Licensing Committee Minutes

Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday 3 November 2014
Time:
1:00 p.m.
Place:
Mandela Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Taylor (Chair); Councillor J A Walker (VIce-Chair); Councillor R Arundale, Councillor S Biswas, Councillor R Brady, Councillor P Sharrocks, Councillor M Thompson
Officers:
B Carr, C Cunningham and T Hodgkinson
Apologies for absence:
Councillor M Hudson, Councillor T Mawston, Councillor G Purvis, Councillor M B Williams
Declarations of interest:
Name of Member Type of Interest Item/Nature of Interest
Councillor B Taylor Non-Pecuniary Agenda Item 6 - Case Ref 30/14 - Witness known to Councillor
Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
14/56 MINUTES - LICENSING COMMITTEE - 13 OCTOBER 2014

The minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 13 October 2014 were taken as read and approved as a correct record.

14/57 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC.

ORDERED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that, if present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 or 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.

EXEMPT
Assistant Director - Improving Health
14/58 APPLICATION FOR COMBINED HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF: 53/14

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an Application for a Combined Hackney Carriage/ Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence Ref: 53/14, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The applicant, who was accompanied by his wife, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

 

Members were advised that the application had been due to be considered at the Licensing Committee held on 13 October 2014, however prior to the meeting the Applicant had advised that he was unable to attend therefore the application had been deferred to the next meeting.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the details of the offence detailed at 1) in the submitted report. The applicant confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee. The applicant's wife addressed the Committee on behalf of the applicant and the applicant responded to questions from Members of the Committee and the Principal Licensing Officer. 

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant, his wife and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council's Legal Services and Members' Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.

Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committee's decision.

 

ORDERED that the Application for Combined Hackney Carriage/ Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence Ref: 53/14 be granted.

 

In granting the application, Members had taken into consideration:

 

1. The information contained in the report.


2. The representations from the applicant and his wife.
 

3. The fact that the applicant had been free from convictions for a period of over three years and this fitted within the Council’s Policy Guidance on Convictions.
 

4. The fact that the applicant had been granted a taxi licence from a neighbouring authority.

**Councillor Taylor declared an interest in the following agenda item and left the meeting whilst the item was considered.

 

In the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair of the Committee assumed the position of Chair for the following Item.

14/59 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF: 30/14

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with a Review of a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 30/14, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The driver was first licensed  with Middlesbrough Council as a Private Hire Vehicle Driver in January 2007 following an appearance before the Licensing Committee. At that time Members considered four offences now considered to be too old to be of relevance to this application and chose to grant the licence. At that time Members had advised the driver that if he committed any further offences, he would be brought back before the Licensing Committee.

 

In April 2011, the Licensing Section were in the process of arranging for the driver to appear before the Licensing Committee in relation to the offences detailed at 1) to 3) of the report, when the driver contacted the Licensing Office to advise that he had been disqualified from driving following the offence detailed at 4) in the report. At that time, the driver surrendered his Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence.

 

The driver next appeared before the Licensing Committee in October 2012 with a new application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence. On that occasion, because of the driver's previous history of driving offences, Members had determined that the driver should undertake the Driver Improvement Scheme prior to a licence being issued. The driver undertook the Scheme in December 2012 and a copy of the assessment sheet completed by the course instructor was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  Following completion of the course, in consultation with the Chair of the Licensing Committee, Officers granted the Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence.

 

In June 2013, information was received from Cleveland Police via the Notifiable Occupations Scheme, which stated that the driver had been arrested in relation to a sexual assault on a female passenger in his vehicle. Following receipt of this information, the driver's Private Hire Vehicle Licence was suspended with immediate effect in June 2013. In July 2013, Cleveland Police had notified the Licensing Section that no further action was to be taken in relation to the above matter. The driver had always denied any wrongdoing and as a consequence the suspension was lifted and the driver's Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence was returned.

 

The driver now appeared before the Committee following the receipt of a complaint from a member of the public regarding his behaviour and an incident where the driver had been identified as parking a Private Hire Vehicle in an inappropriate manner.

