Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 28th March, 2017
Time:
10.00 am
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AJ
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Paul Kirton(Chairman), Cllr Mrs Kathryn Nelson(Vice-Chairman), Cllr Derrick Brown, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Philip Dennis, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Stephen Parry, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Julia Whitehill, Cllr David Wilburn, Cllr Norma Wilburn, Cllr Bill Woodhead MBE
Officers:
Jonathan Nertney, Jennifer Galligan (DHR&LC), Polly Edwards, Leanne Maloney, Sarah Whaley (DCE)
In Attendance:
Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101, Applicant - Ref 063056 and his legal representative Mr A Ross
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Chris Clough
Item Description Decision
Public
L
45/16
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
L
46/16
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
L
47/16
MINUTES FROM THE LICENSING COMMITTEE MEETINGS WHICH WERE HELD ON THE 13TH DECEMBER 2016 AND THE 24TH JANUARY 2017.
RESOLVED that the minutes were approved and signed as a correct record by the Chairman.
L
48/16
MINUTES FROM THE LICENSING SUB COMMITTEE WHICH WERE HELD ON THE 10TH JANUARY, 31ST JANUARY AND 14TH FEBRUARY 2017
RESOLVED that the minutes were approved and signed as a correct record by the Chairman.
L
49/16
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
 
Confidential
L
50/16
APPLICATION FOR A COMBINED DRIVER LICENCE - REF 102063
  • Application for a Combined Driver Licence - Ref 102063
RESOLVED that Members agree to defer the item for Applicant - Ref 102063 to a future meeting of the Licensing Committee.
L
51/16
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER - REFERENCE 136101
  • Private Hire Driver - Reference 136101
RESOLVED that Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 licence be revoked with immediate effect for the reasons as detailed above.
L
52/16
APPLICATION FOR A COMBINED DRIVER LICENCE - REF 063056
  • Application for a Combined Driver Licence - Ref 063056
RESOLVED that Applicant - Ref 063056 be granted a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licence subject to completing the application process as detailed above.

Preamble

ItemPreamble
L
45/16
The Evacuation Procedure was noted.
L
46/16
Councillor Stephen Parry and Councillor Julia Whitehill declared a personal non prejudicial interest in relation to item 10, Combined Driver - Ref 102063 as they thought the driver may be known to them.
L
47/16
Consideration was given to the minutes from the Licensing Committee Meetings which were held on the 13th December 2016 and the 24th January 2017.
L
48/16
Consideration was given to the minutes from the Licensing Sub Committee Meetings which were held on the 10th January, the 31st January and the 14th February 2017.
L
49/16
RESOLVED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
L
50/16
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to an application for a Combined Driver Licence from Applicant - Ref 102063 who had relevant convictions and had three previous applications refused by this Committee.

Applicant Ref- 102063 had contacted the Licensing Department and requested that his item be deferred due to personal circumstances.

Members agreed to defer the item to a future meeting of the Licensing Committee.
L
51/16
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to the continued fitness of Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 who had recently attended a two day Safeguarding Course, provided by the Stockton Learning and Skills Council. During the course the driver gave Tutors cause for concern regarding his flippant attitude and behaviour towards the safeguarding subjects discussed and subsequently Tutors were unable to put forward his portfolio for accreditation with the awarding body, as he had not engaged with the course correctly and therefore did not meet the required criteria standard.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 was in attendance at the meeting. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting and Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 was given the opportunity to make representation.

The report detailed the following:

- Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101's background and details of the allegations made against him.

- A copy of an incident report was attached at appendix 1.

- A copy of a letter inviting Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 to attend the Council Licensing Office for interview.

- A copy of a summary transcript of an interview with Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 and Council Officers.

- A copy of the Tutors formal statements.

- A copy of a letter to Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 explaining he had not acquired the expected level for accreditation of the safeguarding course.

- A copy of a letter detailing a previous complaint in relation to the manner of Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101's driving.

- A copy of a letter detailing Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101's undeclared motoring convictions.

The role of the Committee was to determine whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 was a fit and proper person to hold a Private Hire Drivers Licence in accordance with The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

Members were also reminded of the Councils Policy on licensed driver training.

