Agenda and minutes

Licensing and Safety Panel
Thursday, 27th July, 2017 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Andrew Woods, Democratic Services, 0161 253 5134, Email: a.p.woods@bury.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

LSP.113

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.114

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 15 June 2017.

Minutes:

              Delegated decision:

 

              That the Minutes of the Licensing and Safety Panel meeting held on 15 June 2017, be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

LSP.115

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:

There were no questions raised under this item, albeit the Chair agreed that comments and questions on the item relating to the Review of the Hackney Carriage Policy, could be made or asked when that item is dealt with.

LSP.116

OPERATIONAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Localities) submitted a report advising Members on operational issues within the Licensing Service. Information was presented on the number of assessments that had taken place between 26 May and 7 July 2017.

 

It was agreed:

 

That the report be noted.

LSP.117

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 reported.      

LSP.118

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.119

SUSPENSION/REVOCATION OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCES

Minutes:

The Licence Holders were invited to attend the meeting for separate hearings. They were invited to address the Panel separately and any matters referred to in the Officer’s report. 

 

1.   Licence Holder 18/2017 was invited into the meeting room and confirmed that he would be representing himself.

 

The Chair outlined the procedure to be followed and the Licensing Unit Manager presented the report submitted by the Assistant Director (Localities) which was accepted by the Licence Holder. This set out the reasons for the Licence Holder being before the Panel.

 

The report explained that the Licence Holder had been convicted of an offence of fraud by failing to disclose to the Department of Work and Pensions information that he was working as a self employed private hire driver in receipt of earnings which he was under a legal duty to disclose intending by that failure to make a gain namely £2500 in Employment Support Allowance. The Licence Holder had been convicted in March 2017 and sentenced to a curfew with electronic monitoring as well as being ordered to repay the sum.

 

The Licence Holder who had been licensed as a Private Hire Driver since December 2013, acknowledged the conviction. He explained that he had been unable to work for 3-4 weeks due to a medical condition in January 2015. After returning to work as a private hire driver he had not informed the Department of Work and Pensions. The Licence Holder reported that he had also been involved in a motor vehicle accident in January 2017 and was still suffering from the injuries he had sustained. He apologised for his actions and explained that at the time his wife was pregnant and was suffering from complications. The Licence Holder also has to provide and care for three children and he stated that the family are suffering as a result of financial pressures. The Licence Holder stated that he had forgotten to notify the Licensing Office of his conviction in March.

 

The Chair invited members of the Panel to ask the Licence Holder questions.

 

Delegated decision:

 

After carefully considering the written report, oral statements from the Licence Holder and taking into account the Council’s Convictions Policy and Guidelines, pursuant to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, the Panel resolved, unanimously, to admonish Licence Holder 18/2017 as to his conduct but to take no further action.

 

The Panel noted;

·         That the offence was of a serious nature

·         That the Licence Holder had expressed genuine regret and apologised for his actions

·         That the Licence Holder also acknowledged the severity of his actions and the consequences of not reporting his convictions.

·         The Panel also noted the mitigating factors presented by the Licence Holder.

 

2.   Licence Holder 17/2017 was invited into the meeting room and confirmed that he would be representing himself.

 

The Chair outlined the procedure to be followed and the Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Assistant Director (Localities) which was accepted by the Licence Holder. This set  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.119

LSP.120

APPLICATION FOR A HACKNEY CARRIAGE /PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE

Minutes:

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

 

Applicant 16/2017 attended the meeting and was represented by Mr Oakes (The Hackney Drivers Association Ltd).  The Chair outlined the procedure to be followed and the Licensing Unit Manager read the report which was accepted by the Applicant. 

 

The report explained that the Applicant had been granted a Private Hire Driver’s Licence on 23 September 2013. The Applicant had then appeared before the Panel on 13 February 2014 when the licence had been revoked. On that occasion the Panel heard an allegation that the Applicant had approached a female Civil Enforcement Officer who was on duty at 8.22am and had affixed a fixed penalty notice to the his vehicle for parking in a suspended parking bay on Wellington Road, Bury. The Applicant had approached the Civil Enforcement Officer in an angry manner and used foul language to demand the ticket be taken off his vehicle. The Civil Enforcement Officer had tried to explain the situation but had decided to walk away due to the language being used against her. As she walked away she received a blow to the side of her head causing her hat to fall to the ground. Following this the Civil Enforcement Officer felt a push causing her to stumble forward. Assistance was immediately requested and the Applicant removed his vehicle from the parking bay and left.

