Agenda and minutes

Licensing and Safety Panel - Thursday, 15th October, 2015 7.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Rooms A & B - Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Nicole Tilly 

Items
No. Item

LSP.383

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members of the Licensing and Safety Panel are asked to consider whether they have an interest in any of the matters on the agenda, and if so, to formally declare that interest.  

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest raised in relation to any items on the agenda.

 

LSP.384

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To approve and sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 3 September 2015.  A copy of the minutes is attached.

Minutes:

              Delegated decision:

 

That the Minutes of the Licensing and Safety Panel meeting held on 3 September 2015, be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

LSP.385

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

Questions are invited from members of the public present at the meeting on any matters for which this Panel is responsible.

 

Approximately 30 minutes will be set aside for Public Question Time if required.

Minutes:

                   Mr Charles Oakes of the Hackney Drivers’ Association Ltd addressed the members of the Licensing and Safety Panel in relation to the proposed variation to the Private Hire Operator Fees.  Mr Oakes stated that there has been no consultation over this proposal and the other proposals to raise fees for drivers’ licences, and asked why this had not taken place.

 

                   The Licensing Unit Manager explained to the Panel the chronology of events since July 2104, when drivers were initially advised of the proposed changes in legislation and that a driver’s badge would be valid for three years.  It was explained that the Deregulation Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 26March 2015 and that the draft report to go before the Licensing and Safety Panel had been prepared for consideration in August 2015.

 

                   On 25 August 2015 an email was sent to Mr Oakes with a copy of the report that was to be considered at the Panel on 3 September 2015.  Mr Bridge also spoke with Mr Oakes and advised him that the fees, although not yet approved, would be in the region of £170 and Mr Oakes seemed agreeable with this. Mr Bridge further advised the Panel that on 27 August the operational decision for approval of the licence fees was sent to the Interim Executive Director of Resources and Regulation, and was signed off by him on 2 September 2015.

 

                   The required statutory notice for operator’s fees was published in the Bury times on 10 September 2015 and on 7 September 2015, a letter was sent to all drivers informing them of the fees and the proposals to deal with DBS matters which were also to be considered at the next Panel meeting.

                  

                   The matter came before the Panel on 3 September and was approved and on 11 September all Operators were advised in writing of the notice in the Bury Times and the changes brought in by the legislation.

 

                   Mr Oakes then made an FOI request for justification of the fee of £170 and a response was sent to him on 5 October 2015.

 

                   Mr Rook, the temporary Chair to the Greater Manchester Private Hire Association then addressed the Panel and explained that Manchester and Salford Councils had come under the scrutiny of the Audit Commission, due to the number of the trade members opposing the proposed increase in fees and as a result the proposed increase in drivers’ and Operators’ fees had been rejected. 

 

                   Mr Rook stated that Manchester Council has now proposed the Operator’s license at £650 for 5 years and a driver’s licence at £103, which are savings to the trade and offered to meet with Bury Council to discuss this issue.

 

                   The Licensing Unit Manager explained that the fees have generally not been raised by the Council for some time and it is national legislation affecting all local authorities that has led to their review. He went on to explain that he has contacted colleagues at other authorities in relation to their  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.385

LSP.386

OPERATIONAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 50 KB

A report by the Assistant Director (Localities) is attached.

Minutes:

                   The Assistant Director (Localities) submitted a report advising members on operational issues within the Licensing Service.

 

                   The Licensing Unit Manager informed members that a Licensing Hearings Panel had considered an application for the grant of a Premises Licence on 17 September 2015, in respect of the Lord Raglan, Radcliffe, following representations from Greater Manchester Police and local residents and the application had been refused.

 

                   Also, it was explained that following the lack of attendance from the trade, the Hackney carriage/Private Hire Liaison meeting scheduled for 22 September 2015 had been cancelled but would now be re-arranged in due course.

 

 

LSP.387

OBJECTION TO PROPOSED VARIATION TO THE PRIVATE HIRE OPERATORS' FEES pdf icon PDF 63 KB

A report by the Assistant Director (Localities) is attached.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Localities) submitted a report with regard to representations received in relation to the recently advertised proposed variation to the Private Hire Operators’ Licence fees.  The report is in accordance with the appropriate legislation, as amended by the Deregulation Act 2015.

 

      The Licensing Unit Manager explained that under the provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and the Town Clauses Act 1847, the Council is required to consider applications for Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers’ licences and Private Hire Operators’ licences.  Bury Council grants such licences for a 12 month period.

