Speckers Panel Licensing
Minutes of the Meeting held on 24 January 2012
Time Commenced:10.05am Time Terminated: 11.15am
Councillor White (Chair)
Councillors Beeley, Downs, Dowthwaite and D Lane
Apologies for Absence:
Councillors Shorrock, Sidebottom and Wilde
25. Declarations Of Interest
There were no declarations of interest submitted by members of the Panel.
The Minutes of the proceedings of the meeting held on 2 December 2011 having been circulated were taken as read and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
27. Exempt Items
That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) the public and press be excluded for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act and in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, because disclosure of the personal information contained in the report would not be fair to the complainant or the licence holder and would therefore be in breach of data protection principles.
28. Review Of A Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licence 1/2012
The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed at the meeting.
The Assistant Executive Director, Environmental Services, submitted a report requesting the Panel to review a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licence. Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 Section 61, the Council can suspend or revoke a driver’s licence if he has been convicted of a relevant offence or any other reasonable cause.
He reported that the driver had been a licensed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire driver with this Authority since 2007.
On 30 June 2011, the Licensing Manager had been contacted by the Oldham Council Licensing Manager and was informed that the driver (also a licensed driver with Oldham Council) had been convicted of a TS10 offence (contravening a red traffic light) and disqualified from driving for 6 months. Further information was subsequently provided about the driver’s conviction, in the form of a newspaper report which outlined that, not only had he been prosecuted for contravening a red light, but that he had also been convicted of perjury as a result of submitting false information to the police after being caught on an enforcement camera. In addition, it was reported that the driver had failed to declare that fact that he had 10 points on his licence when he last renewed his licences in April 2011.
The driver had been contacted and had agreed to surrender his driver’s badges. It was noted that at this point, the matter should have been listed for the next meeting of the Speakers’ Panel (Licensing), but for unknown reasons, this had not happened.
On 12 January 2012 the driver had attended the Licensing office stating that his period of disqualification had ended, and asked for the return of his driver’s badges so that he could resume working as a taxi driver. The Licensing Manager explained to the driver that the conviction guidelines in respect of dishonesty offences and disqualification from driving would effectively prevent him from holding private hire and hackney driver’s licenses with Tameside for a period of three years.
It was reported that the driver had become agitated when these facts were pointed out to him and said that he felt discriminated against, stating that other driver’s had received similar convictions and had been allowed to carry on driving. The driver insisted that his badges be returned to him, and he was informed that the matter would be put before the next meeting of the Speakers’ Panel (Licensing).
The driver attended before the Panel accompanied by two representatives. He apologised for his actions and explained that he had been struggling since his conviction. He admitted that he made a mistake, but had paid for it with a suspended prison sentence and disqualification from driving for a six month period, which had caused considerable financial hardship for him and his family. The driver further explained that his wife had a disability and that he also had three young children to care for. He stated that he had not had 10 points on his licence at any time and that his most recent endorsement of 3 points had occurred after his application had been made for renewal to the Council.
At this juncture, the Driver, his representatives, and the Licensing Manager left the meeting whilst the Panel deliberated on the review. The Solicitor to the Panel and the Democratic Services Officer remained in the meeting to give legal and procedural advice and took no part in the decision making process.
The Panel made the following determination based on the evidence submitted at the hearing, the Panel were satisfied, having had the file considered and having had the opportunity to inspect the recently restored DVLA licence that at no time were there more than six points on the driver’s DVLA licence and that there had been no failure to declare these. They were also satisfied that the 2011 endorsement was for an offence which had occurred after the application had been made for renewal to the Council. Although concerned about any driving offences by licensed taxi drivers, the Panel did not consider that the driver’s record was such as to cause unreasonable risks to the safety of passengers or other road users.
Based on the evidence submitted at the hearing, the Panel determined that the driver remain a fit and proper person to hold a licence. They did however stipulate, that should the driver commit any further misdemeanours, he be brought before the Panel again.
That Driver’s Licence 01/2012 be retained.
29. Urgent Items
The Chair reported that there were no urgent items for consideration at this meeting.