 

The Vice-Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The driver verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the details of the offences detailed at 1) to 4) in the submitted report and a complaint about his behaviour from a member of the public and a report from another member of the taxi trade about inappropriate parking. The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts.

 

At this point of the meeting the witness in relation to the complaint received on 27 January 2014 was invited into the room. The Vice-Chair made introductions and explained the procedure to be followed. The witness confirmed the content of his submitted statement (attached at Appendix 2) relating to the incident that had occurred on 27 January 2014 . It was confirmed that there were no questions for the witness, the Vice-Chair thanked the witness for his attendance and he left the meeting.

 

The driver was invited to address the Committee. The driver addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members of the Committee and the Principal Licensing Officer.  

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the driver and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council's Legal Services and Members' Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the review.

 

Subsequently the driver and the Principal Licensing Officer returned and the Chair announced the Committee's decision.
 

ORDERED that Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 30/14 be retained but the applicant be given a stern warning with regard to his future conduct for the following reason:

 

1. The Committee upheld the complaint submitted by the witness as they believed his version of events to be credible.


In allowing the driver to retain his licence, Members had taken into consideration the information contained in the report and the representations from the driver and the witness.  

 

**Councillor Taylor returned to the room at this point and assumed the position of Chair

14/60 REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF: 54/14

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with a Review of a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 54/14, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The driver was first licensed with Middlesbrough Council as a Private Hire Vehicle Driver in October 2013. He had applied for his first licence in February 2013 at which time the only offence detailed on his DVLA driving licence was the offence detailed at 1) in the report. The offence detailed at 2) was committed after the driver had submitted his application for a Private Hire Vehicle Licence but before the licence was granted. The driver had not reported the offence detailed at 2) to the report as the requirement to report an offence only relates to licensed drivers and he had not obtained his licence at the time when the offence was committed. 

 

The Licensing Section did not become aware of the second offence until the driver had submitted an application to renew his licence on 10 September 2014. The Licensing Section was in the process of amending procedures to ensure that any offences committed after submission of an application but before a licence was issued were declared. In accordance with the Council's Licensing Policy any licensed driver who has incurred 9 or more penalty points on their DVLA licence must be referred to the Licensing Committee for consideration of their suitability to retain their licence.

 

The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The driver verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the circumstances of the case in relation to the offences detailed at 1) and 2) in the submitted report. The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee. The driver addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members of the Committee and the Principal Licensing Officer. 

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the driver and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council's Legal Services and Members' Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the Review.

Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committee's decision.

 

The Chair advised that Members needed further clarification with regard to the information contained in the submitted report. It was suggested that the Review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 54/14 be adjourned to the next meeting of the Licensing Committee to provide the Licensing Section with the opportunity to re-interview the driver to provide clarification on the information contained within the Committee report.
 

ORDERED that the Review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence: Ref: 54/14 be adjourned to the next available Committee meeting, to give Licensing Officers the opportunity to re-interview the driver to provide clarification on the information contained within the Committee report.

14/61 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF: 56/14

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an Application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 56/14, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The applicant, who was accompanied by his future employer, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the details of the offences detailed at 1) to 5) in the submitted report. The applicant confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee. The applicant's future employer addressed the Committee on behalf of the applicant and the applicant responded to questions from Members of the Committee.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant, his future employer and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council's Legal Services and Members' Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.

Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committee's decision.

 

ORDERED that the application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 56/14 be granted.

 

In granting the application, Members had taken into consideration the information contained in the report and the representations from the applicant and his employer. Members also noted that the applicant had not had any convictions since 2009.

 

The offence in 2009 was suspended for a period of 18 months and the end of the sentence was April 2011. The Council's Guidance on Convictions states that for this particular offence, a licence will be refused unless a period of at least 1-3 years free from conviction, caution or complaint has elapsed since the date of conviction or completion of any sentence imposed whichever is the later.

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