 

      Section 10 of the Deregulation Act 2015 has amended both the 1976 and the 1847 Acts so that with effect from 1 October 2015, a District Council must grant driver licences for a period of 3 years and Operator

 

Licences for a period of 5 years unless the Council thinks it appropriate in the circumstances of the case to grant for a lesser period. As a result in the change of the legislation, the current fees for Operator licences have been amended to reflect the longer duration of licences

and the reduction of Officers’ time which will no longer be required on an annual basis, so that the income is maintained for the duration of the licence with the Licensing Service.

 

There are currently 40 Private Hire Operators licensed with the Authority and objections have been received from 2 Private Hire Operators.

 

      Members were requested to consider the objections and to determine if the proposed fees are to be applied.

 

      Mr Palin, the licensed operator of Apple Cars, who had submitted a written representation, then addressed the Panel.  Mr Palin explained that his objections to the proposal were mainly concerning the amount to pay upfront for the 5 year period, before the issue of the licence.  He stated that the Private Hire industry consists of many different licensed Operators ranging in size and it was unreasonable to suggest that a company with only 3 vehicles pay the same as a company with 300 and it would be particularly disadvantageous to the smaller fleet. 

     

      Mr Palin requested that some other form of payment, rather than the full amount to be paid up front, could be considered. He also submitted two petitions signed by other operators who also objected to the proposals.

 

      Mr McGlynn, the licensed operator of Radcliffe Walshaw who had also submitted a written representation, was asked if he wished to address the Panel. He indicated that Mr Palin had covered all the points he wished to raise.

 

      Various discussions took place with the members of the Licensing and Safety Panel in relation to the way the fees could be paid.  The Licensing Unit Manager explained that the fees must be paid in order to grant the licence and that the cost to the Licensing Service through the Civil Courts to recover the amount if the licence holder did not pay, could subsequently mean an increase to the fees in order to address the loss.  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.387

LSP.388

URGENT BUSINESS

Any other business, which by reason of special circumstances, the Chair agrees may be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business to report.

LSP.389

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider passing the appropriate resolution under section 100 (A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business since it involves the likely disclosure of the exempt information stated.

 

 

Minutes:

Delegated decision:

 

That in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business since it involved the likely disclosure of information relating to individuals who hold Licences granted by the Authority or Applicants for Licences provided by the Authority.

 

LSP.390

APPLICATIONS FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS' LICENCES

A report by the Assistant Director (Localities) is attached.

Minutes:

The Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Assistant Director (Localities) regarding applications for Public/Private Hire Vehicles Drivers’ Licences.

 

The Applicants were invited to attend the meeting for separate hearings

and the Chair outlined the procedure to be followed.  The Applicants were invited to address the Panel separately on their applications and any matters referred to in the Officer’s report.  The Licensing Unit Manager read out the contents of each report which were accepted by each of the Applicants.

 

Applicant 13/2015 did not attend the meeting and no explanation was provided.  The Applicant had also failed to attend the meeting on 3 September 2015 without explanation and the Panel had agreed to defer that hearing.  The Licensing Unit Manager explained that he had tried to contact the Applicant on a number of occasions but to no avail.

 

Delegated decision:

 

After considering the report and noting the fact that the Applicant had been  convicted at Birmingham and Solihull Magistrates’ Court on 19 May 2014 for 2 counts of battery and then again on 20 August 2014 for failing to comply with the requirements of a Community order and taking into account the relevant policy and the Council’s Conviction Guidelines, the Panel decided to proceed with the application and determined the Applicant not to be a fit and proper person in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and therefore resolved that the application for a Private Hire Driver’s Licence by Applicant 13/2015 be refused.

 

The Applicant would be informed in writing of their right to appeal to the Magistrates’ Court within 21 days.

 

Applicant 15/2015 attended the meeting and was unaccompanied.  The Applicant had appeared before the Panel on 3 September 2015 and the matter had been deferred as the Panel required more information. 

 

The Licensing Unit Manager read the report which was accepted by the Applicant.  He also advised the Panel for the sake of clarity that the DVLA will revoke a licence of someone who is awarded 6 penalty points during the first 24 months of holding a DVLA drivers licence.

 

The Applicant addressed the Licensing and Safety Panel and explained that he was an experienced, safe driver.  In relation to the conviction for failing to provide the identity of a driver, he explained that he had driven in a bus lane in Bradford and been sent a fine for £35, however, due to family problems at the time, his wife had failed to give him the letter and therefore he had failed to respond to a written notice from the Police to provide the details of the driver at the time of the offence. 

 

When questioned he confirmed that he wasn’t living at the same address as his wife at the time and had given that address as he was not a permanent resident in the UK.

 

The Applicant was then asked about his current residence and confirmed he is now living in Bolton, however the address on his driving licence was noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.390