Agenda and minutes

Licensing and Safety Panel
Thursday, 5th September, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Rooms A & B, Town Hall

Contact: Nicole Tilly - Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

LSP.136

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:

Councillor Rafiq declared a prejudicial interest in item 8 on the agenda in relation to client 05/2019.  It was proposed and agreed by the Licensing and Safety Panel members that item 9 (Application for a Private Hire Driver’s Licence) would be moved before item 8, as Councillor Rafiq would leave the meeting before the start of item 8.

LSP.137

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 68 KB

The minutes of the last meeting held on 25 July 2019 are attached.

Minutes:

Delegated decision:

 

That the Minutes of the Licensing and Safety Panel meeting held on 25

July 2019, be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

                       

 

LSP.138

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:

Charles Oakes of the Hackney Drivers’ Association Ltd, addressed the Panel, explaining that in Bury there were 931 Private Hire drivers and 61 Hackney Carriage drivers paying collective fees of £117,720.  The trade representatives do not feel that information is given in relation to Bradley Fold testing station and whether they actually receive value for money.  Mr Oakes also raised the issue of the Service Level Agreement and that under the Freedom of Information Act, he had asked to have sight of this but as yet had not received anything. 

 

     The Head of Service, Trading Standards and Licensing, explained that at present there wasn’t a Service Level Agreement to view, however the issues that Mr Oakes was referring to would be on the agenda of the next Trade liaison meeting to be held on 19 September 2019.

 

The Council Solicitor explained that under the Freedom of Information Act, there is a process to follow and if Mr Oakes was unhappy or dissatisfied with the process, he was entitled to ask for a review.

 

A driver representing The Private Hire Drivers’ Association addressed the Licensing and Safety Panel, and stated that in the last year there had been 270 re-tests and this year there were 300 and most were due to minor issues such as dirt on alloy wheels, staining on seats or windscreen wipers leaving smears.  He felt that this was unfair and drivers were being victimised and that a vehicle should only be re-tested due to a mechanical failure.

    

The Licensing Unit Manager explained that he regularly receives telephone calls from hackney an private hire drivers with the same complaint that their vehicle has been failed due to 1 or 2 minor faults. However on looking at the test sheet provided by Bradley Fold, he stated that there are often in fact 7 or 8 faults.  He went on to state that drivers are not preparing their vehicles for testing appropriately and that if 3 faults are found there would be no charge for a re-test, for 3 – 9 faults there is a fee of £25 and if there are 10 faults or more, the full test fee of £55 was payable.

 

Further, he explained that at the next Trade liaison meeting on 19 September, these issues would be on the agenda, including an item on the proposed testing manual, which will set out the detailed criteria a vehicle must comply with, so drivers will know exactly why their vehicle has failed and this may alleviate the problems and the questions raised relating to re-testing.

 

LSP.139

OPERATIONAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 52 KB

A report by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) is attached.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) submitted a report advising Members on operational issues within the Licensing Service.

 

          The report set out updates in respect of the following issues:

 

·                     Appeal to Magistrates

 

A driver had appeared before the Licensing and Safety Panel on 5 September 2018 and was refused a Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licence as the Panel did not deem the Applicant a fit and proper person. The Applicant appealed the decision.  The appeal was heard at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court on 13 August 2019, it was dismissed and £750 contribution costs were awarded.

 

·                     Partnership Working

 

Officers of the Licensing Service took part in a multi-agency operation on 16 August 2019 along with Greater Manchester Police, GM Fire and Rescue Service and the Immigration Service and four premises were visited.  Two takeaways had expired fire extinguishers and a lack of alarm systems and an off licence had a gentleman who had no right work and a number of illicit cigarettes were seized.

 

It was agreed:

 

That the report be noted.

 

LSP.140

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.141

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.142

APPLICATION FOR A HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER'S LICENCE

A report by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) is attached.

Minutes:

                   The Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) regarding an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence.

 

                   Applicant 10/2019 attended the meeting and was accompanied by the President of the Mosque he attends. 

