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Contact: Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Officer (Committees) Telephone 01392 265115 or email email@example.com
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 24 October 2022.
The minutes of the meeting held on 24 October 2022 were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chair as correct.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests that relate to business on the agenda and which have not already been included in the register of interests, before any discussion takes place on the item. Unless the interest is sensitive, you must also disclose the nature of the interest. In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, you must then leave the room and must not participate in any further discussion of the item. Councillors requiring clarification should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer prior to the day of the meeting.
No declarations of interest were made by Members.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 1976
To consider the report of the Service Lead - Environmental Health & Community Safety
The Licensing Committee received the annual report for the proposed licensing fees and charges for 2023/24. The Committee had a statutory responsibility to set fees for the year which related to the cost of performing the various Licensing functions. Members were referred to appendices attached to the report, which listed all the fees levied by the Licensing Authority. The Service Lead - Environmental Health & Community Safety explained that Appendix A summarised the Council’s powers to set its fees in respect of licensing applications, and any limitations on those powers, and Appendix B listed all the fees levied by the Licensing Authority as of last year and the proposed fees for 2023/24. He highlighted the additional charge for the classification of films by the Licensing Authority with the Licensing team using the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) formula to review material and issue the classification certificate.
The Service Lead - Environmental Health & Community Safety responded to the following Members’ comments –
RESOLVED that the proposed Fees and Charges for the period from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 be approved, as set out in Appendix B of the report.
To consider the report of the Service Lead - Environmental Health & Community Safety.
The Service Lead - Environmental Health & Community Safety presented a report on the proposed introduction of a Taxi Penalty Points Policy for Exeter City Council and consultation with the taxi trade. Following the introduction by Government of the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards in July 2020, a working group was set up to consider a number of elements of the guidance, including whether to introduce a points based disciplinary system at Exeter City Council. A draft policy had been developed with the aim of improving the levels of compliance with licensing regulations and requirements, to help raise standards, improve safety and enhance the protection of members of the public affected by the actions of licensed drivers, operators and vehicle proprietors. The penalty points system would bridge the gap between more serious matters, but help to maintain standards.
A Member of the working group referred to their research, which included consideration of similar policies operating in Leeds and Newcastle, as well as liaising with the Taxi Forum and Licensing colleagues. If the policy was adopted it would offer a further structured forum to deal with matters.
The Service Lead - Environmental Health & Community Safety confirmed that a ten week period of consultation would take place with the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire trade, with a report, including a summary of the responses, to be made to the Licensing Committee in July, before approval at Council.
In response to questions by Members, the Service Lead - Environmental Health & Community Safety explained:-
· the working group had considered the points scale used by a number of local authorities;
· the Licensing Sub-Committee would be able to use the points scheme as a response and action to individuals appearing before them including for minor infringements;
· the points system could be used in conjunction with other existing legislation;
· in respect of item 31 on the schedule there was a guidance on food and drink in the vehicle which also included the driver and in that respect was about maintaining a professional appearance, and in respect of item 59, by way of points the Licensing Sub-Committee allows the opportunity for a driver or operator to appeal;
· a report on a mystery shopping exercise of the taxi experience in the city would be presented to Members in due course;
· in respect of items 9 and 12, the distinction of action in respect of vehicles being used without a valid MOT certificate and a lapsed MOT was made;
· although not prescriptive, items 46 and 47 would capture driving standards;
· contributions, including observations from Members to the consultation, were welcomed; and
· an opportunity to receive feedback on drivers was discussed;
The Legal Advisor highlighted that any individual could be brought before a Licensing Sub-Committee, but that did not preclude other action being taken.
RESOLVED that Licensing Committee:-
(1) approve the draft proposed Penalty Points Policy as contained in Appendix A; and
(2) endorse and authorise that the proposals are put out to public consultation to run from 20 ... view the full minutes text for item 11.