Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing and Safety Committee - Thursday, 27th May, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Michael Cunliffe 

Items
No. Item

LSP.1

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted by Councillor C Walsh.

LSP.2

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 made at the meeting.

 

LSP.3

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 151 KB

The Minutes of the Meeting held on the 22nd April 2021 are attached. Members of the Licensing & Safety Committee are asked to consider whether these are a correct record of the meeting, and if so, to formally approve them.

Minutes:

Delegated decision:

 

That the Minutes of the last meeting held on 22nd April 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

LSP.4

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

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

 

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

Minutes:

Responding to a question received from Charlie Oakes representing the Hackney Drivers Association Ltd, the Chair reported:

 

Thanks for the question.  Now that Covid restrictions have been lifted, we are keen to resume engagement with trade representatives by reinstating the trade liaison meetings.  In addition, both the Licensing Service and I remain available to any member of the Hackney Carriage or Private Hire trade and their representatives, should they need to contact us. 

 

Following the announcement at the Council Budget meeting in February, to consider a second testing station for the testing of licensed hackney carriage and private hire vehicles. I would like to point out that this area of work is extensive which requires the involvement of other areas of the Council (Procurement, Finance and Trade Unions) and outside agencies such as VOSA. Considering this, the matter will need to be investigated, consulted on and taken through the appropriate governance requirements at the Council. Currently a timeframe has not been devised on this matter but will need to be produced in due course.

 

Purdah rules before elections dictate that we cannot begin formal consultations however, now the election is over, we will of course ensure that consultation takes place with the trade and representatives at the planning stages and before implementation.  We want to see through this review of testing of licensed vehicles which will require the licensing service to engage with all the other departments within the Council and other agencies and report back to this Committee at the appropriate time. Members of this Committee and the Licensing Service look forward to working with all trade representatives on this and other business over the coming year.  

 

LSP.5

OPERATIONAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 445 KB

A report from the Executive Director (Operations) is attached.

Minutes:

The Executive Director (Operations) submitted a report advising Members on operational issues within the Licensing Service.

 

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

 

  • MANDATORY SAFEGUARDING

 

The Licensing Service has undertaken a review and records and have identified 39 drivers who have not undertaken safeguarding training. The Licensing Service will write to those drivers to advise them that they need to complete the training as a matter

of urgency. Failure to complete the training may result in the Licensing Service taking further action.

 

  • CLEAN AIR PLAN EXECUTIVE MEMBER BRIEFING

 

On the 21st May 2021, an Executive Member Briefing took place in relation to the Clean Air Plan, this was held by Transport for Greater Manchester.

 

  • EASING OF LOCKDOWN STEP 2 - WORKING WITH MARKETS

 

Officers of the Public Protection Service have been advising the markets office in relation to the requirements of Step 2 – Lockdown easing. Cafes that were unable to put tables and chairs outside their stalls and businesses were permitted to create a food court style operation for patrons to utilise.

 

  • EASING OF LOCKDOWN STEP 3 HOSPITALITY

 

Officers of the Public Protection Service have hand delivered 326 letters to licensed premises to advise them of their obligations before the Step 3 requirements came into force on the 17th May 2021.

 

  • GO ELECTRIC TAXI EVENTS

 

The Licensing Service have been working with Transport for Greater Manchester to inform both the Hackney Carriage and Private hire Trade of two workshops that have taken place on the 15th April and the 29th April 2021. The workshops were arranged to assist Hackney and Private Hire drivers understanding about EV vehicles, charging, debunking myths and

to allow questions directly to manufacturers of Electric Vehicles.

 

 

  • INCREASE IN VEHICLE AND OPERATOR LICENCE FEES

 

The Licensing Service have advertised the increase in fees for vehicle and operator undersection 70(3) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. No objections to the fee increase was received therefore the fees were increased on the 23rd April 2021.

