Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing and Safety Committee - Thursday, 9th June, 2022 7.00 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Bury Town Hall

Contact: Michael Cunliffe  Democratic Services

Items
No. Item

LSP.1

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Councillor M Smith

 

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:

Councillor Rydeheard declared an interest that in his employment he had worked on a number of cases involving both Private Hire and Hackney Carriage drivers.

 

LSP.3

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 336 KB

The minutes of the meeting held on the 20th of April 2022 are attached. Members of the Licensing and 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 the 20th April 2022 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 Panel is responsible.

 

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

Minutes:

Members of the public were in attendance at the meeting although no questions had been pre submitted or were verbally asked at the meeting.

 

LSP.5

OPERATIONAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 720 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:

 

The Licensing Service had dealt with a number of compliance and

enforcement matters between the 4th April and the 15th May 2022.

 

SECURITY OF LICENCES

 

The Licensing Service were seeking a prosecution of a driver who produced a

Fraudulent Private Hire Drivers Licence to his Private Hire Operator in order

that he could continue working. As a consequence of this investigation

holograms are now to be added to all licences as an extra security measure.

 

Operators have been informed to check for this when a licence is produced to

them and have been informed to always ask for the original and not a

copy/photocopy of official documentation.

 

AMENDMENT OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE CONDITIONS

 

Stage 2 Minimum Licensing Standards was approved at full Council on 24th

November 2021 and part of this was new conditions for Private Hire Vehicle

Licences. All Private Hire Vehicle Licences issued on or after 25th November

2021 are now subject to the new conditions. Bury were the first Licensing

Authority in Greater Manchester to implement Stage 2 Common Minimum

Licensing Standards. Due to unexpected delays with the implementation of

Stage 2 Minimum Licensing Standards across Greater Manchester, details

regarding previous signage requirements were omitted from private hire

license conditions. This omitted information was detailed in the report

attached to the agenda packs listed under condition 5.

 

A new set of conditions containing the information was sent out to all affected

licences on 6th May which replaced the conditions that were previously

attached to affected licences. The conditions have been amended for all

private hire vehicle licences being issued going forward. Any new conditions

related to vehicle signage will be brought before the Licensing & Safety

Committee and included in the report on new vehicle livery and signage as

specified in the Stage 2 Minimum Licensing Standards report.

 

PARTNERSHIP WORKING

 

Licensing Enforcement Officers worked alongside GMP on the evening of

Friday 29 April. Fifteen premises were visited across the borough and checks

carried out. Three premises were advised to obtain Challenge 25 signage

(signage to advise that ID is needed to purchase alcohol if you appear to be

under the age of 25), two premises were advised as they were not displaying

the summary of their licence and one takeaway was advised that they were

not permitted to open past 11.00pm and must obtain a licence if they wished

to do so.

 

FEE INCREASE

 

6=Under Section 70(3) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions)

Act 1976 notice was given on  14 April 2022 of the proposal to increase the

current fees charged in respect of licences for Hackney Carriage Vehicles,

Private Hire Vehicles and Private Hire Operators. The 28 day objection period

for this ended on 12 May 2022 and no objections were received. Therefore

the new fees to be implemented are as below.

 

Vehicles under  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.5

LSP.6

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.7

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.8

APPLICATION TO GRANT A PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENCE CONTRARY TO CURRENT POLICY

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

Minutes:

The Executive Director (Operations) submitted a report relating to an application for the grant of a private hire vehicle licence contrary to current Council policy.

 

The Applicant and a family member who acted as his representative, 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 and presented by the Licensing Unit Manager, set out the reasons the application had been brought before the Committee.

 

The Licensing Unit Manager reported that the Common Minimum Licensing Standards for Vehicles had been agreed and adopted by the Council in November 2021. This included a requirement in relation to vehicle standards regarding the age of vehicles, namely that for private hire vehicles, only those under 5 years of age were to be allowed onto the fleet and vehicles would not be allowed to remain on the fleet from 10 years of age.

 

The Licensing Unit Manager went on to explain that following the introduction

of this standard the Licensing Service sent an email to all licence holders on

the 3rd December 2021 informing them of the new changes that had been

implemented and giving the link to the Council’s website to enable licence

holders to view the changes.

 

On 1st April 2022, the Licensing Service received an email from the Applicant advising that he had tried to complete an online application to licence a private hire vehicle but had not been able to. Enquiries of the Applicant revealed that the vehicle had been involved in an accident in November 2021 and as a result, its licence had been suspended by a Licensing Enforcement Officer on 30 November 2021 following severe damage to the front and rear offside doors, front off side wheel arch and rear off side door sill. The vehicle had previously been licensed by the Applicant from 9 November 2017, but it had expired on 8 February 2022 and a renewal application had not been made. 

 

The Applicant stated that the vehicle had been repaired and was ready for use on 23 March 2022. However as he was unable to apply for a new licence on line he stated he had tried to telephone the Licensing Service on 25th and 28th March but there was no answer. He did state that he had left a voicemail but the Service advised there was no record of this. He then stated that he had managed to speak to an advisor on 29th March and received the link to apply on 30th March. On 1st April he then tried to apply but due to the vehicle being over 5 years old at that time, a new application could not be made as the online application system is set to automatically reject any application that does not meet the age policy. At that date, it was over 5 years old as its date  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.8

LSP.9

Suspension / Revocation of Public / Private Hire Driver Licences

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

Minutes:

Licence Holder 1/2022

 

The Executive Director (Operations) submitted a report relating to Licence Holder 1/2022 who was in attendance at 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 Licence Holder and presented by the Licensing Manager, set out the reasons for the Licence Holder being before the Committee.

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The report stated that the Licence Holder had held a private hire driver’s licence continually since 29 October 2009 until its expiry on the 14 April 2022. He submitted an application to renew his private hire drivers’ licence on the 12 February 2022. As part of the application the applicants are asked if they have any traffic offences as these must be declared irrespective of when they occurred. The Licence Holder selected ‘no’ when asked “Do you have any convictions, fines or formal cautions?” and then selected ‘yes’ when asked “Have you been issued with any fixed Penalty notices and stated ‘3 points for speeding fine 38 mph’. A subsequent check of the applicants DVLA licence revealed a conviction for speeding on 21 November 2021 for which the Licence Holder received 3 penalty points and a fine of £100.

 

The Licensing Service has no record of this offence. Consequently, it has not been declared within the correct time frame as stipulated in the private hire drivers licence conditions.

 

The Licence Holder would also have received an email sent to all licensed drivers by the Licensing Unit Manager on 27th May 2021 reminding them of the conditions attached warning them of the need to declare all motoring convictions and fixed penalty notices in a timely manner.

 

When contacted by the Licensing Enforcement Officer for an explanation, the Licence Holder explained that he had been in the trade for over 30 years both as a driver and Operator and accepted that he should have known to disclose the offence. He stated he was very sorry for his oversight and would be aware of the requirement in the future. When asked about the email that was sent out in May 2021, he did not recall reading or receiving it.

 

The Licence Holder apologised to the Committee and explained he must have disregarded the email sent in May 2021 and it was an oversight on his part and the matter would not be repeated again. He confirmed he had been in the business for 39 years and was sole guardian for his daughter.

 

The Licence Unit Manager asked if the Licence Holder had read the conditions printed on his licence and he stated that he had not read them recently but going forward would refresh himself with them.

 

The Licence Holder also submitted a letter of support from a taxi operator he undertakes school contract work for, confirming there have been no complaints or concerns regarding the Licence Holder and that his work was of a high standard.  ...  view the full minutes text for item LSP.9