Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing and Safety Committee - Thursday, 23 June 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD. View directions

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352253

Note: Annual meeting 

Media

Items
No. Item

4.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Councillors Mrs Sandra Ingham, Nigel Atkinson, Gareth Barnard and Ms Tricia Brown

Councillors Michael Gbadebo, Paul Bidwell and Mrs Tina McKenzie-Boyle attended the meeting remotely and therefore took part in the debate but did not vote on any of the items.

5.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interests in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.

 

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.

 

Any Member with an affected Interest in a matter must disclose the interest to the meeting.  There is no requirement to withdraw from the meeting when the interest is only an affected interest, but the Monitoring Officer should be notified of the interest, if not previously notified of it, within 28 days of the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

6.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 158 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings held on 3 February, 12 and 18 May 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on 03 February 2022, 12 May 2022 (special) and 18 May 2022 (annual) were approved as correct records.

7.

Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items of business.

8.

Notice of Public Speaking

To note those agenda items which have received an application for public speaking.

Minutes:

There were no applications or public speaking.

9.

Annual Report of the Licensing & Safety Committee pdf icon PDF 167 KB

To set out the work of the Licensing and Safety Committee and the Licensing Panel in 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Moira Fraser in introducing the report explained that it set out the work of the Licensing and Safety Committee and the Licensing Panel in 2021/22 and explained the context of providing licensing functions through the Public Protection Partnership.

 

In response to a query Officers explained that the reduction in the number of penalty points issued could be due to a reduction in the number of misdemeanours by the trade as well as the fact that due to the pandemic licensing officers had not been out as much.

 

Officers agreed to see if any additional information could be published to assist disabled residents wanting to use taxis in the evenings. It was suggested that this could include a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles that operated at night. The Chairman stated that he would raise this issue with the trade at the next Taxi Liaison Group meeting.

 

It was explained that Licensing Officer Job Descriptions were currently being taken through the evaluation process with a view to making the remuneration more attractive to assist the recruitment campaign.

 

Members asked that the data in the appendices relating to the number of home to school transport providers and the number of pet shops be revisited.

 

Having discussed the annual report it was RESOLVED that it be noted.

10.

Outcome of the Hackney Carriage Tariff Consultation pdf icon PDF 186 KB

To consider the outcome of the hackney carriage tariff consultation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Damian James reported that a report had been discussed at a special meeting on the 12 May to discuss the business case put forward by the trade to increase the existing tariffs. The Licensing and Safety Committee were supportive of the proposals which were then agreed by the Executive at their meeting on the 24 May.

 

The ensuing consultation ran from the 01 June to the 15 June and was promoted in the usual way with a notice placed in the Bracknell News, information being included on the website and notices being put up at Time Square. Officers also wrote to the taxi trade directly. A press release was issued and social media posts put out.

 

No objections were received and so the revised tariffs came into operation from the 16 June.  Officers liaised with the meter agents and trade and a drop in day to recalibrate the meters took place at the Leisure Centre on Saturday 18th June 2022.

 

The Committee noted the update.

11.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To provide the Committee with a chance to give initial comments on the draft hackney carriage and private hire licensing policy prior to consultation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

James Button in introducing the report explained that he had been asked to review the existing policy in light of the

Department for Transport guidance issued in June 2020. The guidance “Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards” required local authorities to review, revise and update their policies in relation to hackney carriage and private hire licensing.

 

The Committee was being asked to review the draft policy which would then be subjected to a twelve week consultation. The policy was designed to provide clarity for the trade, those seeking to be licensed as well as residents.

 

In drafting the policy Mr Button had taken cognisance of the existing policy, the guidance, legislation and best practice in other authorities. He hoped that the layout was logical and explained that the formatting and appearance would be reviewed prior to consultation.

 

In discussing the policy it was noted that:

·       The request to include reference to comprehensive insurance had been picked up in paragraph 1.21

·        While some of the elements of the Penalty Points Scheme could be deemed to be subjective it was preferable to trying to introduce a more rigid enforcement tool.  It would afford the licensee with the opportunity to accord with the required standards of behaviour and had built in opportunities for appeal to the Licensing Panel. Where licenses were revoked there was also an opportunity to appeal to the Magistrates’ Court, and further right of appeal to the Crown Court in relation to any refusal to grant or renew a driver’s licence, or suspension or revocation of a drivers licence.

·       Some of the data in section 1.1 which described the borough needed to be updated.

·       The relevant byelaw needed to be inserted into paragraph18.26.

·       The age of vehicle requirements in the current policy had been replaced with the need to meet the Euro 5 or Euro 6 emissions standards where vehicles were being submitted for grant or renewal of a licence.

·       It would be useful to clarify that this policy provided guidance and as it was a policy it would be permissible to deviate from it in some circumstances. This was achievable as each application would be judged on its own merits.

·       Members in reviewing the options in the policy which were delineated by the use of red text agreed that the Safeguarding and Disability Awareness Training should be undertaken every three years. The frequency was designed to reflect the importance of the training as well as the fact that guidance on these matters was regularly being amended. The costs were also built into the licensing fees.

·       They also agreed that in terms of the Pre-requisites to Making an Application the second option should be included which would permit the issuing of a short term licence where the application had not been granted prior to the current licence expiring.

·       Where a short term licence had been granted it would be deemed to be a lawfully issued licence for the purposes of insurance etc and any transgressions would be treated in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.