 

The new fees are as follows:

Vehicles under 2 years old £229.00 (£173.00 plus £56.00)

Vehicles over 2 years old £285.00 (£173.00 plus £112.00)

Any Vehicles allocated 3 tests per year £341.00 ((£173.00 plus £168.00)

Private Hire Operators 1-2 vehicles (One Year) £274.00

Private Hire Operators 3 or more vehicles (One Year) £390.00

Private Hire Operators 1-2 vehicles (5 Year) £1334.00

Private Hire Operators 3 or more vehicles (5 Year) £1862.00

 

  • REQUEST TO CONTACT LICENCE HOLDERS WHO LIVE IN BOLTON

 

Following the request of the Health Protection Board, the Licensing Service have sent out over 998 emails and 49 letters to licence holders that live in Bolton to advise them of the variant of concern that is in circulation and reminding them of their responsibilities and to follow the latest Government advice.

 

Members sought assurances from the Licensing Manager that the issues of concern raised in respect of facilitation of the Safeguarding Training by an external provider have been addressed. 

 

It was agreed:  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.5

LSP.6

Review of decisions taken by the Council for Hackney Carriage / Private Hire Trades during the covid 19 Pandemic pdf icon PDF 484 KB

A report from the Executive Director (Operations) is attached.

Minutes:

The Executive Director (Operations) submitted a report relating to the review of  decisions taken by the Council during the Covid 19 Pandemic. As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown a number of practical matters were required to be implemented to ensure safe working practices for clients of the licensed hackney carriage and private hire trade as well as for officers of the licensing service.

 

In light of this an urgent report was considered by the Council Emergency Powers Group on the 14th July 2020.

 

The Licensing Service requested authorisation of the following matters:-

 

To postpone the receipt of new applications for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers for a period of three months until the 30th September 2020.

 

This was requested as new applicant drivers would not be able to satisfy the Council’s pre-requisites requirements before applying for a licence. Partner agencies took decisions to the suspend their services as a result of Covid 19 including providers of taxi driving tests, safeguarding training, and communications tests.

 

To suspend the requirement for medical examinations for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire driver’s renewal applications until the 30th September 2020.

 

Drivers are required to produce medical certificates that prove that they meet the DVSA Group 2 Medical Fitness to drive. Drivers were experiencing difficulty getting medical appointments due to doctors amending their working practices following the COVID19 pandemic. The Licensing Service currently require drivers to self-certify medical fitness and submit to medical examinations once such appointments become easily available.

 

To issue a twelve-month Hackney Carriage and Private Hire driver licence provided that all the requirements to hold the licence have been satisfied.

 

This was done following the request to provide some financial assistance to drivers, the reduced duration of the licence therefore attracted a reduced charge and costs £60 instead of £180 which is the cost for a 3 year licence. These fees have been reviewed and currently an annual drivers licence is £62 and a three year licence is £185

 

To suspend the provision of the required Private Hire & Hackney Carriage knowledge test for new applications until further notice due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

 

This was done to ensure government guidelines on safe working practices which affect licensing staff were followed. There was also a need to implement social distancing measures for drivers attending the test to reduce Covid 19 transmission.

 

The Licensing Service reviewed the previous decisions and asked that members consider whether or not to reinstate the following:

 

  • To re-commence the provision of the Knowledge Test for new applicant drivers

 

The report stated that the preferred option would be to re-instate the knowledge Test. This ensures that applicants have a good knowledge of the local area and are aware of the conditions of their licences should they be granted.

 

  • To re-commence the issuing of three-year hackney carriage/private hire licences, with drivers paying the requisite £185 fee.

 

The report stated that the preferred option would be to re-commence issuing three-year driver’s licences at the current  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.6

LSP.7

URGENT BUSINESS

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

Minutes:

No urgent business was reported at the meeting.

LSP.8

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.9

SUSPENSION/REVOCATION OF A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE

A report from the Executive Director (Operations) is attached.

Minutes:

Licence Holder 27/2020

 

The Executive Director (Operations) submitted a report relating to Licence Holder 01/2021 who attended the meeting with his legal representative. The Chair made introductions and the Council Solicitor outlined the procedure to be followed and clarified that all those present had read the report. The report which was accepted by the Licence Holder set out the reasons for the Licence Holder being before the Committee.

