Agenda item

Application for a Grant of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's Licence (Agenda Item 9)

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.


The Committee heard the application in accordance with the Council’s agreed procedure.


The Hearing took place in the presence of the applicant, a Licensing Officer and Mr P Mason, the Council’s Solicitor.


The Chairman made introductions and explained the procedures to the applicant.


The Licensing Officer presented the report which was to determine an application for the grant of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence in accordance with Section 51(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.  (Not section 53(1)(b) as referred to in the report.)


On his signed statutory declaration the applicant had failed to declare one spent and two unspent driving convictions.  The Licensing Officer advised that Hackney Carriage/Private Hire drivers were an exempt occupation under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 meaning that spent convictions could be taken into account.


The Chairman told the applicant that the prime duty of the Committee was to ensure public safety.  They also needed to be assured that he was honest.  She asked why he had not declared his motoring convictions.


The applicant explained that he believed the first two convictions were already spent and did not need to be mentioned.  The third one he knew was still valid but he had forgotten to mention it.


The Chairman asked him why two convictions were so close and he explained that he had been doing three jobs at the same time then.  He had also just moved to Cambridge where there were a lot more speed cameras.  He now took more care in Cambridge and had received no more convictions.


The Chairman advised that he needed to be careful everywhere, not just where there might be speed cameras.  The Committee needed to be sure that passengers would be safe.  She stressed the requirement to report any further convictions within seven days if the licence was granted.  She asked if he understood the importance of doing that and he confirmed that he understood.


A Member asked the applicant if he had ever held a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire drivers licence in Cambridge or anywhere else and the he said no.


The Chairman asked why the application was being made to Breckland when the applicant lived in Cambridge and he explained that his partner lived in Thetford.


Finally a Member asked the applicant to clarify that the reason he had not declared his convictions was because he thought the three year time-spent rule applied and the applicant agreed that that was the case.


Having heard all the evidence the Committee withdrew to consider their options.  The Solicitor explained that the Members would apply the statutory test to the application to determine if they considered that the applicant was a fit and proper person to hold a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence.


After considering the matter the Committee returned.


Following their discussions the Chairman sought clarification on behalf of the Committee that the applicant had never been refused a licence or applied to another Authority.  He confirmed that he had not.


The Solicitor advised the following findings of fact:


  1. Notwithstanding the fact that he had nine points on his licence, the applicant believed his convictions were time spent
  2. The Committee believed that he had not intended to deceive
  3. The Committee was concerned that the applicant should observe all the speed restrictions within the Breckland District.


He further explained that the Licensing Authority had the power, under Section 51(2) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to attach conditions to a Licence that they considered reasonably necessary.




(1)               to grant the licence initially for twelve months only

(2)               at the end of the twelve months to carry out a second enhanced CRB check

(3)               to delegate authority to the Licensing Team to issue the remaining term of the licence, subject to a satisfactory CRB check


The reason for adding the conditions was that the Committee needed to be convinced that the applicant was a fit and proper person to hold a licence.


The Solicitor advised that the applicant had the right to appeal against the conditions under Section 52(2) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. 

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