Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Other Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018
Time:
10:00 am
Place:
Council Chamber, 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 Chris Clough, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Gillian Corr (Sub Cllr Ken Dixon), Cllr Elsi Hampton, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr David Wilburn, Cllr Norma Wilburn, Cllr Bill Woodhead MBE
Officers:
Jonathan Nertney (DHRL&C), Leanne Maloney-Kelly, Kirsty Wannop, Sarah Whaley (DCE)
In Attendance:
Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323, Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Julia Whitehill,
Item Description Decision
Public
OLC
30/18
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
OLC
31/18
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
OLC
32/18
MINUTES FROM THE OTHER LICENSING COMMITTEE MEETINGS WHICH WERE HELD ON THE 12TH JUNE AND 10TH JULY 2018
RESOLVED that the minutes be approved and signed as a correct record by the Chair.
OLC
33/18
ANIMAL WELFARE (LICENSING OF ACTIVITIES INVOLVING ANIMALS) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2018
RESOLVED that:

1) the report be noted

2) the Committee agree to the proposed fees for this statutory function which have been set using guidance published by the Secretary of State.
OLC
34/18
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
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.
Confidential
OLC
35/18
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER - 135323
  • Report and Appendicies (6M/bytes)
RESOLVED that Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323's application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence be refused for the reasons as detailed above.
OLC
36/18
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER - 121411
  • Report and Appendicies (2M/bytes)
RESOLVED that Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's Private Hire Drivers Licence be revoked for the reasons as detailed above.

Preamble

ItemPreamble
OLC
30/18
The Evacuation Procedure was noted.
OLC
31/18
There were no declarations of interest.
OLC
32/18
Consideration was given to the draft minutes from the Other Licensing Committee meetings which were held on the 12th June and 10th July 2018 for approval and signature.
OLC
33/18
Members were presented with a report, 'Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018' informing the Committee of new legislation which came into effect on 1 October 2018 and would affect current animal licensing arrangements.

Members were asked to note the report and agree to the proposed fees for this statutory function which had been set using guidance published by the Secretary of State.

The Licensing Team Leader presented the report to Members. The main topics discussed were as follows:

- The key changes contained within the main report were highlighted to the Committee, particularly the change where new Licences would be granted or renewed on a one, two or three year period, depending on a new star rating system. The new star rating was detailed within the main report.

- Discussion took place around the newly proposed fees which were almost double that of the current fees. The Licensing Team would see a much greater increase in workload due to the new regulations and the increased fees would help self-fund the statutory duty for animal licensing.

- The Committee discussed the new and current businesses and services that fell under the new regulations and those that did not. A full list was contained within the guidance.

- Regarding animals that were advertised for sale on the internet, officers explained that although action could be taken against anyone not adhering to the new regulations, this would be difficult due to the internet being so vast and wide.

- In terms of those businesses requiring visits by a vet the committee discussed the fees relating to those visits and how these were passed on.

- Officers explained that Northumberland County Council used the Police National Computer (PNC) checks to gauge whether an individual was a fit and proper person in relation to working with animals. Officers agreed to investigate further in relation to best practice with a view to possibly incorporating it at Stockton.

- Questions were raised in relation to those animals that were used for petting in establishments such as care homes. Officers agreed to look into whether these animals were included in the scope of the Regulatory regime.

- At the request of members officers agreed to circulate the link to the legislation.
OLC
35/18
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to an application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence from Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 who had previously had a licence revoked by a delegated decision in May 2017 for failing a random drugs test in April 2017.

The report detailed the following:

- A copy of the delegated decision

- Copies of various letters to Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 relating to the revocation of his licence.

- A copy of Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323's application to drive Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Vehicles.

- A copy of a document from DNA Legal.

- A copy of a recorded interview with Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 and Stockton Borough Council Licencing Officers.

- A copy of a warning letter to Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 was in attendance at the meeting and provided with a copy of the committee papers prior to the meeting. Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 was given the opportunity to make representation.

The role of the Committee was to determine whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 was a fit and proper person to be granted a Private Hire Drivers Licence with this Authority.

The Committee had regard to all of the evidence including that contained within the report, appendices and oral evidence given by Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323.

The Committee noted that Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 had had his private hire drivers licence revoked after failing a drugs test in May 2017 when he tested positive for cannabis.

The Committee noted previous history of cannabis use and that only a period of 16 months had elapsed since the revocation of Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323's private hire driver's licence.

The Committee had regard for the DNA Legal, private forensic testing service report which Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 had submitted and was contained within the committee papers, which stated that after testing, cannabis had been occasionally consumed by Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 over the four to eight month period before his body hair sample collection (06.02.18). Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323's explanation for using cannabis was that he was self-medicating as Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 experienced pain in his knee which had been caused by the number of miles he was driving when working as a professional driver.

The Committee were concerned that Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 was making this application with a view to becoming a professional driver and Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 was asking the Committee to believe that he would not use cannabis in future if his licence was granted.

The Committee considered Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323's application and the Guidelines which apply Under Section51(1)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and resolved to refuse Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323's application for a licence as he was not deemed to be a fit and proper person at this time.
OLC
36/18
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to the continued fitness of Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 who during the term of her private hire drivers licence had been convicted for using a vehicle whilst uninsured, which resulted in her DVLA driving licence being endorsed with 6 penalty points and being issued with a fine.

The report detailed the following:

- A copy of a summary transcript.

- Correspondence between Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's husband and insurance company.

- A copy of a letter to Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 granting her a licence with a warning as to her future conduct.

- A copy of Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's licence summary.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 was in attendance at the meeting and was provided with a copy of the committee papers prior to the meeting. Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 was given the opportunity to make representation.

The role of the Committee was to determine whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 135323 was a fit and proper person to continue as a Private Hire Driver with this Authority.

The Committee had regard to all of the evidence including that contained within the report, appendices and oral evidence given by Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411.

The Committee noted that Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 had not called any evidence and in particular the Committee had not heard from Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's husband who was said to be responsible for arranging appropriate insurance for Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411.

There was no evidence produced to substantiate Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's evidence that she had been paying 70 per week to her husband as payment for the insurance premium.

As a professional driver it was essential that Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 ensured she had insurance in place and the responsibility rested solely on Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 to do so.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 was asked what steps she had taken to avoid such a situation occurring in the future. Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's response to this was of concern to the Committee as she said that she had not done anything, therefore Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 had not taken any steps to ensure that she would check insurance was in place and make sure she was named on the policy.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 did not show any remorse and did not appear to take the matter seriously.

It was noted that the correspondence with the insurance company in March 2018 had stated that a complaint could be made to the Financial Ombudsman if Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 and her husband were unhappy with the outcome of their complaint. Neither Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's husband nor Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 had made any complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 was asked who had paid the fine she had received when convicted of driving with no insurance. Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 confirmed that she had paid the fine even though she placed the blame for the circumstances leading to the conviction as the sole responsibility of her husband.

The Committee noted that Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411 did not seem to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. A conviction for driving without insurance (IN10) was deemed to be a major traffic offence under the Councils Guidelines. Any new applicant with such a conviction would normally have to show a period of four years after conviction before being deemed fit and proper to hold a licence. In determining what action to take the Committee considered Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's conviction for driving without insurance and the fact that she had failed to notify the council of the conviction which was a breach of Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's driver licence conditions.

Given Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's conviction for driving without insurance (IN10) which was a major traffic offence under the Councils Guidelines and Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's failure to notify the Council of her conviction in breach of her driver licence conditions the Committee resolved that under Section61 (1) (b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 there was sufficient "reasonable cause" to revoke Private Hire Driver - Ref 121411's licence.

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