Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing Committee - Monday, 17th February, 2020 7.00 pm

New regulations came into effect on 4 April 2020 to allow Councils to hold meetings remotely via electronic means. As such, Council and Committee meetings will occur with appropriate Councillors participating via a remote video link. Public access to the meetings is via a live stream video through the Mid Sussex District Council’s YouTube channel.

Venue: COUNCIL CHAMBER

Contact: Email: committees@midsussex.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Gibbs.

 

2.

To receive Declarations of Interest from Members in respect of any matter on the Agenda.

Minutes:

None.

3.

To confirm the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 1 July 2019. pdf icon PDF 205 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 1 July 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

4.

To consider any items that the Chairman agrees to take as urgent business.

Minutes:

The Chairman informed the Committee that Paul Thornton, Senior Licensing Officer would be leaving the Council in April.  The Chairman and several Members thanked him for his explementary work, dedication and professional.

5.

Discussion Paper on the Potential Changes to the Taxi Licensing Policy Following the Proposed Statutory Guidance. pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Minutes:

Jon Bryant, Licensing Officer introduced the report which seeks the Committee’s views on the strategic direction for the proposed review of the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Policy.  He noted that there would be little change to the Draft Statutory Guidance that the Committee responded to in April 2019, and the guidance will be issued imminently.

 

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers

The Licensing Officer highlighted that the Statutory Guidance will provide a definition for the “fit and proper” test and the Committee would ask “Without any prejudice, and based on the information before you, would you allow a person for whom you care, regardless of their condition, to travel alone in a vehicle driven by this person at any time of day or night?”  He noted that the proposed guidance also states that the applicant or licence holder should not be given the benefit of the doubt.  Regarding the DBS update service, he confirmed that there is no compulsion for drivers to sign up to the service and the time frame for self-reporting for arrests, charges or convictions should be reduced from 7 days to 48 hours. 

 

Members discussed the impact this may have on the workload of Licensing Sub Committee A. The Officer confirmed that each notification would be dealt with on a case by case basis and minor breaches could be dealt with using the penalty points system. 

 

Following a Members question the Officer confirmed that applicants who had lived overseas for more than 3 months would have to obtain a letter of good conduct from their embassy or high commission.  He noted that the police report would be certified and then translated by an authorised translator.

 

Members discussed the introduction of mandatory Safeguarding Awareness training.  The Officer advised that the Council had previously run voluntary courses for existing drivers which had been well attended.  The training had been free as it had been funded by WSCC.  He confirmed that the view of Licensing Sub Committee A was for the training to be mandatory.  He advised that trainers have been sourced to provide face to face training, WSCC and the Blue Lamp Trust at a potential cost of £25 per driver.   The training would include safeguarding awareness, child sexual exploitation and modern slavery, vulnerable adults and disabilities including hidden disabilities to ensure drivers treat those with disabilities in a proper way.  Members discussed adding a condition to a licence setting a date for the completion of mandatory training. 

 

The Committee were advised that drivers are consulted on policy changes.

 

The Officer confirmed that the number of Hackney Carriages is capped at 154 and 20% are wheelchair assessible.  He noted there would be a survey later this year for un met demand and proposals could be made to this Committee to raise or remove the cap.  

 

CCTV in Licensed Vehicles

The Officer confirmed that most vehicles currently do not have CCTV fitted.  Where it has been fitted drivers must comply with the data regulations, the data is encrypted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Licensing Team Responsibilities. pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Minutes:

Paul Thornton, Senior Licensing Officer introduced the report which gave an update on the past years work of the Licensing Team.  He noted that their remit covered areas concerning Animal Welfare to Camp Sites.  The Committee were advised that Mid Sussex is one of the two councils in the county that have implemented the Animal Welfare Policy and other local authorities are using our policy to draft their own. 

 

The Officer confirmed that since the implementation of the Animal Welfare Policy the Council has put information on the website to inform the public, and to sign post any unregistered people to the Council.  He noted that the Licensing Team follow up any leads received.  He confirmed that, in conjunction with other local authorities, a press release will be made in April announcing Lucy’s Law, the law banning puppy farming.

 

Members discussed the licensing of riding establishments and livery yards.  The Officer noted that responsibility for the operators of hire vehicles is a matter for DEFRA.   He also confirmed that DEFRA have a report on livery yards but these are not yet licensed, and they are reviewing the home boarding/ day care of dogs as this is now more popular than kennels.

 

Members discussed street trading and how to control unlicensed street vendors to protect the public.  Yvonne Leddy, Business Unit Leader for Environmental Health and Building Control commented that the Council will provide advise if contacted by event organisers and noted that they have more control over events when they are held on council owned land.  The Senior Licensing Officer advised that event organisers should also liaise with the Police who can provide support if previous events have been blighted by street traders.  The Police will then pass information onto the Licensing Team to progress onto prosecution if appropriate.  He confirmed that the Team regularly provide advice on street trading.   A Member highlighted the importance of Town and Parish Councils working closely with the Council environmental health and licensing department.   

 

The Chairman commented that he has asked the Licensing Team to provide an update report with figures.  He noted no more Members wished to speak so moved the Committee to the recommendation to note the report which was agreed unanimously.

 

RESOLVED

 

The Committee noted the contents of the report.

 

7.

Questions pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 10.2 due notice of which has been given.

Minutes:

None.