Agenda and minutes

Licensing Committee
Tuesday, 28th January, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds

Contact: Governance Services  2243836

Items
No. Item

81.

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.

 

82.

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:

During consideration of item 88 the Committee briefly went into private session to take legal advice pursuant to the Council’s Access to Information Procedure Rules 10.4(5). There were no other items identified where it was considered necessary to exclude the press or public from the meeting due to the confidential nature of the business to be considered

83.

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 an additional item onto the agenda as referred to in Minute No. 88. Members were informed that the report “Leeds City Council Suitability and Convictions Policy (Additional Report) was not available at the time of agenda publication and it was considered to be in the best interests of the Council and other parties concerned that the matter be considered without delay. 

 

84.

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.

 

85.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence (If any)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received for Councillors: N Buckley, P Drinkwater and A Hutchison.

 

86.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 3rd December 2019.

 

 

(Copy attached)

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the previous meetings held on 3rd December 2019, were accepted as a true and correct record.

 

87.

Matters Arising from the Minutes

To consider any Matter Arising from the minutes.

Minutes:

Taxi and Private Hire Licensing - Results of the CCTV Working Group (Minute No. 76 referred) – The Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Manager reported that discussions were currently ongoing with Safer Leeds to discuss possible contributions of funding for CCTV in vehicles. It was reported that further details would be provided as information became available.

88.

Leeds City Council Suitability and Convictions Policy - Additional Report pdf icon PDF 324 KB

To consider a report by the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory which informs Members of the response to the planned implementation of the new Suitability and Convictions policy since the approval of the policy at Executive Board in October. 

 

The report also informs Members of the consultation method, both in Leeds and across West Yorkshire and York, to clarify the results of the consultation, and set out the changes to the policy following the consultation and explains the way the policy will be implemented, including how exceptional circumstances will be taken into account, and how the application of the policy will be reviewed.

 

 

(Report attached)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory submitted a report which informed Members of the response to the planned implementation of the new Suitability and Convictions policy since the approval of the policy at Executive Board in October. 

The report also informed Members of the consultation method, both in Leeds and across West Yorkshire and York and set out the changes to the policy following the consultation. The report also explained the way the policy will be implemented and that it would be subject to review 12 months after implementation.

 

Members discussed recent representation from local taxi trade representatives objecting to some aspects of the council’s new Suitability and Convictions policy, which would take effect from 2nd February 2020, and matches standards in taxi and private hire licensing adopted in neighbouring councils in Yorkshire, following engagement and consultation in 2018-19.

 

Members were informed about the way in which the new policy would affect taxi and private hire drivers with seven points or more on their driving licence for minor motoring offences.  They heard that, while new applicants with seven points or more would be likely to have their application refused, existing drivers who had seven points or more, but had previously reported them to the council, in line with licencing requirements, would be likely to have their licence renewed. Existing drivers with fewer than 7 points and reporting new points would have their licences reviewed, and would be likely to be required to undertake additional driver training. However, repeat offences following additional training would be taken seriously, with the council reserving the right to remove a licence as a last resort. 

 

The Committee discussed the setting up of a Working Group to examine the issue of drivers with points on their driving licence.

 

In providing clarification on the issue of points, the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Manager explained that the officers making decisions use a ‘case review’ method, when an officer proposes to make a decision which does not follow the policy.  This case review involves at least one, and usually two, senior managers, who review the proposed decision.  It is not possible to give an exhaustive list of the factors and decisions which might be taken into account, but it was suggested a range of options could be exercised separately or in combination, using the example of minor points on a licence. For example:

Refusal of a licence to a new applicant until their points fall below 7; Additional remedial driver training for existing licence holder; Issue of a shorter licence period (e.g. 3 months) to review conduct; and revocation of an existing licence is likely to be considered if there is a pattern of complaints about poor driving, points, failure to declare points, amounting to serious infringements.

The Committee heard representation from the: GMB Union, the Unite Union and from a number of Taxi and Private Hire Associations and Operators, all were of a similar view that:

 

(i)  The new Suitability and Convictions policy, due for implementation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88.

89.

