Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Council held on 12/12/2006
Minutes of the Meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee 21st November 2006
Licensing and Regulatory Committee 15
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE LICENSING AND REGULATORY COMMITTEE –
21ST NOVEMBER 2006
SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL MEETING – 12TH DECEMBER 2006
(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
Mr L C Bate (Chairman)
Mrs S R Jacobs
Mr J M Savage (Vice-Chairman)
Mrs J R Keen
Mr M J Blower
Dr M-G Lane
Mr M W Byham
Mrs A E Mansell
Mrs E Cable
Mr W M Marshall
Mr V Duckett
Mr A Rayner
Mr R D Frost
Mr J R Sandy
Mr P B Isherwood
(Agenda Item 1)
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 9th October 2006 were confirmed and signed.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
(Agenda Item 2)
Apologies for absence were received from Mr L C Bate, Mr P B Isherwood and Mr J R Sandy.
DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
(Agenda Item 3)
There were no interests raised under this item.
PART I – Recommendations to the Council
HACKNEY CARRIAGE / PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS POLICY
This report addressed and considered the first phase of a programme to update the Council's policy guidelines in respect of licensing for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers, vehicles and Private Hire operators. As a first phase, the report addressed changes which needed to be made in the area of driver licensing. The review had been conducted in the light of recent issues identified by officers and took account of best practice at other licensing authorities.
27.2 Once granted, licences were classed as a possession under Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights. General licensing advice suggests that policy or guidelines should not be established by the Body (in this case the Licensing and Regulatory Committee) which regulated or determined a function. Accordingly, the Committee had been asked to address the Policy issues around such licensing, in conjunction with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, and make recommendations to
Council to update Waverley’s policy regarding the licensing of drivers, subject to consultation with existing licensees where appropriate.
27.3 The Committee noted that there were no direct resource or legal implications for the Council. There would be some implications for applicants, but most of those would be for those who had not yet been granted a licence. There were also Human Rights considerations in the new processes under this licensing regime, and those had been taken into account in the report.
The Committee were reminded that all Hackney Carriage vehicles required a licence issued by the Council, and that the Council could attach such conditions as it considered reasonably necessary. In addition all Hackney Carriage drivers are required to hold a Private Hire driver’s licence issued by the Council and had to satisfy the Council that they were ‘fit and proper’ persons and had held a full DVLA driver’s licence for at least 12 months. The Council had previously agreed that all drivers’ licences would run annually. Any person aggrieved by conditions had a right of appeal to the Magistrates’ Court.
27.5 Before the Council issued a licence, applicants were required to submit a variety of information relating to medical fitness, previous experience, business activity and criminal convictions. At first application, there was also a requirement to provide three character references and all applications were required to be renewed annually when the process would be repeated. Legislation required drivers to have held a full driving licence for a minimum of one year before being licensed, however, officers felt that new applicants should have held a full driving licence for at least two years to gain more experience for driving as a living.
27.6 Applications that required further information or consideration were reported to the Licensing (General Purposes) Committee and this had identified aspects of the application process and conditions on the licences which had become outdated and required review.
Attention was drawn to the fact that recent events had revealed a weakness in the standards of the existing Waverley medical form and the Committee agreed that there was a need to introduce a medical to Group 2 standards, which was common practice in many local authorities and met the requirements of vocational driving for passenger carrying vehicles such as minibuses and other licensed vehicles. The proposal would be raised with existing drivers in a consultation process with a view to adopting it generally at an early date.
Driving Standards Agency (DSA) Test
The Committee concurred with the view of the Driving Standards Agency that professional Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers had a special responsibility for transporting fare-paying passengers safely. Many neighbouring authorities had made passing this test a requirement of first licensing and some had also made it a requirement for existing licensees that they should pass this test within, for instance, a two-year period.
27.9 There were two standards of test according to the vehicle being used and officers were researching the best standard to adopt for Waverley licensees. The second standard encompassed wheelchair enhanced vehicles and the Committee were of the view that in order to encourage operators to provide this type of vehicle the second standard be proposed to take immediate effect for new applications.
