Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Other Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 13th June, 2017
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 Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Philip Dennis, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Julia Whitehill, Cllr David Wilburn, Cllr Norma Wilburn,
Officers:
Jonathan Nertney(DHR&LC), Polly Edwards, Simon Mills, Sarah Whaley(DCE)
In Attendance:
Private Hire Vehicle - Ref 143504, Combined Driver 001074
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Chris Clough, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Bill Woodhead MBE
Item Description Decision
Public
OLC
8/17
MANCHESTER ATTACK
 
OLC
9/17
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
OLC
10/17
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
OLC
11/17
MINUTES FROM THE OTHER LICENSING COMMITTEE MEETING WHICH WAS HELD ON THE 25TH APRIL 2017
RESOLVED that the minutes from the meeting held on the 25th April 2017 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
OLC
12/17
MINUTES FROM THE STATUTORY LICENSING COMMITTEE WHICH WAS HELD ON THE 2ND MAY 2017
RESOLVED that the minutes from the meeting held on the 2nd May 2017 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
OLC
13/17
MINUTES FROM THE STATUTORY LICENSING SUB COMMITTEE WHICH WAS HELD ON THE 2ND MAY 2017
RESOLVED that the minutes from the meeting held on the 2nd May 2017 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
OLC
14/17
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
 
Confidential
OLC
15/17
PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE - REF 143504
  • Private Hire Vehicle - Ref 143504
RESOLVED that Private Hire Vehicle - Ref 143504 request for a minibus adaptation be deferred to a future meeting of the Other Licensing Committee where additional information could be provided in order that Members were able to determine a request to depart from the Current Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Policy.
OLC
16/17
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER - REF 140408
  • Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408
RESOLVED that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408's renewal application be refused for the reasons as detailed above.
OLC
17/17
COMBINED DRIVER - REF 001074
  • Combined Driver - Ref 001074
RESOLVED that Combined Driver - Ref 001074's hearing be adjourned to a future meeting of the Other Licensing Committee to enable Combined Driver - Ref 001074's legal representative to attend.
OLC
18/17
DELEGATED DECISIONS UPDATE REPORT
  • Delegated Decision Update Report
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
10:00

Preamble

ItemPreamble
OLC
8/17
A minutes silence was observed for the people of Manchester and the families of the victims of the recent terrorist attack.
OLC
9/17
The Evacuation Procedure was noted.
OLC
10/17
There were no interests declared.
OLC
11/17
Consideration was given to the minutes from the Other Licensing Committee Meeting which was held on the 25th April 2017.
OLC
12/17
Consideration was given to the minutes from the Statutory Licensing Committee Meeting which was held on the 2nd May 2017.
OLC
13/17
Consideration was given to the minutes from the Statutory Licensing Sub Committee Meeting which was held on the 2nd May 2017.
OLC
14/17
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.
OLC
15/17
Members were asked to determine a request to depart from the Current Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Policy following a submission from Nickos who are a licensed Private Hire Operator with this Authority. They had requested that an 8 seater minibus, which is currently licensed, to be adapted to carry Wheelchairs.

The Council's Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy did not allow vehicles to be licensed as Private Hire or Hackney Carriage Vehicles unless they were purpose built and met the M1 whole vehicle type approval for the carriage of wheelchair passengers.

A representative from Nicko's was in attendance at the meeting and given the opportunity to make representation.

Members discussed the adaptation in detail with the representative and agreed that to enable a decision to be made further information would be required.

Members agreed to defer the application to a future meeting of the Other Licensing Committee in order to receive additional information as requested.
OLC
16/17
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to a renewal application from licensed Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 who was renting private hire vehicle 1659 / GJ65 KSV from Royal Cars and had failed to declare who the driver was after it was caught speeding by a speed camera on Thursday 29 September 2016 on Cunningham Drive Thornaby.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 was not in attendance at the meeting. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.
The Committee were satisfied that Private Hire Driver 140408 had received notice of the hearing and agreed that there was no reasonable explanation for his failure to attend.

The Committee agreed to proceed and consider the matter in Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408's absence.

The report detailed the following:

- Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408's background and details of the speeding incident including a copy of his current DVLA licence.

- A copy of a map to indicate where the speeding incident occurred.

- Copy of booking records.

- Copy of a recorded interview.

The role of the Committee was for Members to determine whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 remained a fit and proper person to hold a Private Hire Drivers Licence in accordance with The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

The Committee considered all of the evidence including the report and appendices.

Members were aware that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had submitted a renewal for his licence on 2 March 2017. As there was a current investigation into matters concerning Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408's fitness to hold a licence his application was put on hold pending the outcome of that investigation. It was the role of the Committee to determine whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408's application to renew should be approved.

