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Apologies for absence were received from Councillor C. J. Spencer.
In giving apologies from Councillor Spencer, Councillor R. L. Dent informed the Committee that Councillor Spencer was unwell. Members expressed their good wishes to Councillor Spencer for a speedy recovery.
Declarations of Interest
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.
There were no declarations of interest.
The minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 13th November 2017 were submitted.
RESOLVED that, the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 13th November 2017 be approved.
The Committee considered a report informing Members of the required consultation on the Council’s current Statement of Principles. In accordance with Section 349 of the Gambling Act 2005, the Council are required to prepare and publish a Statement of Principles every three years.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) introduced the report and informed the Committee that the Gambling Act required the Council to carry out a review of its Gambling Act 2005 – Statement of Principles every 3 years. Members were being asked to consider and approve the draft revised Statement of Principles, as detailed at Appendix 1 to the report, for the purpose of consultation with relevant parties, as detailed in paragraph 3.18 in the report.
Members were further informed that whilst there had been no significant amendments to the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005 since the last Statement of Principles, changes had been made to the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) that licensed operators had to comply with. The Gambling Commission had also updated its Guidance to Licensing Authorities (GLA).
Therefore a new Statement of Principles had to be consulted on and the agreed Statement of Principles had to be published by 31st January 2019.
Members were being asked to consider the required changes to the current Statement of Principles for the purpose of consultation with the relevant parties.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), WRS, drew Members’ attention to Appendix 1 to the report and in doing so, informed the Committee that the amendments to the draft revised Statement of Principles were shown in red text in the document. The more significant changes had also been summarised in paragraphs 3.12 to 3.17 in the report.
It was proposed that the consultation would take place over a period of 10 weeks. The consultation would also be made available for comment via the Council’s website and publicised via social media and the local press. Responses to the consultation would be reported back to the Licensing Committee prior to its implementation in January 2019.
Members thanked the Senior Practitioner (Licensing), WRS, and commented that they had found it helpful that the amendments had been shown in red text.
a) that the revised draft Statement of Principles, as detailed at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved for the purpose of consultation with relevant parties, and
b) that the findings of the consultation be reported back to Licensing Committee Members prior to the implementation of the Statement of Principles in January 2019.
Following on from the Licensing Committee meeting held on 13th November 2017, whereby Members approved for the purposes of consultation, proposed amendments to two areas of the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Handbook. Namely, the NVQ Level 2 in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving or an equivalent qualification and tinted windows that concealed the identity of passengers inside the vehicle.
Members were asked to consider the responses received to the consultation as detailed at Appendix 2 to the report.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), Worcestershire Regulatory Services, (WRS), introduced the report and in doing so informed the Committee that whilst there had been no scheduled reviews due to be undertaken in relation to the Council’s policies; two specific matters which had been brought to the attention of Licensing Committee Members, as detailed above, had resulted in the consultation exercise being conducted.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), WRS, highlighted that any proposed change to the Council’s polices, should take into account the responses received to the consultation.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), WRS, continued and reminded the Committee of the two specific areas of the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Handbook, that had caused some difficulty since the handbook was last updated in March 2016. The NVQ Level 2 in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving or an equivalent qualification and tinted windows that concealed the identity of passengers inside the vehicle.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), WRS, drew Members’ attention to the consultation document, as detailed at Appendix 1 to the report, the table which summarised the consultation responses, as detailed at Appendix 2 to the report and the response received from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, as detailed at Appendix 3 to the report.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), WRS, also drew Members’ attention to paragraph 3.9 in the report, which detailed the consultees who were sent a copy of the consultation document.
The consultation period commenced in December 2017 and concluded on 16th February 2018. A total of eleven consultation responses were received.
The Chairman suggested that Members considered the responses received with regard to the NVQ Level 2 in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving or an equivalent qualification first, then considered tinted windows that concealed the identity of passengers inside the vehicle.
The NVQ Level 2 in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving or an equivalent qualification.
Councillor C. M. McDonald stated that in her opinion, firstly, that since the consultation survey only allowed for a “Yes/No” answer, the questions had not been answered correctly. Secondly, those who had responded had not mentioned the cost or any difficulty in being able to obtain and achieve the NVQ qualification. Which if achieved, would indicate that licensed drivers were well trained to protect their customers and also themselves. She would like to see the NVQ qualification or an equivalent qualification remain in the handbook.
Councillor C. M. McDonald continued and highlighted that compared to disability awareness training, which could be completed on-line; the NVQ qualification was hands on learning, whereby learners covered more in depth ... view the full minutes text for item 26/17
The Committee were asked to note a report that provided an update on the situation regarding Wheelchair Accessible Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles. Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV’s) were vehicles that have been constructed or adapted to carry a wheelchair user whilst they remained seated in their wheelchair.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), reminded Members that Members had, at previous Licensing Committee meetings, considered reports regarding the availability of WAV’s in the district.
At the Licensing Committee meeting held on 18th January 2017, Licensing Committee Members considered a number of different options that the Council could take with a view to increasing the number of WAV’s licensed by the Council to be used as Hackney Carriages.
At the time of the report being presented to Members, the Council licensed 124 vehicles to be used a Hackney Carriages, seven of which were WAV’s.
Members resolved, at that meeting, that no further steps were to be taken to increase the number of WAV’s vehicles licensed by Bromsgrove District Council; but tasked officers to work with the taxi trade to raise public awareness of taxi companies that were able to provide WAV’s.
Members further requested that an update report, on the situation with regard to WAV’s, be presented to Licensing Committee Members after a period of twelve months.
The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), WRS, informed Members that, following on from the meeting on 18th January 2018, officers had written to the proprietors of all Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles that had been identified as being a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Those proprietors were asked to give their consent for their personal data, which included their telephone number, to be publicised by the Council to raise public awareness of the availability of which taxi providers could supply a WAV.
Unfortunately only one private hire operator had responded to the request and they had indicated that since their WAV was committed to contracted work for most of the time, they would not normally be available without at least 24 hours’ notice.
Members were reminded that on 7th February 2017, the Department for Transport (DfT) had announced their intention to implement sections 165-167 of the Equality Act 2010 and had made the Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No. 12) Order 2017, which took effect on 6th April 2017.
On 21st June 2017, following a recommendation from the Licensing Committee on 12th June 2017, Council resolved to adopt the position statement on sections 165-167 of the Equality Act 2010. This position statement committed the Council to publishing and maintaining a list of those vehicles that had been designated as wheelchair accessible for the purposes of sections 165-167 as from 1st December 2017.
The designated list of WAV’s was published and hosted on both the Council’s and Worcestershire Regulatory Services website and would be maintained as part of the Council’s public register of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles.
The public register identified six Hackney Carriage and six Private Hire Vehicles that were WAV’s. This was out ... view the full minutes text for item 27/17
The Committee considered the Work Programme for 2017/18.
RESOLVED that the Licensing Committee Work Programme for 2017/2018 be updated to include the items discussed and agreed during the course of the meeting.