Agenda and minutes

Licensing Committee
Monday, 24th February, 2020 10.00 am, MOVED

Venue: Council Chamber - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ

Contact: Lucy Bonshor 

Items
No. Item

32.

Apologies

33.

Disclosure of interests

34.

Minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2019 pdf icon PDF 180 KB

EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC

It was anticipated that, in accordance with Section 100A (4) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (as amended) the public may be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business because of the likelihood that other wise exempt information, as described in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Act (as amended) would be disclosed to the public.

 

35.

Hackney Carriage Driver Application

    Report ENV741 from the Licensing Officer.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Decision:

     

    To grant a licence to drive a Hackney Carriage for the full three years.

     

    The Legal Advisor introduced those present and confirmed that name of the applicant.

     

    The Licensing Officer submitted exempt report ENV742 which concerned whether an applicant met the fit and proper test to be a taxi driver within the South Kesteven District.

     

    An application for a hackney carriage drivers licence was received in November 2019.  On checking the Statutory Declaration with regards to the applicants medical  it was found that the applicants doctor had put an x in the box which indicated that he had a condition or was undergoing treatment that could impair their fitness to drive under Group 2 standards of fitness and they had a legal responsibility to inform DVLA.  The applicant was invited to the Grantham Office to discuss the application and the medical procedure was explained to him. 

     

    The Licensing Team Leader contacted DVLA to ask who in their department could give an answer as to whether the applicant would meet Group 2 medical standards applied by them to the licensing of lorry and bus drivers.  Mrs Robinson was told that they could only answer if the applicant held a Group 2 DVLA Licence.  All hackney carriage and private hire drivers are only required to hold a Group 1 DVLA.  A letter was sent to the Drivers Medical Enquiries at DVLA in December 2019, to explain the Council’s position and ask for advice as to what the Council could do to get an answer to the question, to date no reply had been received.

     

    The Council’s Human Resources department was contacted to see if the Council’s Occupational Health GP’s could be utilised but they did not offer this service.

     

    An e-mail was sent to the applicant’s doctor regarding the applicants medical to clarify the Statutory Declaration.  The response from the GP stated that the responsibility for assessing the fitness was with the Licensing Authority.  An e-mail was also received from Lincolnshire Medical Council stating that GP’s and practices were advised to complete the medical with factual information, but not give an opinion about the fitness to drive.  Council’s should have their own medical advisor or seek advice from DVLA.

     

    The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, Section 57(2) specifically allows a local authority to require a medical certificate certifying that the applicant was physically fit to be the driver of a hackney carriage.  It also allows examination of the driver to assess their physical fitness.  The Council’s own Policy 2015, 3.6.1 page 15 states that the Authority requires Group 2 Standards of Medical Fitness, as applied by the DVLA to the licensing of lorry and bus drivers, as the appropriate standard for licensed hackney carriage and private hire drivers.

     

    Under Medical Fitness the Department of Transport Best Practice Guidance states:

     

    It is clearly good practice for medicals checks to be made on each driver before the initial grant of a licence and thereafter for each renewal.  There is general recognition that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Hackney Carriage Driver Application

    Report ENV742 from the Licensing Officer.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Decision:

     

    To suspend the driver’s Hackney Carriage licence for a period of 11 months.

     

    The Legal Advisor introduced those present and confirmed the applicants name and his Legal Representative’s name.

     

    The Licensing Officer presented exempt report ENV741 which concerned whether a hackney carriage driver remained a fit and proper person to be licensed.  The driver had held a hackney carriage licence since April 2018 and during this time no complaints had been received regarding his conduct as a hackney carriage driver.

     

    Whilst looking in a local newspaper, a member of the Licensing Team noted that the applicant had been convicted of fraud and had been sentenced and had had to pay compensation and costs.  Two Licensing Officers met with the applicant and he confirmed the content of the newspaper was correct.  He stated that he had been advised by the duty solicitor at the Court that the convictions should not affect his hackney carriage licence and that the Council should not be notified until the applicant had received his official letter from the Court.  He was told the letter could take up to ten days to arrive, it had not arrived before he met with the two Licensing Officers on 15 January 2020.  The applicant was given the opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the conviction which had taken place approximately four years ago.  He was advised that he would be referred to the Licensing Committee for a decision as to whether he remained a fit and proper person to hold a hackney carriage driver’s licence.  

     

    The Licensing Officer referred Members to the relevant section of the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy (para 3.12.2) which allowed the Officers to impose a maximum of 6 penalty points on a driver’s hackney carriage licence where they failed to report a conviction within the required period.   It was felt that the conviction itself and the determination as to whether the applicant remained a fit and proper person to hold a hackney carriage drivers’ licence was beyond the scope of the penalty points scheme available to officers and therefore the matter had been referred to the Committee.  Members were referred to Appendix D of the Council’s policy for details and guidance when determining the relevance of convictions.

     

    The Applicants Legal Representative then presented his case.  There was no uncertainty that the applicant had failed to comply with the requirements of the Councils policy.  The Legal Representative then outlined what had happened at court and the role of a duty solicitor and the large area of the law that they had to represent.  Unfortunately, knowledge in relation to licensing law was more specialised and the duty solicitor would be unaware of the breaches to a local authority’s policy by not informing them accordingly.  The Legal Representative then went on to speak about the convictions and how they occurred and answered Members questions thereon.  He then discussed the options available to the Committee and what the Council’s own Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

Close of Meeting