The Director of Culture and Communities submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 11/19, 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 accompanied by a driver from the firm of his prospective employer, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report and understood its contents.
The Principal Licensing Officer provided a summary of the report in relation to the applicants convictions detailed at 1) to 5) in the submitted report and made reference to the relevant sections of the Councils Policy Guidance on Convictions, Cautions and Complaints.
The report highlighted that the applicant was interviewed by a Licensing Officer on 5 February 2019 when he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware and provided explanations for the offences at 1) to 5).
It was highlighted that during the interview, the applicant was asked why he had failed to declare all of his previous convictions on his application form. He responded that he had not considered convictions from 25 years ago to be relevant and had not intended to deceive the Licensing Authority and that it had merely been an error.
During the interview, the applicant advised he had previously been licensed as a private hire driver with Stockton Council. The applicant gave authorisation to Middlesbrough Council to obtain further information in relation to his convictions or previous complaints from the police or any other authority should Officers wish to do so.
Since the interview, Officers obtained further information from Cleveland Police on 28 February 2019 giving further details regarding the offences. This information was attached at Appendix 1. Following receipt of the information, the applicant was re-interviewed by a Licensing Officer on 12 March 2019 to clarify several points. Notes of that interview were attached at Appendix 2.
In addition, correspondence was received from Stockton Council which showed that in January 2008, the drivers licence was revoked with immediate effect following his failure to produce a criminal records check. A copy of the correspondence was attached at Appendix 3.
Appendix 4 to the report was a statement obtained from the officer involved in the incident regarding the applicants conviction at 4).
The applicant confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to present the case in support of his application.
The applicant addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members and the Councils legal representative. The driver accompanying the applicant also addressed the Committee in support of the
application and responded to questions from Members.
It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant, his representative and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Councils Legal and Democratic Services, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.
Subsequently, all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committees decision.
ORDERED that the application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 11/19, be granted.
Having considered: the application on its own merits; the report and appendices; the information and representations made by the applicant and his representative; the Councils Policy on the relevance of Convictions, Cautions, Complaints and Driver Conduct ("the Policy") and Section 51 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 ("the Act"), the Committee decided to grant the application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence.
The Chair provided advice to the applicant in relation to the behaviour and conduct that was expected of a licensed driver in Middlesbrough, including ensuring the safety of the travelling public at all times and treating passengers with respect.