likely’ to be in public

Posted On 23 Nov 2017 at 5:01 pm

The private hire operator Uber is likely to have the chance to make its case in public when its licence comes up for renewal.

Anyone wishing to oppose the renewal of Uber’s licence, or present evidence for or against the application, would also be able to to do so openly.

The move follows concerns about the way that the most recent renewal of Uber’s licence – at the end of October – took place behind closed doors.

Brighton and Hove City Council said that private hire operators’ licence applications were usually decided in private by officials.

Unusually, Uber’s licence was initially granted in public by a cross-party licensing panel made up of three councillors.

This reflected the significant public interest in the outcome. Similar reasoning may encourage renewal applications from operators to be heard publicly in future.

This would make the process more open, transparent and accountable and increase public confidence.

A review is under way within the council to agree the process.

Councillor Jackie O’Quinn, who chairs the Licensing Committee, said: “It seems likely that we will decide on a panel hearing which means it will be heard in public.”

She also said that the council had carried out enforcement action jointly with Transport for London, which licenses many of the individual Uber drivers working in Brighton and Hove.

Councillor Lee Wares said that he was very happy that “the council has come to its senses” and that the Uber licence renewal hearing was likely to be held in public.

He said: “This is what should have happened in the first place.”

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