Agenda item

APPLICATION TO SUSPEND/REVOKE A HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS LICENCE (Agenda Item 12)

Report of the Strategic Director – Transformation.

Minutes:

The application was considered in the absence of the appellant. Mr Phil Mason (solicitor) was also in attendance, representing the Council. 

 

Members were asked to consider an application for the suspension/revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence.

 

Following the presentation of the report by the Licensing Technical Officer, the Committee heard the appeal in accordance with the Council’s agreed procedure.

 

The application was made as a result of the failure of the driver to produce the necessary medical certificate which had been requested at the time of his renewal application (and also by verbal reminder).   In spite of several attempts having been made to contact the driver, no response had been received.   A letter had therefore been sent on 6 January 2009 advising that, in the event of no medical certificate being produced, the matter would be brought before this Committee with the charge of ‘non-compliance with licence conditions’. 

 

The Licensing Technical Officer confirmed that since the Agenda for the meeting had issued, the driver had contacted the Council to say that he now resided in Devon.  This in itself was a breach of the basic terms and conditions of the licence as he had failed to notify the Council of his move.   He was advised that he should either return his badge or else formally confirm in writing that he no longer wished to drive licensed vehicles.      

 

No such confirmation had been received, so the Licensing Technical Officer asked the Committee to change the recommendation under consideration from ‘Suspension’ to ‘Revocation’, since this was more appropriate under the new circumstances.

 

There followed some general discussion about medical certificates and how the timing of their receipt fitted with the renewal paperwork for such licenses.  Also, there was some concern as to why this particular case had apparently taken so long to resolve: if the driver had remained a local resident, then presumably he could have continued taking customers under his current licence without having produced full paperwork to the Council. 

 

In response, the Licensing Technical Officer accepted that there had been an error here: the computer system had not worked effectively to draw officers’ attention to anomalies.   However she assured the Committee that steps had been taken to ensure this would not happen again.  Members remained concerned at the delay and felt that applications for renewal of a licence should not be granted without full documentation having been produced.   However, the Licensing Technical Officer pointed out that, practically speaking, this was not always possible.   Criminal Record checks, for example, could take up to two months.   Given that any applications for renewal had legally to be lodged before the expiry date of the licence, there were inevitably occasions when timings did not all coincide.   

 

The Licensing Technical Officer explained that the Council’s policy was that from the age of 65, medical certificates had to be sent in on the anniversary of the driver’s birth, irrespective of when their licence was up for renewal.     Thus if a 64 year old applied for a three year badge he would need to produce a medical certificate at the time of application.  However, from his 65th birthday onwards he would be required to produce an annual medical certificate for the remainder of the duration of his licence. It was acknowledged that there could be drivers who did not meet the full criteria at any stage during their term of licence.  However, the Committee were reminded that it was a condition of the licence that any change of medical (or other – e.g. criminal record, change of address) circumstances should be immediately notified to the Council.

 

RESOLVED that on hearing the evidence, and hearing that the appellant no longer resided or was capable of working in the district of Breckland, the Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence be revoked with immediate effect in accordance with Section 61(1)(b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.