Venue: Mandela Room
Contact: Joanne Dixon / Scott Bonner
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.
The minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 5 September 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.
** SUSPENSION OF COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE NO. 5 - ORDER OF BUSINESS
ORDERED: that in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 5, the Committee agreed to vary the order of business to consider agenda item 5 and 6 as the next items of business.
Exclusion of Press and Public
To consider passing a Resolution Pursuant to Section 100A (4) Part 1 of the Local Government Act 1972 excluding the press and public from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds that if present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
ORDERED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that, if present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.
Application for Review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence Ref: 09/22
The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 09/22, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.
The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The driver, who was in attendance at the meeting accompanied by a representative, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report and understood its contents.
The Licensing Manager presented a summary of the report. The driver was first licensed with Middlesbrough Council in January 2019.
The driver now appeared before Members following a complaint from a member of the public in relation to his driving standards. The complaint was made on 27 June 2022 by the parent of a 17-year-old passenger who had travelled in the driver’s vehicle on 22 June 2002 and alleged that the driver was driving in a dangerous manner and had exceeded the speed limit – in excess of 100mph at one point. A copy of the complaint was attached at Appendix 1.
As a result of the complaint, the driver was identified and a request was made to his vehicle operator, on 4 August 2002, for further details of the journey as the operator had a GPS system in place which held details of journeys undertaken by Private Hire drivers including records of the speed the vehicle was being driven at during various points in a journey.
On 6 October 2022 the operator responded apologising for the delayed response stating this was due to a software issue. The operator confirmed the speed at which the vehicle had been driving during the journey in question.
On 13 October 2022, the driver was contacted by a Licensing Enforcement Officer to discuss the matter, however, he was unable to recall the journey due to the time that had lapsed since the allegation was made.
On 14 October 2022, having considered the information available, the Licensing Manager decided to revoke the driver’s licence with immediate effect on the grounds of ‘any other reasonable cause’ under delegated powers to suspend or revoke drivers’ licences when it was in the interests of public safety.
On 1 November 2022, the driver’s representative made representations that the driver had not been given adequate opportunity to provide a full explanation in relation to the matter, the Licensing Manager rescinded the revocation with immediate effect and referred the matter to the Licensing Committee.
During interview, the driver explained he was still unable to clearly remember the journey and that he would not normally travel at such speeds. He had no speeding convictions or complaints made against him regarding his driving. He stated that if he had reached such speeds it may have been as the result of an aggressive driver tailgating his vehicle.
The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee.
The driver’s representative addressed the ... view the full minutes text for item 22/23
Taxi Licensing Policy - Verbal Update
The Licensing Manager provided the Committee with a verbal update in relation to the latest position regarding the Licensing Policy.
The Committee was informed that the Policy was approved by the Council’s Executive at its meeting on 8 November 2022.
The revised Policy had been updated in line with new Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards recommended by the Department of Transport which aimed to improve consistency in the taxi licensing system across Local Authorities and to reduce the risk of harm to all passengers, particularly focussing on those presented to children and vulnerable passengers. The key changes within the new Policy included:-
· Standards for convictions – new tariffs.
· Tax conditionality – drivers must provide a particular tax code when applying for a licence.
· DBS checks to be carried out on proprietors as well as drivers.
In addition, several additional changes had been made to the Policy which were requested by the Taxi Trade. These changes related to streamlining the application process, reducing costs and to align the Council’s processes with other Local Authorities. The changes included:-
· Vehicle age restriction policy – a vehicle could now be first licensed up to 5 years or age and come off plate at 10 years of age.
· Window tints – to allow factory manufactured window tints.
· Drivers no longer required to undertake a topographical test (street names).
AGREED that the information provided be noted.