Driver Licence Conditions - Proposals for Amendment
The Committee received a list of existing licence conditions and noted the proposed amendments/additions to those which officers considered could be unclear or needed updating. Members concurred with the proposed new wording to the conditions, which were identified in
with the exception of 1(c) where the proposal to stipulate the type of dress drivers be required to wear should simply read “be well dressed, neat and clean”.
27.11 The Committee noted that the recommendations were proposed in order to make it more clear to drivers what their duties were as licensees. Additionally, more stringent requirements on first application should ensure that applicants were better qualified for the job they wished to undertake, and that there was a stronger assurance as to the fitness of each applicant to be licensed. Consultation with existing licensees would meet their rights to continue to work and their comments would be brought back to the Committee for further consideration before any decision would be taken about their licence conditions and medicals, in particular.
27.12 The Committee
the introduction of the Group 2 medical standards take immediate effect for all new applicants for Hackney Carriage / Private Hire driver licences;
4. subject to consultation with existing licensees and a report back if necessary, the introduction of group 2 medicals for existing licensees be implemented;
5. the amendment to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire driver licence conditions, taking into account the Committee’s views, takes immediate effect for new drivers and, after consultation and report back if necessary, with the existing licensees;
6. all new applicants for a Waverley Hackney Carriage or Private Hire driver licence be required to have held a full driving licence for a minimum of two years;
7. the Driving Standards Agency taxi test for all new drivers, to the higher standard for Hackney Carriage drivers, and the lower standard for Private Hire drivers, (with those converting from Private Hire to Hackney Carriage being required to undertake the higher standard test before conversion is approved) be introduced;
8. existing licensees be advised that if they incur driving penalties, the Sub-Committee may require an individual to undertake the DSA taxi test before any licence renewal.
Background Papers (MD)
There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
PARTS II AND III - MATTERS OF REPORT
The background papers relating to the following items in Parts II and III are as specified in the Agenda for the meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee
Part II – Matters reported in detail for the information of the Council
LICENSING ACT 2003 – PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE COUNCIL’S DRAFT STATEMENT OF GAMBLING POLICY
28.1 The draft Statement of Gambling Policy had been considered by the Executive on 11th July 2006 and the recommendation that the draft be adopted was approved by the Council at its meeting on 18th July 2006. A 12-week period of public consultation had been undertaken, which had closed on 23rd October 2006.
28.2. The Committee received a summary of the comments from consultees, together with officer comments on these and proposals for change, where appropriate. Members approved the amendment that related to the provision of door supervisors, which identified the fact that it was not a mandatory requirement of the Licensing Act to impose a condition relating to door supervision, but it would be relaxed when applied to door supervisors at licensed casino or bingo premises.
28.3 The Committee noted that it was difficult to predict the future demand for gambling licences and the Government guidance was yet to be produced. Should it become evident that extra resources would be necessary to deal with additional workload, officers would report again about any further implications for licensing and possibly other sections of the Council.
28.4 RESOLVED that
1. the comments and observations on the draft Statement of Gambling Policy in the Annexes to the agenda report and the resource implications set out in the report be conveyed, via the Executive, to the Council;
2. the final version of the Statement of Gambling Policy for Waverley be approved by the Council and be formally adopted in time for the deadline for publication of 3rd January 2007; and,
3. the resource implications for 2007/08 be progressed.
Draft Statement of Gambling Policy and representations received in response to the consultation.
PART III – Brief Summaries of other matters dealt with
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE LICENSING (GENERAL PURPOSES) SUB-COMMITTEE
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting of the Licensing (General Purposes) Sub-Committee held on 9th October 2006 be noted.
MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS OF THE LICENSING ACT 2003 SUB-COMMITTEES
(Appendices D, E and F)
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meetings of the Licensing Act 2003 Sub-Committee ‘C’ held on 28th September, Sub-Committee ‘D’ held on 5th October 2006 and Sub-Committee ‘A’ held on 19th October be noted.
The meeting commenced at 6.00 pm and concluded at 7.11pm
comms\licensing\2006-07\079 Regulatory 9.10.doc