Licensing Committee – 19 November 2015
Venue: Function Room 1, Civic Centre, Ashby Road, Scunthorpe
Time: 10 am
2. Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and personal or personal and prejudicial interests, and significant contact with applicants, objectors or third parties (lobbying), if any.
3. To take the minutes of the meeting of this committee held on 17 September 2015, as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign.
4. Sub-Committee Proceedings – To receive and where necessary confirm the minutes of the meeting of the following sub-committees-
(i) Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee held on 1 October 2015.
(ii) Licensing (Activities) Sub-Committee held on 21 September, 8 October and 26 October 2015.
5. Private Hire Operators Licence – Deregulation Act 2015
6. Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy – 12 Month Review
7. Gambling Act 2005 – Review of Statement of Principles
8. Licensing Procedure at Meetings
9. Any other items that the chairman decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances that must be specified.
PRESENT: – Councillor K Vickers in the chair.
Councillors Ali, Allcock, Armitage, Clark, Ellerby, Glover, Grant, Mumby-Croft, Perry, Ogg, Rowson, Waltham, Wells and Wilson.
The committee met at Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.
1284 DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS, PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND SIGNIFICANT CONTACT WITH APPLICANTS, OBJECTORS OR THIRD PARTIES (LOBBYING) – The following member a disclosable pecuniary interest –
Nature of Interest
|Councillor Ali||1288 and 1289||Proprietor of Hackney Carriage business and Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicle drivers licence|
The following member declared a personal interest –
Nature of Interest
|Councillor Armitage||Personal Licence holder|
1285 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of thiscommittee held on 17 September 2015, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chairman.
1286 SUB-COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee held on 1 October 2015 be received, subject to an amendment of the resolution of Minute 1275, to now read “the sub-committee was aware that this meant Mr Ali now had a total of 10 points on his licence”.
1287 SUB-COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing (Activities) Sub-Committee held on 21 September, 8 October and 26 October 2015 be received.
(Councillor Ali, having declared a disclosable pecuniary interest, left the meeting for consideration of the following items – Minutes 1288 and 1289) refer).
1288 (24) PRIVATE HIRE OPERATORS LICENCE – DEREGULATION ACT 2015 – The Director of Places submitted a report that reviewed the licence fees relating to Private Hire Operators Licences due to changes made by the Deregulation Act 2015.
Members heard that the Deregulation Act 2015 received Royal Assent in early 2015. Section 10 of the Act made changes to the length of time that the council may issue a Private Hire Operators Licence for.
Under section 55 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act 1976 the Council could issue an operator’s licence for up to five years. The change to the legislation was quite subtle in that the requirement was for the council to issue a five year licence, save where it was deemed appropriate to issue a licence for a lesser period.
The current licence fee for a licence for one year was £72.00. When setting licence fees, there was a requirement for the council to abide by the Provisions of Service Regulations 2009. These regulations stated that the council could not charge more than it costs to administer and enforce the issue of the licence. The cost of processing a licence for one year was currently £142.54. This figure did not include an element for enforcement. On average, at least five hours was spent on enforcement per operator. Enforcement costs were based on £35.00 per hour which included all costs, including central establishment charges.
Members then discussed the level of fees to be attached to Private Hire Operators Licences.
Resolved – (a) That the annual fee for a Private Hire Operators Licence be £150 in year 1, £250 in year 2 and £315 in Year 3; (b) that licence operators be offered the option to pay for a five year licence, costing £1,015; (c) that the fees be advertised in accordance with legal requirements, and (d) that any representations received be considered by the Chairman of the Committee and the Licensing Manager, and that the Licensing Manager in consultation with the Chairman be authorised to agree the fee(s) to be charged.
1289 (25) HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE LICENSING POLICY – 12 MONTH REVIEW – A report was submitted by the Director of Places that proposed a review of the council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy
Members were informed that the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy was last reviewed in September 2014. As part of the 2014 review a penalty points scheme was introduced. It was agreed that the scheme would be reviewed after being in force for a year.
