Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Public views sought on taxi criminal convictions criteria

People across Leeds are being asked for their views on the criteria Leeds City Council uses to decide if taxi licences should be granted.

Before the council can grant licenses for private hire driver, private hire operator, Hackney carriage driver or Hackney carriage proprietor, it must ensure the applicant is a 'fit and proper' person. One aspect the council must look at is the criminal history of the applicant and the potential risk posed to the public if a license was granted.

Although the council has an existing policy in place to assess if a person is ‘fit and proper’, it is now outdated and needs to be reviewed. The council is currently in the process of drawing up a new policy to make sure it is up to date and relevant to today’s society. Gathering people’s view is vital to help the council put together a policy which addresses the potential risk to the public whilst being fair and transparent to applicants.

The consultation, which is available online at Leeds City Council’s website has already had a good response with 828 people submitting their views.

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, chair of the licensing committee said:
“The safety of the public travelling around our city is paramount and it is our responsibility to minimise any risk posed to members of the public using a taxi or private hire vehicle.

“It is important that we have a robust policy in place which is up to date and takes into account changes in criminal behaviour. Our policy must also prevent opportunities for criminal behaviour by having access to a taxi or private hire licence.

“In Leeds we have a very diverse community so it is important that we listen to the views of people from all sections of society to help us make sure our policy is relevant and robust and meets the needs residents and visitors alike.”

Since the council’s current convictions criteria were adopted there has been a significant reshaping of the criminal law to combat the structures of organised crime and deal more effectively with a range of issues.

The proposals to adjust the conviction criteria are based on:
• The public expectation of safety and control of risk for the most serious types of crime.
• Demonstrating a commitment to dealing with race/ religious hate crime, gender / sexual orientation offending and disability offending
• Recognising the opportunities for criminals, by obtaining a license
• The council’s obligations to safeguarding vulnerable children and adults
• Recognising new types of criminal networks are in operation.

Further information can be found at: www.leeds.gov.uk/taxiconsultation

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Right Royal reception ahead of Leeds Apprenticeship Awards 2014

Hard-working Leeds apprentices and their employers will enjoy an evening fit for royalty when they attend a prestigious awards ceremony next week.

The third annual Leeds Apprenticeship Awards take place on Tuesday, March 4, and will proudly welcome His Royal Highness The Duke of York KG to Leeds Civic Hall.

His Royal Highness will attend a special reception ahead of the main ceremony, where he will meet with a number of the apprentice nominees.

The reception is part of The Duke’s visit to the Leeds City Region, which has been organised to encourage more small businesses to recruit apprentices.

The ceremony, which takes place in the Civic Hall’s banqueting suite, is being held during National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from March 3-7.

The much sought-after awards will be given out in six categories across two areas and are aimed at recognising the outstanding contribution of the winning apprentices as well as the investment made by employers to improve the skills of their workforce.

Apprentice of the Year will be awarded to nominees in the intermediate, advanced and higher categories and will celebrate the exceptional achievements of individuals during their apprenticeships.

Employer of the Year will also be awarded to small, medium and large employers and is aimed at recognising their investment in skills as well as showcasing the many benefits apprentices bring to local businesses.

Speakers at the ceremony will include Councillor Judith Blake deputy leader of Leeds City Council, and Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for leisure and skills.

Cllr Yeadon said: “The Leeds Apprenticeship Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the invaluable contribution apprentices make to consistently helping our city and its economy thrive.

“The build-up to this year’s awards has been even more exciting knowing we will welcome such a prestigious visitor and I’m sure the evening will be a huge success.”

She added: “Leeds is a city with a proud tradition of ensuring those who want to forge a career for themselves have the opportunity to do so, and National Apprenticeship Week is a chance for us all to encourage even more businesses and individuals to get involved in the apprenticeship programme.”

As well as the awards, a number of events will take place across Leeds during National Apprenticeship Week.

They will include a marketing stand to inform people about apprenticeships and current vacancies, which will be in place at the Trinity Leeds shopping centre, Monday-Friday, 3pm-8pm.

And a mini market place event will see careers teachers at Corpus Christi school getting information about apprenticeships to pass on to their pupils on Wednesday, March 5 from 3.30pm until 5.30pm.

ENDS

Additional information:

- The Duke's visit to Leeds is being led by Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP). His Royal Highness will officially launched the Leeds City Region Apprenticeship Challenge which aims to secure 1,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) offering apprenticeships across the region during the next financial year.

- His Royal Highness will meet apprentices and students at Leeds City College's new £26 million Printworks campus on Hunslet Road, and at Leeds College of Building's Stourton site on Intermezzo Drive, and speak with SMEs and apprentices at a business conference at the Royal Armouries, organised by the LEP.

For more information or to confirm attendance at the awards, contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937
Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk
www.leeds.gov.uk

Regeneration ambitions boost set for Holbeck Urban Village

Regeneration ambitions for Holbeck Urban Village could be given a boost next week, with council chiefs considering recommendations for the council to take ownership of key assets in a bid to support the regeneration aspirations of the area.

Senior councillors will debate taking ownership of the freehold of Leodis Court and the lease of the Round Foundry Media Centre at a meeting of the council’s executive board on 5 March. A report to the board explains that these assets currently belong to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) but following a strategic review of its assets, the HCA has now proposed to dispose of them to the council.

The report adds that the HCA want to ensure that these assets are managed and used to achieve the long-standing regeneration objectives set for Holbeck Urban Village and continue to support economic growth in the city.

Earlier this month senior councillors agreed to sell the council-owned Engine House in a bid to secure development at the primarily HCA owned Tower Works site.

Leeds City Council executive board member for the economy and development, Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“Taking ownership of these assets would allow us to use our position to help deliver our regeneration ambitions for Holbeck Urban Village and ensure this area reaps the benefits. We’ve been working closely with the HCA to identify how the public sector can best collaborate and use its assets positively, not to increase its portfolio stock but to stimulate economic growth in this part of the city. The Round Foundry Media Centre plays a key role in the city’s creative and digital economy and Leodis Court is an important site as an economic asset.

“Confidence in Holbeck Urban Village is growing more and more with the railway station southern entrance works starting on site recently and the ongoing successes of over 150 business located there. We are committed to working with partners to realise this potential and secure regeneration, economic growth and new employment opportunities.”

A spokesperson for Homes Communities Agency said:
“The sale of these sites will ensure that Leeds City Council can deliver their vision for the future of Holbeck. We will continue working closely with Leeds at the Tower Works site and other key locations across the city”

Details of the proposed acquisition of Leodis Court and Round Foundry Media Centre can be found in the executive board report.

Notes to Editors

Holbeck Urban Village is an area based regeneration initiative that forms part of the city’s vision for regeneration and economic growth of the South Bank. Sites in HUV and the wider South Bank offer significant regeneration potential due to their proximity to the main city centre, railway station, waterfront and motorway network. Potential developments in the South Bank create a long term opportunity to deliver on one of Europe’s largest regeneration projects centred around the HS2 station. Should executive board and the HCA give final approval to the proposed transactions, the acquisitions will then be completed.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Laura Ferris
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk