Agenda and minutes

Licensing Committee
Friday, 24th May, 2019 10.30 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds

Contact: Governance Services  37 88662

Items
No. Item

1.

Chair's Opening Remarks

Minutes:

The Chair paid tribute to former Licensing Committee Chair, Councillor Mary Harland, commenting that it would be a “tough act to follow”

 

The Chair introduced and welcomed Councillors: Andy Hutchinson, Jess Lennox, Paul Wray, Angela Wenham and Abigail Marshall-Katung as new Members to the Licensing Committee.

 

2.

Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 15.2 of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded)

 

(*In accordance with Procedure Rule 15.2, written notice of an appeal must be received by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting)

 

Minutes:

There were no appeals against the refusal of inspection of documents.

 

3.

Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

2  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.

 

3  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-

 

  RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of those parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information

 

Minutes:

There were no late items identified where it was considered necessary to exclude the press or public from the meeting due to the nature of the business to be considered.

 

4.

Late Items

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration

 

(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes)

 

Minutes:

The Chair accepted the inclusion of a late Item of business onto the Committee, “Taxi & Private Hire Licensing - Response to Department for Transport consultation on Statutory Guidance” (Minute No. 11 referred. Members were informed that it was in the best interests of the Council and other parties concerned that the matter be considered without delay.

5.

Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any disclosable pecuniary interests for the purposes of Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 and paragraphs 13-16 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests made at the meeting.

 

6.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence (If any)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received for Councillors: R Downes and P Latty

7.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 215 KB

To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 2nd April 2019.

 

 

(Copy attached)

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 2nd April 2019, were accepted as a true and correct record.

 

8.

Matters Arising from the Minutes

To consider any Matter Arising from the Minutes

Minutes:

There were no issues raised under Matters Arising.

 

9.

Licensing Committee - Annual Governance Arrangements pdf icon PDF 255 KB

To consider a report of the City Solicitor which seeks to establish the governance arrangements for the Licensing Committee for the 2019/20 Municipal Year; namely:

·  Noting the terms of reference of the Licensing Committee as agreed at the annual Council meeting on 22nd May 2019.

·  To appoint Licensing Sub-Committees for the 2019/2020 municipal year.

·  To approve terms of reference for the Licensing Sub-Committees.

·  To approve the delegation of functions to Officers as appropriate.

 

(Report attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The City Solicitor submitted a report which sought to establish the governance arrangements for the Licensing Committee for the 2019/20 Municipal Year, namely:

 

·  To note the terms of reference of the Licensing Committee as agreed at the annual Council meeting on 22nd May 2019.

·  To appoint the five Licensing Sub-Committees for the 2019/20 Municipal year.

·  To approve the Membership of each Sub Committee as set out in Appendix 2 of the submitted report

·  To approve terms of reference for the Licensing Sub-Committees as set out in Appendix 3 of the submitted report.

·  To approve the delegation of licensing functions to the Director of Communities and Environment as set out in Appendix 4 of the submitted report.

Appended to the report were copies of the following documents:

 

·  Licensing Committee Terms of Reference (Appendix 1 refers)

·  Membership of each Licensing Sub Committee (Appendix 2 refers)

·  Licensing Sub Committee Terms of Reference (Appendix 3 refers)

·  The delegation of Licensing functions to the Director of Communities and Environment (Appendix 4 refers)

 

The Section Head, Legal Services, presented the report providing a brief overview of its contents

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)  To note the terms of reference of the Licensing Committee as approved by full Council on 22nd May 2019 as shown at Appendix 1

 

(ii)  That the five Licensing Sub-Committees hearings required under the 2003 and 2005 Acts be established with the following Memberships:

 

A  Councillors: R Downes, P Latty and C knight

B  Councillors: N Buckley, A Marshall-Katung and B Garner

C  Councillors: Wilkinson, Drinkwater and J Lennox

D  Councillors: H Bithell, P Wray and A Hutchison

E  Councillors: B Flynn, A Wenham and A Garthwaite

 

(iii)  That approval be given to the terms of reference for the Licensing Sub-Committees as set out in Appendix 3 of the report

 

(iv)  To approve the delegation of Licensing functions to the Director of Communities and Environment as shown in Appendix 4 of the report.

 

10.

Licensing Procedure Rules, the Code of Practice for Determining Licensing Matters and Prescribed Licensing Training pdf icon PDF 162 KB

To consider a report by the City Solicitor which sets out the draft procedure rules relating to hearings and other meetings of the Licensing Committee and it’s Sub Committees and to seek Members approval to the adoption of these Procedure Rules.

 

The report also requests consideration of the Code of Practice for Determination of Licensing Matters and seeks Members agreement to approve and resolve to follow the Code.