The Committee listened to Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101's submission and made the following findings:-

That Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101's explanation in relation to the incident on 12 January 2017 was inconsistent and untruthful.

That the statements provided by the Safeguarding Course Tutor and Tutor Assistant were credible and contained good and truthful evidence.

That the Tutors were unable to forward Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101's training portfolio for accreditation with the awarding body, as he had not engaged with the course correctly and therefore did not meet the required criteria standard.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 did not take the training course or the subject of Safeguarding seriously and he had failed to take responsibility for the duty of care he had for his passengers.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 had failed to gain the qualification in Level 1 Awareness of Protection and Safeguarding in Health & Social Care Adults, Children and Young People Early Years and failure to complete the course meant Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 did not meet criteria under the Councils Transport Policy which stated all existing drivers shall have successfully completed safeguarding awareness training arranged by the Council.

In light of the findings the Committee deemed that Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 was no longer considered to be a fit and proper person to hold a private hire drivers licence, with this Authority and there was sufficient ‘reasonable cause' under the provisions of Section 61(1) (b) of the above mentioned legislation for his licence to drive private hire vehicles to be revoked.

Given the particular circumstances of the report the Committee deemed on that basis Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 may pose a safety risk to passengers and he was informed that under the provisions of Section 61(2B) of the above mentioned legislation and in the interest of public safety, the revocation should have immediate effect and Private Hire Driver - Ref 136101 was therefore no longer authorised to drive such vehicles.
L
52/16
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to an Application for a Combined Driver Licence from Applicant - Ref 063056 who had previous applications refused by this Committee and by Officers in 2013, 2014 and 2015 due to a history of convictions.

Applicant - Ref 063056 and his legal representative Mr. A Ross were in attendance at the meeting and given the opportunity to make representation. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.

The report detailed the following:

- Applicant - Ref 063056's background and details of the convictions against him.

- A copy of Applicant - Ref 063056's application and DVLA licence.

- A copy of a letter dated 29th November 2006 to Applicant - Ref 063056 offering a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire licence for a trial period of 6 months.

- A copy of an application for a food business establishment dated February 2012 from Applicant - Ref 063056.

- A copy of a letter refusing Applicant - Ref 063056 a Hackney Carriage vehicle licence dated 20th November 2013.

- A copy of a statement made by Applicant - Ref 063056 dated September 2014.

- A copy of a letter refusing Applicant - Ref 063056 a Private Hire Drivers licence dated 14th October 2014.

- A copy of a statement from Applicant - Ref 063056 dated 5th January 2015.

- A copy of a letter from Applicant - Ref 063056's representative in connection with a further application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence.

- A copy of a letter from Applicant - Ref 063056's Solicitor.

- Copies of various character statements on behalf of Applicant - Ref 063056.

The role of the Committee was to determine whether Applicant - Ref 063056 was a fit and proper person to hold a Hackney Carriage / Private Hire Drivers Licence in accordance with The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

The Committee considered the report, appendices and oral evidence given by Applicant - Ref 063056's Solicitor during the meeting.

The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 063056 had a long history of convictions; the last major conviction which was in 2012 and was for use of a mobile phone while driving. This Authorities Relevance of Convictions stated that an applicant with such convictions would likely be refused until at least four years after the most recent conviction. Applicant - Ref 063056 had shown a history of more than four years clear from conviction and his application and Committee submission was supported by numerous references from a number of respected people within the Community.

The Committee took into consideration all of the information before them and had strong concerns regarding two offences for mobile phone use while driving. However, on this occasion, the Committee were minded to grant Applicant - Ref 063056 a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licence subject to the satisfactory completion of all requirements of the application process including, the Authority's drivers knowledge test, an up to date Disclosure and Barring Certificate (the previous one is over 6 months old) and a Group 2 Medical report completed by Applicant - Ref 063056's own GP.

Applicant - Ref 063056 was informed that the licence and his badges would not be issued until he had provided evidence that he had completed the application process.

The Committee also reminded Applicant - Ref 063056 that if there were any further instances of him using a handheld mobile phone while driving then this would be looked at particularly seriously by the Committee. Applicant - Ref 063056 was advised that a hands free device was essential for any licensed driver.

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