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LICENSING COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 20th March, 2012.

 

Present:  Councillor J.W. Thomas (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. A.J. Preston (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. M.E. Alexander, Mrs. S.M. Bagstaff, J.F. Fraser, E. Hacker, A.D. Hampton, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, K. Hatton, N. Moore, C.L. Osborne, Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson and E.T. Williams.

 

 

1009   MINUTES -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 7th February, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

1010   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

1011   DRAFT ALCOHOL MISUSE STRATEGY CONSULTATION (REF) -

 

The Strategy had been referred to Cabinet on 1st February, 2012 for approval for consultation purposes.  Cabinet had resolved that the report be also referred to the Licensing Committee as part of the process and that a further report on the Strategy be presented to Cabinet following the consultation period.  The Strategy had been designed to meet the needs of the population of the Vale of Glamorgan and would be overseen by the Area Planning Board which covered both Cardiff and the Vale Health Board Area as well as the Vale of Glamorgan CSP.

 

The Strategy was currently in draft form and had been sent out for consultation with the final comments being extended to be received by the end of March, 2012.  The Strategy which was attached at as Appendix to the report included the following main themes as well as the mechanisms that would aid delivery:

  • education and prevention
  • harm to the individual
  • harm to the community.

The Strategy aimed to build on current capacity of services by developing skills amongst the workforce at youth service and health service level to deal with presenting alcohol related issues.

 

The Strategy also looked to work across partnerships to tackle and prevent alcohol related harm. 

 

The Substance Misuse Co-ordinator representing the Safer Vale Partnership presented the report advising that the consultation period had been extended to the end of March, 2012 and that any comments could be forwarded to himself or the Principal Community Safety Officer at the Barry Fire Station.  Members questioned the 12 week consultation feedback as to whether this would be extended further with Mr. Maidment advising that he would refer the suggestion back to the Board. 

 

In considering the report the Chairman referred to the need for the strategy to be more specific to the Vale of Glamorgan, that further details should be incorporated in relation to the role of the Licensing Department and that reference be made to the level of data that was available that could be included within the document, together with examples of work that was being undertaken to deal with the matter.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Principal Regulatory Services Officer provide written feedback on behalf of the Licensing Committee as part of the consultation process in view of the comments as detailed above.

 

(2)       T H A T the Partnership Board be requested to consider a further extension to the deadline of the end of March 2012 in order that full consultation can take place.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To forward the views of the Licensing Committee and the Licensing Department under the consultation process.

 

(2)       To aid further consultation.

 

 

1012   HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENSING - RIGHT TO WORK POLICY (DLPPHS) -

 

The Committee's endorsement was sought to introduce procedures to ensure illegal immigrants were not granted Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver's Licences which would allow them to work illegally within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

The Government's Department of Transport current best practice guidance in relation to driver licensing stated "The Department considered it appropriate for Licensing Authorities to check on an applicant's right to work before granting a taxi or private hire vehicle driver's licence.  It is important to note that a Criminal Records Bureau check is not a 'Right to Work' Check."

 

The Home Office, via the UK Border Agency had also complied a list of documents which proved the right to work in the UK, the details of which were attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

The report proposed that with immediate effect applicants for Vale of Glamorgan Driver Licences be required to satisfy the Licensing Authority of their right to work in the UK before a licence was granted and that a licence be refused where the necessary evidence was not provided.  In respect of existing holders of Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver's Licences the Principal Regulatory Officer advised that it was also proposed that with immediate effect the person be required to provide evidence of their right to work in the UK on the first annual renewal of their licence and subsequent renewals if required.  Failure to do so would result in the suspension of the licence which may be lifted upon receipt of satisfactory documentation.  The representative from the trade also informed the Committee of his approval with regard to the suggestions detailed in the report.  Committee was requested to approve that where the Licensing Authority had concerns regarding an individuals right to work and that that individual had been working or intended to work in the UK illegally information be reported to the UK Border Agency.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Council adopts the standards laid down by the UK Border Agency at Appendix A, including any updates that may be subsequently made thereto, to verify the right to work in the UK of applicants for Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences.

 

(2)       T H A T with immediate effect applications for the grant of a Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licence be refused if the applicant fails to provide evidence of their right to work in the UK.  

 

(3)       T H A T existing holders of Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences be required to provide evidence of their right to work in the UK on the first annual renewal of their licences following endorsement of this report and that failure to produce the required documentation results in suspension of the licence which may be lifted upon receipt of the documentation.  

 

(4)       T H A T where there are concerns regarding an individual's right to work and that individual has been working or intends to work in the UK illegally, the information be reported to the UK Border Agency.