 

 

(Report attached)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The City Solicitor submitted a report which set out draft procedure rules relating to meetings and hearings of the Licensing Committee and sub-committees and sought the approval of Members to the adoption of these to govern committee procedure.

 

The report also requested consideration of the Code of Practice for the Determination of Licensing Matters and sought agreement of the Committee to approve and a resolution to follow the Code. 

 

Reference was made to meetings of the Licensing Sub Committee with one Member querying if there was any guidance for Members when; acquaintances, friends and neighbours unexpectedly attended. Should Members acknowledge their presence or should Members remain silent.

 

Officers were unaware of any formal guidance on such issues and offered to make the necessary enquiries.  It was confirmed that Members would not sit on a Licensing Sub Committee where any applications for their own wards were being considered in order to avoid such situations.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)    That the Licensing Procedure Rules as set out as   Appendix 1 of the report be approved

 

(ii)    To approve and follow the contents of the Code of   Practice for the Determination of Licensing Matters as set   out in Appendix 2 of the submitted report

 

(iii)  To note the arrangements for the prescribed training   programme.

 

(iv)   To note that once approved “the Code of Practice for the   determination of Licensing Matters” will be brought to the   attention of all Elected Members

 

11.

Taxi & Private Hire Licensing - Response to Department for Transport consultation on Statutory Guidance pdf icon PDF 346 KB

  To consider a report by the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory which sets out the results of the Council’s response to a recent consultation of licensing authorities by the Department for Transport (DfT). 

 

 

  (Report attached)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory submitted a report which drew to the attention of Members the results of the Council’s response to a recent consultation of Licensing Authorities by the Department for Transport (DfT)

 

The Taxi & Private Hire Licensing Manager, Communities & Environment explained the background to the report and the response to the consultation.

 

Members were informed that the City Council’s response, as set out in Appendix 1 of the submitted report was broadly very supportive of the recommendations, and in many areas of the guidance, the Council already had policies and measures in place. Members noted that with some further changes, the Council could also implement the majority of the recommendations.

 

Members were informed that in some areas of the draft guidance, the Council had suggested either an alternative way of addressing the area of risk, or suggested that revised guidance would need to be developed.  These areas included;

 

·  Administration of the licensing framework and decision making, including officer and Member roles

·  Oversees Convictions

·  Conviction Policy

·  Suspension and revocation of driver licences

·  In vehicle visual and audio recording – CCTV

·  Convictions guidance

 

Commenting on the administration of the licensing framework and decision making, reference was made to the complaints procedure, although Members were supportive of the public safety issues, they queried if the timescale for processing malicious complaints could be reduced?

 

It was understood by Members that often a driver’s licence may be suspended whilst an investigation was being carried out, leading to financial hardship for the driver if the investigation was to continue for some time.

 

In responding the Taxi & Private Hire Licensing Manager said if the complaint was of a serious nature, it may be referred to the Police for further investigation. In such cases evidence would be required; witness statements, inspection of CCTV footage, all of which was a time consuming process.

 

Reference was made to “oversees convictions” Members recognised that Leeds had strong practices and procedures in place but other authorities did not apply the same standards and would often issue licenses to drivers who could then operate outside their own districts.

 

Members were informed that the decision of an authority to issue a vehicle license could be challenged “Was this person fit and proper to have a licence” but a successful challenge was rare with only 3 been overturned nationally in the past three years.

 

One Member commented that the checks and standards implemented in the District of Rotherham were far stricter than in Leeds.

 

The Taxi & Private Hire Licensing Manager said Members will be aware that in the recent past Rotherham had being the subject of some public safety issues in respect of vehicle licensing and as a direct consequence strong Licensing Policies had been introduced.

 

One Member suggested that foreign nationals, fleeing their own country and seeking asylum in the UK may find it difficult to obtain the necessary documentation due to their circumstances.

 

It was suggested that in such instances the applicant be advised about obtaining a Statutory Declaration.

 

A  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Licensing Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To note the contents of the Licensing Committee Work Programme for 2019/20.

 

 

(Report attached)

Minutes:

Members considered the contents of the Licensing Committee Work Programme for 2019/20.

 

Following discussion of an earlier item on Taxi and Private Hire Licensing, Members requested if an update report on the “West Yorkshire Combined Authority Project to Harmonise Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle and Driver Conditions Across West Yorkshire and York” could be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED – That with the inclusion of the above, to approve the contents of the Licensing Committee Work Programme for 2019/20

 

 

13.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

To note that the next meeting will take place on Tuesday, 2nd July 2019 at 10.00am in the Civic Hall, Leeds.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – To note that the next meeting will take place on Tuesday, 2nd July 2019 at 10.00am in the Civic Hall, Leeds.