The report presented to Members outlined the details regarding the speeding offence including information provided by Cleveland Police. The vehicle caught speeding was rented to Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408, from Royal Cars.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 alleged that his nephew had been in the UK and had taken the car when Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had popped home for a comfort break. Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 was asked if he knew that it was not legal for a non-licensed driver to drive a licensed vehicle and Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 advised he did know this but that he was not aware he had taken the vehicle as his nephew had taken the vehicle while Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 was in the bathroom.

Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 confirmed he had previously undertaken the speed awareness course and that he had 9 live DVLA points, received during the term of his licence with this Authority. Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 did not inform this Authority about any of these points in line with his licence conditions.

The Committee considered all the information before them, but were unable to hear Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 submission due to his non-attendance. Members went on to consider whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 remained a fit and proper person and/or whether there was sufficient reasonable cause to take action under Section 61(1) (b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

The Committee noted that when considering the matters before them they had to decide on the balance of probabilities whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 was responsible for the behaviour as alleged. In this instance whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 was the person driving the vehicle when it was caught speeding by a mobile speed camera which was positioned on Cunningham Drive on Thursday 29 September 2016. The Committee gave weight to the fact that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had not attended the meeting and therefore they were unable to hear evidence from Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 . The Committee also noted that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had not provided any evidence to corroborate the fact that his nephew was in the Country at the time of the alleged offence showing how his nephew came in to the country. Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 did not produce any witnesses who could corroborate that his nephew was in the country and had driven the vehicle as alleged by Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 i.e. Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had not called his wife to give evidence despite stating during interview that she could have been present in the vehicle when Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 alleged his nephew was driving. The Committee found on the balance of probabilities that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408's version of events was wholly untruthful and that it had been Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 who was driving the vehicle when it was caught speeding on Cunningham Drive. The Committee were also of the view that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had deliberately lied to the Police when he had informed them that his nephew had been driving. It was reasonable to assume that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had done this because he was aware that he had 9 live penalty points and if Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 received three more he was at risk of having his DVLA licence disqualified.

The fact that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had been found to have deliberately lied to the Police and in effect attempted to pervert the course of justice was a matter that clearly called into question his continued fitness to hold a licence with this Authority.

The Council had to be satisfied that he was a fit and proper person to hold a licence. The issuing and holding of a licence was a privilege and not a right and the overriding consideration was the safety of the public. Licensed drivers must be able to demonstrate good character.

In order to help make fair and consistent decisions when considering new and renewal applications, the Council had adopted Guidelines on the Relevance of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings, Complaints and Character. Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 currently had 9 live DVLA points and had committed a further speeding offence on Thursday 29 September 2016. The Committee had no power to attach points to your DVLA licence but considered all of the facts when determining whether Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 was a fit and proper person. It was also noted that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had breached his licence conditions three times by not informing this department of his previous DVLA points. The Committee has also concluded that Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408 had wilfully lied in an attempt to avoid speeding points on his DVLA licence.

The Committee resolved to refuse to renew Private Hire Driver - Ref 140408's driver's licence as there was deemed to be sufficient reasonable cause under Section 61(1)(b) given the Committees findings as detailed above. You are not considered to be a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.
OLC
17/17
Members were asked to determine the continued fitness of licensed Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver - Ref 001074 who's licence was granted with a warning in 2011 by this Committee following a report from Stockton Councils Education & Transport Department that he had been abusive to a mother at a school pick up. At the time of the alleged incident the driver in question was undertaking a school contract on behalf of the Council.

Combined Driver - Ref 001074 was in attendance at the meeting. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.

Combined Driver - Ref 001074 requested that his hearing be adjourned to a future meeting of this Committee to enable his legal representative to attend.
OLC
18/17
Members were asked to consider a report which had been presented to the Committee in April 2017 where members had requested further information be provided in terms of outcome and reasons.

The purpose of the report was to provide Members with an update with regards to the decisions which Officers had made utilising powers delegated to them by the Committee.

Members discussed further the importance of information sharing across neighbouring authorities, especially when it related to drivers that had committed serious offences or who had been revoked by the Council.

Officers explained that there were processes in place regarding the sharing of information across other authorities, however Officers had to ensure they complied with legislation such as the Data Protection Act. Where Officers were able to share relevant information with other authorities and stakeholders they would do so. The LGA were looking to implement a national database which was progressing and would allow the sharing of all information relating to revoked and refused drivers, although it was still in its infancy. Officers also continued to liaise with colleagues at the Police Authority to ensure that the Police also shared relevant information where they were able to do so.

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