Agenda and minutes

Licensing Committee - Thursday, 18th March 2021 1.30 p.m.

Venue: THIS WILL BE A VIRTUAL MEETING

Contact: Sarah Moorghen, Democratic Services - email  smoorghen@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

40.

Minutes

Minutes of meeting held 7 January 2021 (previously circulated). 

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 7 January 2021 were agreed as a correct record. The Chair confirmed that the minute book would be signed when it became available.

2.

Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chair

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business authorised by the Chair.

3.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Councillors of interests in respect of items on this Agenda. 

Councillors are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting). 

Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Councillors should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting. 

In accordance with Part B Section 2 of the Code Of Conduct, Councillors are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct. 

 

 

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

Progress update re implementation of Department for Transport Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Report of the Licensing Manager

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager presented a report which provided the Committee with an update on progress regarding the implementation of standards outlined in the Department for Transport (DfT) “Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles Standards”.

 

The Committee had previously considered two reports in relation to the DfT Standards. A report brought before the Committee on 27th August 2020 had introduced the standards and at the Committee meeting on 8th October 2020 a further report was considered which outlined the key standards and actions required in respect of each chapter of the Department for Transports Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards. 

 

At the meeting on the 8th October 2020 the Committee had requested an updated progress report be brought back to the Committee in 4 months’ time.

 

The report provided an update to the Committee in respect of the actions taken regarding progress in consideration of the DfT standards.

 

The Licensing Manager advised the Committee that the DfT required regular updates from Local Authorities regarding progress on implementation of the standards. In January 2021, an update report was provided to the DfT by the Licensing Manager on behalf of the City Council.

 

It was reported that an additional temporary part time staff resource had been used to develop a comprehensive first draft taxi policy which brought together licencing practice and procedures and where necessary further developed these to reflect the standards aspired to in the DfT Statutory Standards document. This was the subject of a separate report within the agenda of this meeting (note 44).

 

The Committee was advised that the DfT Statutory Standards were very clear that the primary and overriding objective of a local authority’s taxi policy must be the protection of the public. The proposed draft taxi licensing policy had been developed in line with this but also sought to protect the safety of licensed drivers.

 

The Committee were advised on a number of key actions and updates to the since the 8th October 2020 which included;

 

·       Info sharing protocols with Lancashire Police specific to Taxi/OPH licensing had been agreed and any officers involved in referrals would be briefed in the coming weeks.

·       NR3 National Register of Refusals and Revocations had been approved by the portfolio holder and accounts had been activated for all licensing team members.  Further development was required of application forms to ensure privacy notices etc updated.

·       Complaints review had been undertaken.

·       Safeguarding presentation delivered to new drivers had been updated to reflect the updates. Officers had worked with CSE Officer of Lancashire Police to update content and provide email for referrals and examples of local activity.

It was reported that the Council had considered the DfT Statutory standards in the continued development of its first comprehensive taxi licensing policy and the Licensing team was continuing to adapt operational working practices not only to reflect the requirements of the DfT, but the changes required because of the public safety issues arising from the pandemic. The pandemic continued to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Lancaster Draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 616 KB

Report of the Licensing Manager

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager introduced a report on the Draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and sought the Committees approval to commence to a formal consultation on the proposed policy.

 

A copy of the policy was attached at Appendix 1 of the report for the Committees consideration and Councillors were advised that the current draft would require further proofreading formatting and spell-checking as well as cross checking before the policy documents were finalised.

 

It was reported that this was the first time that the Council had attempted to provide a single document containing all the policies and procedures relevant to hackney carriage and private hire licensing. The need to update some of the Councils existing licensing standards was identified in the 2020 licensing workplan which was approved by Licensing Committee in November 2019. The delivery of the workplan items had been hampered by the pandemic.

 

The Committee were advised that in July 2020 the Department for Transport had published “Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards” which were statutory standards to which local authorities must have regard.

 

The Committee were advised that the draft policy was a mixture of existing policies and procedures and new requirements which were motivated by the need to ensure that the primary and overriding objective of the Councils licensing policies in protecting the public was met.

 

The Licensing Manager advised that the publication of the DfT statutory standards in July 2020 had been one of the key drivers in the production of the draft policy. It was noted that the DfT document and the Councils draft policy did not use the term “taxi”. The reason for this was that the term hackney carriage was used throughout legislation including hackney carriage byelaws, and therefore for consistency this was the term that was used throughout the draft policy. The term “taxi” was a term used by the public and was internationally recognised, but not one that was used to any major significance in national licensing law. 

 

The policy has been drafted in such a way that if the standards need to change, for example due to a change in legislation this can be easily accommodated by updating relevant appendices rather than reviewing the whole policy.  

 

Prior to presentation of the draft policy to the Committee the Taxi Working Group had met, and trade representatives had been invited to make suggestions as to what they considered should be included within the draft policy. In addition to this a short survey was conducted with Lancaster City Council staff and the wider public on the Councils social media platforms.

 

The Committee were advised that the DfT Statutory Standards made it clear that public safety must be the primary and overriding objective of hackney carriage and private hire licensing. The draft policy strengthened existing measures in respect of safeguarding, and new proposals required private hire operators to develop and implement safeguarding policies. The policy was also clear about everyone’s responsibility to report safeguarding concerns and the development of a public  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Urgent Business Report - Decision taken in respect of a review of a Dual Drivers Licence

Report of the Licensing Manager

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager had submitted a report which advised the Committee of a decision that had been taken by the Director of Communities and Environment, in consultation with the Chair of the Licensing Committee under the Council’s Urgent Business Procedure. The report was exempt from publication by virtue of Paragraph 1, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 and related to a private hire driver’s licence.

 

Resolved:

 

(1) That the report be noted.

7.

Exempt Item

The Committee is recommended to pass the following recommendation in relation to the following item: 

 

“That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business, on the ground that it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information, as defined in paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of that Act.” 

 

Councillors are reminded that, whilst the following item has been marked as exempt, it is for the Committee to decide whether or not to consider it in private or in public.  In making the decision, Councillors should consider the relevant paragraph of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and also whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.  In considering their discretion, Councillors should also be mindful of the advice of Council officers. 

 

Minutes:

The Chair advised Members that it had been recommended to exclude the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that they could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information.

 

It was moved by Councillor Guilding and seconded by Councillor Dennison:

 

“That, in accordance with Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business, on the grounds that they could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information, as defined in Paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of that Act.”

 

No dissent was indicated to the proposal to exclude the press and public.

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

That, in accordance with Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business, on the grounds it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information, as defined in Paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of that Act.

 

The ’Live Teams’ meeting concluded at this point and the Committee reconvened in a private Teams meeting to consider the exempt item.

8.

Review of Hackney Carriage Driver Licence

Report of the Licensing Manager

Minutes:

The Committee received the report of the Licensing Manager for the purpose of determining a review of Hackney Carriage Driver Licence.

 

Details of the individual case and the Chair’s summary of the decision are set out in Exempt Minute No. 47 in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Decision of the Committee:

 

The decision of the Committee is set out in Exempt Minute No 47.