 

                   The Chair made introductions and explained the procedure and ensured that the Applicant and members of the Licensing and Safety Panel had all read the report.  The report, which was accepted by the Applicant, explained that he was previously a licensed Private Hire driver with Bury Council between 27 January 2014 and 21 January 2019.  The Applicant’s licence had lapsed and he had therefore submitted a new application on 10 April 2019 and as part of that application, he had provided an enhanced DBS certificate and declared on his handwritten application a conviction on 23 September 2017 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court for speeding, resulting in £100 fine and his licence being endorsed with 3 penalty points.

 

                   Also declared on the application were convictions on 9 April 2018 at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court of possessing goods with a false trade mark for sale or hire, resulting in a community order, costs of £3,563.77 and 150 hours unpaid work requirement with a victim surcharge of £85 and on 27 September 2018 for failing to comply with the requirements of a community order at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court resulting from the original conviction on 9 April 2018, which was ordered to continue with 10 hours unpaid work requirement in addition to the original sentence.

 

                   The Applicant had notified the Licensing Service of the speeding conviction on 18 December 2017, however, he did not notify the Service of the trade mark offences as required by the Private Hire driver licence conditions, which should have done so within 7 days.

 

                   The Applicant addressed the Panel and explained that he came to renew his licence but was told the Council could not find his details and to put in a new application.  However, this was not a new application but a renewal.  The Licensing Unit Manager explained that the licence had expired and therefore it was classed as a new application.

 

                   When asked why he had not declared the offence of possessing goods with a false trade mark, the Applicant explained that it has been a difficult time for him with not working and trying to provide for his family and home.  His wife suffers from severe depression and it was a genuine mistake on his part that he only declared this conviction when he came to renew his licence and didn’t realise he should have declared it within 7 days.  He went on to explain that he was a shopkeeper in Skegness and was not aware of the illegal practice, as he was not there very often due his wife’s illness and the fact he had to care for his children. He left someone else to run the business and it was them who had sold counterfeit goods.

                  

                   The Applicant provided a character  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.142

LSP.143

SUSPENSION/REVOCATION OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS' LICENCES

A report by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) is attached.

Minutes:

1.   Further to the published agenda it was reported that the Chair had agreed prior to the meeting, to the withdrawal by the Licensing Unit Manager of the case relating to Licence Holder 11/2019.

 

2.   Licence Holder 05/2019 attended the meeting and was represented by Mr Giles Bridge, Barrister and accompanied by Mr Charles Oakes, from the Hackney Drivers’ Association Ltd.

 

The Chair made introductions, outlined the procedure to be followed and clarified that all those present had read the report. The Licensing Unit Manager presented the report submitted by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) which was accepted by the Licence Holder and his representative, which set out the reasons for the Licence Holder being before the Panel.

 

                The report explained that the Licence Holder had first been issued a Hackney Carriage Drivers licence with Bury Council on 29 April 2003 and that the current licence is not due to expire until 24 January 2022.

 

                The report went on to state that the Licensing Unit had received a number of complaints within the last 12 months from a member of staff at the Council’s test centre, passengers and members of the public regarding the Licence Holder. These related to various matters.

               

                Mr Bridge, the Licence Holders representative then asked the Licence Holder to explain his version of events for each of the incidents.

 

·         On 1 April 2018, a complaint was made by a passenger that this Licence Holder did not switch on the meter and over charged him for the short distance to his home. The Licence Holder stated that this was not the case and the passenger was drunk and abusive and threw a stone at his vehicle.  The Police were called but no further action was taken.

 

·         On 14 May 2018, a passenger approached the licence holder to ask  the cost of the journey to his home address and was told £10 but as the passenger had purchased a TV cabinet and loaded this into the Licence Holder’s vehicle, the passenger alleged he had charged an extra £5.  When contacted by the Deputy Licensing Officer, initially the licence holder stated that he could not remember but then he telephoned to say he could remember. He refunded the £5 when he was reminded that an additional charge was not permitted and a warning letter was sent to him. The Licence holder stated to the Panel that the passenger had agreed to the additional charge of £5 before the journey, however, he accepted that he shouldn’t charge extra over the agreed fare table.

 

·         On 9 September 2018, a passenger approached the Licence Holder’s vehicle, which was third in line on the rank, but the two in front had passengers in.  Initially the passenger knocked on the window, but was ignored by the Licence Holder. The passenger got into the vehicle and so the Licence Holder then asked where he wanted to go to. The passenger replied Brandlesholme Road and the Licence Holder then told him to  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.143