Since the introduction of the penalty points scheme, council officers had issued a total of nineteen points against four drivers. In the same period, the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee had issued nineteen points to three drivers.
The aim of the penalty points scheme was to offer a middle ground between doing nothing and prosecution or revoking a person’s licence.
Members learnt that there had been one appeal against the points being issued before the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee, which was successful. Presenting an appeal before the Sub-Committee was both costly and time consuming. To cover the cost, a fee was introduced. The validity of such a fee had been questioned and on further examination, the ability to charge was ambiguous.
The Director, in his report, proposed that the appeal process be changed to make it more efficient and to remove the ambiguity over the fee.
Other minor changes had been made to the delegation within the policy, which were attached as Appendix A to the report. These changes included delegation to suspend a licence where the driver had not produced a medical certificate and the ability to review the procedure at hearings.
Members of the committee then engaged in a discussion on the proposed changes to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy
Recommended to Council – (a) That the amended Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing policy be approved, subject to the inclusion of the following –
- Page 85 of the Policy (Paragraph 5.1) – “Should a driver, operator or proprietor wish to dispute the imposition of points made by an officer, then they have the right to appeal. Appeals will be made to the Head of Trading Standards and Licensing or Assistant Director Technical and Environment Services, in consultation with the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Licensing Committee, who may quash or uphold the decision as they deem appropriate. A decision record will be provided following such an appeal hearing, which will provide the reasons for the decision. Appeals must be made in writing within 21 days of the imposition of the penalty points. When considering the appeal, all matters will be considered”.
- Page 85 of the Policy (insert new Paragraph after 5.1) – Following an appeal before the Head of Trading Standards and Licensing or the Assistant Director Technical and Environmental Services, in consultation with the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Licensing Committee, a report containing a decision record shall be presented to the Licensing Committee for information”,
and (b) that the Director of Places explore the cost implications of including the council’s logo on the roof sign as per paragraph 40 (4).
(Councillor Ali returned to the meeting).
1290 (26) GAMBLING ACT 2005 – REVIEW OF STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES – The Director of Places submitted a report that reviewed the existing Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles for North Lincolnshire.
Section 349 of the Gambling Act 2005 required the council to have a Statement of Principles, which must be reviewed every three years.
The current Statement of Principles was approved in January 2013. It was a statutory requirement to review the Statement of Principles every three years and it must be approved by January 2016.
The review of the policy had been carried out. A copy of the policy was attached as Appendix A to the report. There were two responses to the consultation, which were attached at Appendix B and C to the report.
Recommended to Council – That in accordance with section 154 (2) (c) of the Gambling Act 2005, the Statement of Principles be approved.
1291 (27) LICENSING PROCEDURE AT MEETINGS – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought to amend the procedure used by the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee for determining the suitability of an applicant to hold a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Drivers’ Licence under the Local Government (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act 1976.
The Council had delegated its licensing functions to the Licensing Committee. The Licensing Committee had delegated to Sub-Committees of the Licensing Committee authority to hear and determine applications that may arise in a variety of circumstances under the Licensing Act 2003 and the Gambling Act 2005.
The Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee was required to determine the grant, renewal, variation, transfer or revocation of a licence holders Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicle drivers licence.
For determining such applications, the Sub-Committee had a single procedure. The procedure was approved by a special meeting of the Licensing Committee on 7 November 2006.
The use of a single procedure had, at times, caused confusion to applicants and existing licence holders.
Consequently, at the meeting of the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee on 1 October 2015, members requested that the procedure be rewritten.
A copy of the existing procedure was attached as Appendix 1.
Appendix 2 contained a proposed procedure for the consideration of an application for the grant or renewal of a Hackney Carriage / Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence and Appendix 3 contained a proposed procedure for the consideration of the review, suspension or revocation of a Hackney Carriage and/or Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence.
Resolved – That the council’s Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee procedures contained in appendix 2 and 3 of the report be approved and adopted, and be used at relevant meetings with immediate effect.