Licensing Committee Minutes

Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday 11 January 2016
Time:
1:00 p.m.
Place:
Mandela Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor B E Taylor (Chair), Councillor J A Walker (Vice Chair); Councillor R Arundale, Councillor S Biswas, Councillor R Brady, Councillor J Goodchild, Councillor T Lawton, Councillor L Lewis, Councillor D McCabe, Councillor G Purvis and Councillor J Rathmell
Officers:
C Cunningham, J Dixon and T Hodgkinson.
Apologies for absence:
Councillor T Mawston.
Declarations of interest:

There were no Declarations of Interest made by Members at this point in the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
15/70 MINUTES - LICENSING COMMITTEE - 14 DECEMBER 2015.

The Minutes of the previous Licensing Committee held on 14 December 2015 were submitted and approved as a correct record.

15/71 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 and 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
15/72 REVIEW OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE DRIVER LICENCE - REF. NO: 01/16

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Hackney Carriage Driver Licence, Ref: 01/16, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The driver, who was in attendance at the meeting, 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 driver’s health. The driver was first licensed with as a Hackney Carriage driver by Middlesbrough Council in April 1996. He had renewed his licence annually until he suffered an issue with his heart in May 2015 and handed in his driver’s badge to the Licensing Section and ceased driving licensed vehicles as he did not meet the requirements of the DVLA at that time.

 

It was reported that the driver had since undergone treatment for his condition and, on 11 December 2015, the driver’s heart specialist had written to the Licensing Section (copy attached at Appendix 1) advising on the driver’s current medical status. In summary, he advised that the driver did not meet the current DVLA requirements, however, he supported the driver in retaining his licence and stated that further assessment could be undertaken if required.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer provided further information to the Committee by explaining the DVLA Group Two Medical Standards that were required of drivers in relation to specific medical conditions. The Group Two Medical Standards were much stricter than the requirements for Group One motorists and included HGV and PSV drivers. The Council’s current policy required drivers to satisfy the requirements of the DVLA Group Two Medical Standard and meeting the requirements of functional testing in relation to the driver’s condition was part of that standard.

 

Further information in relation to the driver’s condition and correspondence between the Licensing Section and the Consultant Cardiologist was also shared with the Committee.

 

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 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.

 

ORDERED that Hackney Carriage Driver Licence, Ref 01/16, be revoked for the following reasons:-

  1. The Committee had considered the information provided by the Consultant Cardiologist which confirmed that the driver was unable to meet the requirements of functional testing (ie exercise testing). Although the Consultant advised, amongst other matters, that he would support the driver in getting his licence back, he understood that the final decision rested with the Council. The Council’s current policy required drivers to satisfy the requirements of the DVLA Group Two Medical Standard and meeting the requirements of functional testing in relation to the driver’s condition was part of that standard. The driver had not been able to fully complete the test without abnormalities.
  2. The Committee’s overriding concern was to ensure public safety and felt that the driver should not continue to drive taxis whilst he was unable to meet the Group Two Medical Standard required by the DVLA and the Council.

The driver was reminded of his Right of Appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date of the decision.
 

15/73 APPLICATION FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF. NO: 02/16

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: 02/16, 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 in attendance at the meeting, 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) to 3) and the complaints detailed at 1) to 7) in the submitted report.

 

The applicant had previously been licensed as a taxi driver by Middlesbrough Council from August 1997 until September 2013 when his licence was revoked by the Licensing Committee following a review of his licence. The applicant appealed the decision to the Magistrates Court where it was refused. He subsequently appealed to the Crown Court where the appeal was again refused.

 

The applicant made an application to the Council for a Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle driver licence which was considered by the Licensing Committee in February 2015. Members refused the application as the Committee considered that the applicant had behaved aggressively towards public servants whilst carrying out their duties and that his driving standards had been unsafe.

 

The applicant now appeared before Members with a fresh application. He was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 22 December 2015 at which time he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware and confirmed his previous explanations in relation to the complaints at 1) to 7) and the offences detailed at 1) to 3).

 

The applicant confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee.

 

The applicant presented the case in support of his application and responded to questions from Members and the Council’s legal representative.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant 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 Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 02/16, be granted.

 

The Committee wished to remind the applicant of his responsibilities as a taxi driver and highlighted that his previous behaviour towards public servants was unacceptable and would not be tolerated. He was reminded of the importance of showing respect to members of the public and public servants.
 

15/74 REVIEW OF COMBINED HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE - REF. NO: 48/15.

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 48/15, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The driver, who was in attendance at the meeting, 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.

 

Members were reminded that the matter was due to be considered at the Licensing Committee on 14 December 2015, however, the driver had contacted the Licensing Section prior to the meeting to advise that he was unable to attend. Members, therefore, chose to defer the matter to the next available meeting.

 

The driver was first licensed with the Council in August 2009 and had not been required to appear before Members previously. The driver had never received any complaints in relation to his standard of driving or his behaviour.

 

The driver was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 25 November 2015 at which time he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware, confirmed that the fine in relation to the offences had been paid and offered explanations in relation to the offences detailed at 1) and 2).

 

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.

 

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 application.

 

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

 

ORDERED that Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 48/15, be retained but that the driver be required to complete the Driver Improvement Scheme, at his own expense, within 12 weeks.

 

The Council’s policy guidance on convictions, cautions and complaints stated that a driver with nine or more penalty points on their DVLA licence would be expected to complete the Driver Improvement Scheme. The driver currently had nine points on his DVLA licence.

 

It was highlighted that the driver would only be returned to Committee should he fail to complete the course within 12 weeks or if he failed to complete the course to a satisfactory standard.
 

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