Hull City Council found guilty of bias…

Hull City Council found guilty of bias in taxi driver training row
2020-10-13 18:34:00
A watchdog has ruled Hull City Council was biased in the way it directed people applying for new taxi licences to just one training provider to obtain a necessary qualification. Until changes were made earlier this year, the council's application pack for would-be taxi drivers only referred to one provider of a mandatory BTEC course. It involved 150 hours of home revision based on a 175-page training document followed by a three-day classroom course. In a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, the Humber Taxi Association (HTA) claimed the council unfairly signposted applicants to North Humberside Motor Trades Group Training Association, a charity which provides apprenticeships to the authority's adult education department Hull Training. In a new report, the Ombudsman said the council had shown show bias towards one of its own sub-contractors by failing to include details of an alternative independent accredited BTEC provider, Humberside Training Associates, which was set up in 2018 with the support of the HTA. After receiving an initial complaint over the application pack, the watchdog said council agreed to include details of the alternative provider in a revised version. However, the new pack still only named the same provider and gave contact details while stating: “The BTEC can be obtained through any accredited provider.” The Ombudsman said: “The council failed to take the action required. The revised pack stated any provider could be used but it still in effect, pointed applications to one training provider. “It took until January 2020, after a complaint to the Ombudsman, for the council to properly address the issue.” Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in8Cancel Play now The Ombudsman also ruled the council had failed to properly review or renew its contract with the charity after initially setting up and funding the BTEC course as a pilot scheme seven years earlier. The report said this lack of oversight contradicted Hull Training's own written polices which requires sub-contracted contracts to be reviewed annually. It said the council's response to complaints by the HTA about this and its links to the sub-contracting company were “not open and transparent”. In a judgement, the Ombudsman said: “The council s

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