 

The report stated that the License Holder had held a Private Hire Driver’s licence since 29March 2018 until its expiry on the 28March 2021. He submitted an online application for the renewal of a Private Hire Driver’s licence on the 13March 2021.

 

Checks made with the DVLA’s found the Licence Holder had received a fixed penalty notice for failing to comply with traffic light signals in July 2020 and had received 3 penalty points and a £100 fine. This had not been declared to the Licensing Service at the time or in the subsequent renewal application.

 

The License Holder when questioned confirmed he had gone through a red traffic light and had attempted to challenge the fixed penalty at court as he wished to opt for the awareness course instead. However, this was unsuccessful and resulted in a further requirement for him to pay £350.00. He further advised that he failed to declare the points to the Licensing Service at the time of the offence as the penalty points were not endorsed on his licence straightaway and that he believed did not need to make a declaration to the licensing service until the points were endorsed against his driving licence record. He further stated that the reason for failing to declare the points on the renewal licence application was because a friend had completed the application whilst he was on the phone, giving information and the friend didn’t ask whether he had any points to declare.

 

Delegated decision:

 

The Committee carefully considered the report, the additional statement presented by the Licence Holder and oral representations by Licence Holder and his legal representative and taking into account the Council’s Conviction Policy and Guidelines and in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, resolved, to grant the renewal application and to admonish the Licence Holder as to future conduct.

 

LSP.10

APPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCES

A report from the Executive Director (Operations) is attached.

Minutes:

Licence Holder 01/2021

 

The Executive Director (Operations) submitted a report relating to Applicant 2/2021 who attended the meeting. The Chair made introduction and the Council Solicitor outlined the procedure to be followed and clarified that all those present had read the report. The report which was accepted by the Applicant set out the reasons for the Applicant being before the Committee. 

 

This Applicant was first granted a private hire driver’s licence on the 12April 2003, which was valid for 12 months. This was held continuously until 29October 2013 when he allowed it to lapse having recently been banned for driving following a conviction for drink driving. The Applicant reapplied for and was granted a three-year private hire driver’s licence on the 7February 2018 having been brought before the Licensing and Safety Panel. This most recently held licence having expired on the 6February 2021.

 

On the 16 March 2021 the Applicant submitted an online application for a private hire driver’s licence and declared convictions for failure to give information as to identity of driver in July and September 2018 for which he received 6 penalty points for each offence and fines of £300 and £600. He failed to declare these at the time.

 

The Applicant stated that he was using a company vehicle which was registered to the company at the time of the offences. He accepted that whilst working there he had been caught speeding on two separate occasions, however, due to an administrative error by his Private Hire Operator there was a delay in him receiving the penalty notices. Consequently, the penalty was larger as he was called to court. The Applicant maintained that he notified the Licensing Service verbally in August 2019 when trying to transfer a private hire vehicle into his own name.

 

It was reported that the Applicant had been before members of the Committee on two previous occasions in relation to his personal conduct and his behaviour towards Council employees.

 

Delegated decision:

 

The Committee carefully considered the report and oral representations by the Applicant and taking into account the Council’s Conviction Policy and Guidelines and in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, resolved to grant the licence application subject to the mandatory Safeguarding Training being undertaken.</AI9>

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Licence Holder 02/2021

 

The Executive Director (Operations) submitted a report relating to Applicant 2/2021 who attended the meeting. The Chair made introductions and the Council Solicitor outlined the procedure to be followed and clarified that all those present had read the report. The report, which was accepted by the Applicant, set out the reasons for the Applicant being before the Committee. 

 

The report stated that the Applicant has held a held a private hire driver’s licence continually since 5th April 2012 until its expiry on the 26 January 2021. He submitted an online application to renew his Private Hire driver’s licence on the 8 March 2021. This declared a speeding offence, but subsequent checks revealed further speeding offences in August  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.10