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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee held on 07/04/2003





[Wards Affected: N/A]
Summary and Purpose

The purpose of this report is to enable the Committee to advise the officers on the shared use of CRB information between this Council and Surrey County Council. The report has no financial, environmental, “Opportunities for All”, Community Safety or Human Rights implications.

1. The officers have recently been asked by an applicant renewing a private hire driver’s licence whether it would accept the CRB check recently obtained by Surrey County Council. The CRB disclosure in question was five months old and, on this occasion, in the absence of guidance on this matter, it was deemed necessary to ask the applicant for a further check. This incurs a charge for an applicant of 12 (collected by Waverley and payable in full to CRB) over and above the licence fee itself. Waverley has agreed that the ‘enhanced’ CRB check is necessary for those engaged in this type of work, which can often involve children and lone or potentially vulnerable adults. Such checks are undertaken at the initial licence application stage and then every three years during the renewed life of the licence.

2. Many Waverley licensed drivers undertake work on school runs, taking children to and from various schools within and outside the local area, working under contracts for Surrey and/or the adjacent County Councils of Hampshire and West Sussex. Where an applicant is renewing a licence and has had no past criminal offences as shown up in earlier police or CRB checks, your officers consider that it would be appropriate for the Council, in conjunction with these county councils to agree that it would accept an enhanced CRB check which had been obtained under the auspices of one of these authorities, provided that:-

1. the check was in connection with a renewal rather than a new licence application and the applicant had either no previous convictions (revealed by earlier checks), or if there were previous convictions, these were a minimum of 10 years in the past;
2. the check was to the ‘enhanced’ level of disclosure;
3. the latest CRB disclosure had been issued within the previous three months;
4. the relevant County Council confirmed that they had received the corresponding CRB check copy.

3. Officers consider that this course of action would help to alleviate the pressure on the CRB with unnecessary duplication of checks, allow for speedier despatch of some licence renewals, and reduce the burden of extra payment which has now been imposed on applicants, following the introduction of the CRB. The Committee may be aware that the application for a new or a renewed licence requires the applicant to make and sign a declaration as to whether he/she has been convicted of any offences, motoring or criminal and/or is the subject of any outstanding charge or summons. The proposal has been raised with other Surrey Licensing Sections and most of them operate on a similar basis with recently completed checks.

Community Safety Implications

4. The Council is required to have due regard to the need to prevent crime and disorder in its area when considering such matters. It is considered that the course of action proposed, given the provisions listed above, should not have any effect on crime and disorder locally. In those cases where convictions have previously shown up, unless there has been a period of at least ten years free of convictions, a further CRB check would normally be required by the Council.

Human Rights Implications

5. The Council is under a duty to have a process of checking information relating to previous convictions and establishing an applicant’s ‘fitness and propriety’ to receive a licence, in compliance with Human Rights. Individual applicants may not wish to disclose whether relevant CRB checks are being undertaken for other employment purposes, and to insist on the cross-reference might be an invasion of privacy. One example might be where a licence applicant had recently applied for employment with another local authority. It will be made clear to applicants that, where other CRB checks (to the ‘enhanced’ level) have been made in the relevant period they may disclose the results or, if they choose, pay the fee for a new check.

Other implications

6. There are no resource implications for the Council in the course of action proposed, since the charge of 12 for a CRB check is met by applicants for licences and forwarded in full to CRB and there would be a small saving on staff time. There are no environmental or ‘Opportunities for All’ implications in the report. It is not considered that this proposal, whether approved or not, would have an effect on the human rights of an applicant.

Recommendation It is recommended that the Committee considers whether it would approve the officers accepting a Surrey County Council (or Hampshire or West Sussex CC) enhanced Criminal Records Bureau disclosure on an applicant for a Hackney Carriage or private hire driver or operator licence, provided that the disclosure is to be used only in the following circumstances:
Background Papers (CEx)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

Name: Mrs R Hughes Telephone: 01483 523225
E-mail: rhughes@waverley.gov.uk