 

Reason for the decisions

 

(1)       To ensure robust processes are in place to ensure hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences are not granted to persons who are not legally entitled to work in the UK. 

 

(2)       To ensure new applicants for Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences are legally entitled to work in the UK prior to being granted a licence.

 

(3)       To ensure robust transitional arrangements are in place to ensure existing Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers are entitled to work in the UK.

 

(4)       To ensure effective information sharing with the UK Border Agency.

 

 

1013   HOUSE TO HOUSE COLLECTION APPLICATION: SUPPORT PEN Y BONT LTD - MR. ALEKSEJ PLACHTEJ (DLPPHS) -

 

A house to house collection licence application had been received on 23rd February, 2012 from Mr. Plachtej of Support Pen y Bont Ltd to carry out house to house collections throughout the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan area between 22nd March, 2012 and 21st March, 2013.  The application was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

Members were informed that within one month of the expiry of the house to house collection licence applicants must submit a returns schedule detailing the account figures from the collection.  Mr. Plachtej had previously been issued with two house to house collection licences, however, the returns schedule for the collection carried out between 17th January, 2011 and 16th January, 2012 detailed a low percentage of proceeds to be donated to the Y Bont charity.  A copy of the collections returns schedule was attached at Appendix B to the report.

 

On 4th October, 2011 the Licensing Committee considered a house to house collection application but deferred the decision in order for the applicant to provide a copy of his latest accounts.  To date these had not been received by the Department.  The Licensing Department had also been required by the Committee to clarify the criteria used by the Secretary of State when considering appeals against decisions of local authorities to grant house to house collection licences.  The Licensing Department wrote to the Secretary of State on 14th October, 2011, 18th November, 2011 and 12th January, 2012 which was sent by Recorded Delivery.  To date no response had been received.  Copies of the letters were attached at Appendix D to the report.

 

Members, in considering the report and lack of  response from the Secretary of State considered that it was an important element to reaching a decision to have the views of the Secretary of State and thus unanimously agreed that the Secretary of State be further approached with regard to the matter.

 

Following which, it was subsequently

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Chairman writes to the Member of Parliament urging the Member to seek a response from the Secretary of State in respect of the matter having regard to the letters of 14th October, 2011, 18th November, 2011 and 12th January, 2012.

 

(2)       T H A T the house to house collection application be deferred to the next meeting of the Licensing Committee to be held on 17th April, 2012.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1&2)  To defer the application for consideration until 17th April, 2012 in anticipation of a response being received from the Secretary of State.

 

 

1014   HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER KNOWLEDGE TEST - FOR INFORMATION REPORT (DLPPHS) -

 

The report provided the Committee with an update on the impact of changes to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Basic Knowledge Tests that had been introduced in September 2010. 

 

Following representations from the trade in 2009/10 officers had renewed the testing regime in respect of applicants as the view of the trade was that the tests were too easy and should be made more challenging.  On 20th April, 2010 the Licensing Committee agreed changes to the Basic English Test which were then introduced in September 2010.

 

On 29th September, 2010 the first candidates sat the new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Knowledge Test and the Committee was advised of the details below which provided a breakdown of the test results:

 

TEST DATE

Number of candidates

Number Passed

Number Failed

Pass Rate %

29/09/10

10

1

9

10%

20/10/10

5

1

4

20%

17/11/10

10

0

10

0%

15/12/10

10

2

8

20%

12/01/11

6

0

6

0%

09/02/11

10

3

7

30%

09/03/11

12

5

7

42%

06/04/11

3

1

2

33%

04/05/11

5

1

4

20%

07/06/11

8

4

4

50%

05/07/11

9

2

7

22%

16/08/11

8

4

4

50%

14/09/11

11

2

9

18%

12/10/11

7

3

4

43%

09/11/11

5

3

2

60%

07/12/11

2

1

1

50%

17/01/12

4

1

3

25%

15/02/12

8

6

2

75%

TOTAL

133

40=30.07%

93=69.92%

 

 

In March 2011 officers reviewed the test results and it was evident that candidates were having significant difficulties with Section 4.  Consequently the pass rate up to the end of March 2011 was only 19%.  A decision was then made to provide all candidates with 60 routes to learn prior to the test with candidates knowledge of 10 out of the 60 routes being tested.  The pass rate as detailed in the report of 25% was noted as an error and should have read 40% since April 2011. 

 

Members were further advised that driving tests and results would continue to be monitored and would be a standard agenda item at meetings of the Taxi Consultative Panel.  The representative from the Taxi Consultative Panel was present at the meeting and stated that they were pleased with the introduction of the new format and with the results.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To update Members on the impact of changes to the Basic English and Knowledge Test introduced in September 2010.

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