Agenda Item No 5
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Licencing Committee: 4th March 2014
Report of the Director of Development Services
Adoption of Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Statement of Principles, Fitness Criteria for Drivers and Operators
Purpose of the Report
1. To consider the adoption of Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Statement of Principles, on the treatment of convictions, cautions and charges.
1. That the revised Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Statement of Principles on the treatment of Convictions, Cautions and Charge be adopted.
Reason for the Recommendation
1. To advise Members that their instructions are requested.
2. At the meeting of the Licensing Committee on 5th March 2013, Members adopted a Statement of Principles to assist them when considering applications for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licences who have convictions and existing licence holders facing disciplinary proceedings.
3. Following the adoption of the Statement of Principles in March 2013 further work was carried out by a National Licensing Technical Panel sub group which included an officer from this Authority and the document has been further influenced by the Transport for London taxi manual and the Magistrates Court sentencing guidelines.
4. The Statement of Principles has been approved by the Directors of Public Protection Wales.
Relevant Issues and Options
5. The Statement of Principles would replace the existing Statement of Principles which is located at Section 2 of the Members packs.
6. The use of the Statement of Principles is intended to give Members full discretion to decide if an individual applicant who has convictions is a fit and proper person to hold Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licences or an Operator Licence. The Statement of Principles is attached at Appendix A to this Report.
7. The use of the Statement of Principles is also intended to give Members full discretion to decide if the holder of a licence remains a fit and proper person to hold Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licences or Operator Licence following any non-compliance with the law or any other reasonable cause.
8. The Statement of Principles will also enable officers to decide which matters should be referred to the Licensing Committee.
9. As the Statement of Principles will also be available to potential applicants it enables those with a criminal record to decide whether or not they wish to make an application.
10. A copy of the Statement of Principles will be issued to applicants with other relevant documents to ensure the applicants are fully conversant with the options available to Members of the Committee.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
11. Resources directed to the administration and enforcement of the Taxi Licensing function may be recovered through Taxi Licensing Fees and Charges.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
12. There are no implications as a result of this report.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
13. There is no judicially approved test of fitness and propriety, and accordingly, a number of local tests have been developed throughout Wales and England. These tend to be based on a test similar to the following:
"Would you, as a Member of the Licensing Committee, allow your son or daughter, spouse or partner, mother or father, grandson or granddaughter or any other person for whom you care, to get into the vehicle with this person alone?"
If the answer to this question (or a similar test) is an unqualified "Yes", then the test is probably satisfied. If there are any doubts in the minds of those who make the decision, then further consideration should be given as to whether this person is a fit and proper person to hold such licences.
14. Section 61 of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states;
Notwithstanding anything in the Act of 1847 or in this Part of this Act, a district council may suspend or revoke or (on application therefore under section 46 of the Act of 1847 or section 51 of this Act, as the case may be) refuse to renew the licence of a driver of a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle on any of the following grounds-
that he has since the grant of the licence-
been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty, indecency or violence; or
been convicted of an offence under or has failed to comply with the provisions of the Act of 1847 or this part of this Act; or
any other reasonable cause.
15. Section 61 (3) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 provides
Any driver aggrieved by a decision of a district council under this section may appeal to a magistrates' court.
Crime and Disorder Implications
16. Under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the Council has a statutory duty to consider crime and disorder implications whilst regulating licensable activities. We must have due regard to the likely effect of the exercise of those functions on the need to do all we can reasonably do to prevent crime and disorder in our area.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
17. The Council is obliged to apply its licensing conditions on an equitable basis in the case of all applications.
18. To protect the health and safety of the community by ensuring businesses meet legislative requirements, controlling infectious diseases, encouraging responsible dog ownership, controlling pests and regulating animal health and welfare. To maintain a fair and equitable trading environment.
Policy Framework and Budget
19. This is a matter for decision by the Licensing Committee.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
20. This report is not ward specific.
21. The principals have been agreed on an all wales basis to enable consistency. Further consultation is not therefore needed.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
22. Housing and Public Protection.
Amanda Ewington. Licensing Team Leader 01446 709782
Richard Price, Lawyer, Legal Services 01446 709409
Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services.