 

The Licensing and Safety Panel had therefore revoked the Applicant’s licence. The Licence Holder then appealed against this decision to the Bury and Rochdale Magistrates Court in July 2014. The Applicant did not appear at the hearing and the appeal was dismissed. The court ordered the Applicant to pay costs of £2050.00 to the Council. The Applicant has since been making periodic repayments with £970 still outstanding.

 

The Applicant applied for a new Private Hire Licence and appeared before the Licensing and Safety Panel on 19 January 2017. At that time the Panel refused the licence and in particular noted that this was a serious matter and the Applicant at that time had only been driving as a Licensed Private Hire Driver in Bury for 2 months when the incident occurred. The Panel further noted he had shown little remorse for his actions and provided no reassurances to the Panel as to his future conduct. It therefore did not feel confident as to his future conduct, despite the passage of time. The Panel determined the Applicant not to be a fit and proper person.

 

In line with the Council’s Convictions Policy and Guidelines, the Applicant was advised by the Licensing Unit to wait until 12 months had expired since the revocation before applying for a private hire car drivers’ licence again.

 

The Applicant and his representative Mr Oakes both addressed the Panel and explained that when the incident that took place incident on 19 November 2013 occurred, the Applicant had been in a great deal  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.120

LSP.121

REVIEW OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE AGE POLICY pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Localities) submitted a report regarding the Review of the Hackney Carriage Age Policy. The report which was summarised by the Licensing Unit Manager, reminded members of the decision of the Licensing and Safety Panel on 8 May 2014:

 

1.     That the “exceptional condition” criteria be re-introduced for Hackney Carriages at 10 years and as an incentive to encourage proactive maintenance and provide for additional testing requirements where vehicles fall below acceptable standards, as set out in 5.0 of the report.

 

2.     That further to (1) above, existing licence holders be allowed a 3 year transitional period should they have made financial plans in respect of their vehicle to allow them to be licensed subject to the ”5 fault rule”

 

The transitional period of three years ended on 1 June 2017. A notification letter was sent to all Hackney Carriage vehicle proprietors with Bury licences to advise them of the situation. The letter also referred to the reintroduction of the exceptional condition criteria for vehicles over 10 years old and the requirement that vehicles that are tested must meet the criteria in order to be re-licensed.

 

On 15 June 2017 the Licensing and Safety Panel had resolved to defer implementation of the “exceptional condition” criteria until a further report was considered.

 

The Chair invited questions and comments upon the report and its recommended options from the members of the public present and in particular Mr Oakes (The Hackney Drivers Association Ltd), Mr Bridge (of A2Z Licensing) and thirteen Hackney Carriage licence holders.

 

Mr Bridge representing the Hackney Drivers Association addressed the meeting and explained the current state of the Hackney Carriage trade in Bury and the issues licence holders have with the current arrangements for testing vehicles. He stated that the 10 year policy proposed would apply to half of the vehicles operating within Bury and that the exceptional condition criteria may limit the number of Hackney Carriage vehicles that are wheelchair accessible in line with the Council policy. He went on to say that Hackney Carriage drivers also worked on private hire operator systems and may decide to not continue with their Hackney Carriage licence for financial reasons. Also, the exceptional condition policy did not allow for fair wear and tear as part of vehicle daily use by the public on the vehicle upholstery. Other considerations not referred to in the policy were acts of vandalism and accidents resulting in damage to vehicles. In view of the use of larger more robust vehicles as Hackney Carriages that also provide wheelchair accessibility, the Licensing and Safety Panel were requested to introduce a 15 year age policy.

 

The Chair invited comments and questions from the other members of the public present and then invited input from members of the Panel.

 

Delegated decision:

That after carefully considering the written report and the comments made by and on behalf of the Hackney Carriage DriversIt was resolved unanimously:

 

That approval be given to continue with the current licensing and testing  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.121