Taxi & Private Hire Licensing - Proposed Working Group on Private Hire Operators, Ride Hailing Apps and Cross Border Working pdf icon PDF 363 KB

To consider a report by the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory which seeks Members support for the establishment of a Working Group to review private hire operator, ride hailing apps and cross border working.

 

The report outlines for the terms of reference for a working group, identifying the key issues, options and implications which need to be considered, and the different groups of stakeholders or advisers who can provide input to the working group.

 

 

(Report attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory submitted a report which sought  Members support for the establishment of a Working Group to review private hire operator, ride hailing apps and cross border working.

The report outlined suggested terms of reference for a working group, identifying the key issues, options and implications which need to be considered and the different groups of stakeholders or advisers who could provide input to the working group.

 

Addressing the report the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Manager explained that the Council has had the current policy for private hire operators since 2014, however, for a number of related and overlapping reasons, as set out below, the policy and supporting arrangements need discussion and revision:

·  An increase in the scale of private hire operators who are licenced in more than one licensing authority and operate vehicles across local authority licensing areas;

·  The rise in use of smartphone apps and kiosks;

·  The growth in observed cross border working (regular working outside a licence area);

·  The difference between licensing authority conditions, enforcement capacity and licensing fees, which encourages ‘licence shopping’;

·  Limited availability of wheelchair accessible vehicles in the private hire fleet; and

·  Concern about the downward pressure on some fares, driver wages, and implications for passenger safety;

  It was suggested the Working Group would meet on approximately 3 – 4 occasions, each session lasting between 2 – 3 hours in duration and would include representation from the trade and other interested parties.

  The Chair sought expressions of interest from Members to serve on the Working Group

Councillors H Bithell and B Flynn volunteered to serve on the group, the Chair also agreed to participate.

RESOLVED -

(i)  That the purpose and content of the report be noted.

(ii)  To approve the Proposed Terms of Reference for the Working Group

(iii)  That Councillors H Bithell, B Flynn and B Garner be appointed as this Committee’s representatives on the Private Hire Operators, Ride Hailing Apps and Crossing Border Working Group

 

90.

2019 Review of the City Centre Cumulative Impact Policy Areas pdf icon PDF 284 KB

To consider a report by the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory which  presents the Annual Review of the City Centre Areas covered by the Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP).

 

 

(Report attached)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory submitted a report which presented the annual review of the city centre areas covered by the Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP).

 

Addressing the report, the Principal Licensing Officer, Communities & Environment explained that this year’s city centre cumulative impact assessment indicated that the red area in the lower part of the city be maintained without change.  However the closure of three large premises in Albion Street has led to an area that is no longer predominantly in the night time economy.  As such it is not appropriate to include it in the red area in the upper part of the city. 

 

Referring to the closure of late night venues, Members queried if the premises licence could be transferred to other operators

 

Members were informed that the premises licence remained in place so the premises could be brought back into use, but the cumulative impact area could be reviewed at any time

 

Members queried the role of the Evening Ambassadors.

 

  It was reported that the Council and Leeds Business Improvement District had put in place a scheme with the Evening Ambassadors. Currently the Evening Ambassadors meet and greet and provide information to visitors but there is future prospects for a street marshalling scheme.

 

  Referring to the Street Angels, Members asked if this was a voluntary group.

 

  Officers confirmed Street Angels was a voluntary group.

 

  Members queried if extended hours could be granted to premises if it was outside the red zone of the Cumulative Impact Area.

 

  Members were informed that applications for extended hours in the red zone would attract objections, but this was not necessarily the situation if the premises was outside the red zone.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)  That the contents of the report be noted including the police statistical report for 2019

 

(ii)  To endorse a new cumulative impact assessment for the city centre for 2020.

 

91.

Licensing Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To note and approve the contents of the Licensing Committee Work Programme for 2020.

 

 

(Report attached)

Minutes:

Members considered the ongoing Work Programme for 2020.

 

RESOLVED – That the Licensing Committee Work Programme be approved

 

92.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

To note that the next meeting will take place on Tuesday, 3rd March 2020 at 10.00am in the Civic Hall, Leeds.

Minutes:

RESOLVED - That the next meeting of the Committee be arranged for Tuesday, 3rd March 2020 at 10.00am in the Civic Hall, Leeds.