Executive Member for Community Protection Minutes

Executive Member for Community Protection Minutes

Date:
Wednesday 21 November 2012
Time:
1:00 p.m.
Place:
Oberhausen Room,Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor J Rostron
Officers:
Tim Hodgkinson and Tracy Warburton
Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
12/5 AMENDMENT TO HACKNEY CARRIAGE & PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE AND PRIVATE HIRE OPERATOR CONDITIONS & POLICIES

The Executive Director of Neighbourhoods and Communities submitted a report seeking approval for 3 amendments to the Council’s current conditions and policies in relation to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles and Private Hire Operators following a recent consultation with the taxi trade.

 

The Executive Member recalled that these amendments were previously proposed in a report which was to be considered at a meeting on 22 August 2012. However, immediately prior to the meeting correspondence was received from Middlesbrough Hackney Carriage Association, Middlesbrough Borough Cars Limited, and Mr J Durkin, HC proprietor objecting to the recommendations in the report in relation to proposals 1 and 3. As a result of those representations, the Executive Member decided to adjourn consideration of the report until the concerns raised in the representations were discussed at the Quality Taxi Partnership (QTP).

 

At a meeting of the QTP held on 1 October 2012 the representations were discussed. Both the Hackney Carriage Association, who also spoke on behalf of Mr Durkin, and Middlesbrough Borough Cars Limited were in attendance and had the opportunity to voice their concerns. During the meeting a number of matters were addressed and clarified, particularly in relation to the Hackney Carriage Association and Mr Durkin’s concerns as to the proposed amendment to the Private Hire Operator Licence condition detailed in Proposal 1. Officers and the Council’s Legal Officer confirmed that the proposed amendment was necessary to make all Private Hire Operators subject to the same condition, the wording of which had previously been amended by a District Judge sitting at Teesside Magistrates Court on 4 April 2011 and Crown Court on 13 December 2011.

 

Middlesbrough Borough Cars Limited stated that whilst they had no objection to the proposal to amend the policy to allow pro rata refunds as detailed in Proposal 3, they believed that the date for the introduction of the policy should be January 2012 rather than 1 April 2012 as previously recommended by Officers. They stated that they had surrendered a number of licences in January 2012 and that to introduce the policy from April 2012 would be unfair and would have had substantial financial consequences for their company.

 

Officers have had the opportunity to consider all representations and recommended that the Executive Member approved the proposals previously made, with the exception of the Proposal 3. It was now recommended that the amendment to the policy in relation to refunds became effective from 1 January 2012 and that refunds would only be issued in respect of vehicle licences surrendered after this date.

 

There was three proposals outlined in detail within the report, that the Executive Member was asked to approve.

 

ORDERED

 

That the recommendations set out in paragraph 6 of the report be approved.

REASONS

 

The decision was supported by the following reasons:

  1. That approving the recommendation in relation to Proposal 1 would standardise the Private Hire Operator licence conditions for all Private Hire Operators licensed by the Council to reflect the decision made by the District Judge at the appeal hearing at Teesside Magistrates Court on 4 April 2011 and Crown Court on 13 December 2011.
  2. That approving the recommendation in relation to Proposal 2 would greatly assist those proprietors who were seeking to licence a vehicle whose vehicle registration document was temporarily unavailable and would speed up the application process.
  3. That aproving the recommendation in relation to Proposal 3 would provide a financial benefit to those proprietors who no longer wished to continue to licence Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles.
12/6 REVIEW OF GAMBLING ACT 2005; LICENSING POLICY STATEMENT

The Executive Director of Neighbourhoods and Communities submitted a report updating on the results of a statutory public consultation on the Gambling Act 2005 Licensing Policy Statement, and to seek comments from the Executive before the Report was presented to full Council.

 

The Gambling Act 2005 gave powers and responsibilities to licensing authorities to issue licences for gambling premises. This legislation came into full effect on September 2007 and effectively modernised gambling legislation, providing an improved structure for gambling regulation.

 

The Act also created a new independent regulatory body; The Gambling Commission. The Gambling Commission regulates operators and deals with national gambling issues.

 

The Act contained three licensing objectives underpinning the function that the Gambling Commission and local authorities would perform. Those objectives are outlined within the report.

 

The Act provided for three types of licences. Operating and Personal licences which were issued by the Gambling Commission. Premises Licences were issued by the Council and they authorised the provision of gambling facilities on certain premises including casino premises, bingo premises, betting premises, adult gaming centres and family entertainment centres. Councils could attach conditions to premises licences.

 

The Council as a licensing authority was required to prepare and publish a Gambling Act 2005: Licensing Policy Statement of Principles that it proposed to apply in exercising its functions under the Act. In December 2006, the Council formally ratified its first Statement of Gambling Licensing Policy. The Policy was again reviewed in 2009, reflecting changes as a result of the Council being approved as one of the Local Authorities permitted to issue a Large Casino Premise Licence. This Policy was formally ratified by the Council on 2 December 2009.

 

The Licensing Authority was required to keep their Gambling Policy under review and was required as a minimum to review it every three years, or sooner if the authority considered it to be necessary. This authority was required to review its current policy by 31 January 2013. A draft amended Policy was prepared by Officers for consultation. There were no significant amendments proposed to the draft Policy which was prepared for consultation other than some amendments to the wording, which is outlined in further detail within the report.

 

Further details of the below changes to the draft amended Policy was outlined within the report.

  • The Casino Application Process
  • Proposed Amendments to the Gambling Commission’s ‘Guidance to Local Authorities’
  • Primary Gambling Activity on Betting Premises
  • Amendments to contact addresses for Responsible Authorities
  • Consultation

In line with Gambling Act, 2005, Licensing Authorities were required to review their Gambling Policy every three years. The current Policy was implemented in 31 January 2010, and therefore, must be reviewed and published by 31 January 2013.

 

The process for reviewing the Gambling Act Policy was set down in the Gambling Act and associated Guidance. Failure to follow this process may leave the Council open to future legal challenges against its policy.
 

ORDERED

 

That the responses to the consultation on the contents of the Draft Licensing Policy Statement of Principles be noted; and

 

The attached draft Licensing Policy Statement of Principles prior to the Policy going to full Council, subject to any views expressed by the Executive be endorsed.

 

REASONS

 

The decision was supported by the following reasons:

  1. In order to comply with the Gambling Act 2005 and relevant Guidance, the Council’s Licensing Policy Statement of Principles had to be reviewed and published by 31st January 2010 as a statutory requirement. The Gambling Act 2005 had a requirement for the Licensing Authority’s Gambling Act Policy: Statement of Principles to be approved by full Council.
  2. The Policy was required to provide consistency and transparency for all person wishing to apply for a licence or permit, including the new style casino licence for which Middlesbrough had been short-listed.
The decision(s) will come into force after five working days following the day the decision(s) was taken unless the decision becomes subject to the call in procedures.
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