Agenda and minutes

Venue: Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

45.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2009.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2009 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

46.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Mr P. Francis.

 

47.

Exclusion of the Press and Public (Agenda Item 7)

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

“That under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they are likely to involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.”

 

PART B –

ITEMS FROM WHICH THE PRESS AND PUBLIC HAVE BEEN EXCLUDED

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

 

 

48.

Application for the Grant of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers Licence (Agenda Item 8)

Report of the Director for Community Services.

Minutes:

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of the applicant and his employer. 

Mr Phil Mason was also in attendance as the Council’s solicitor.

 

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

 

The Principal Officer Licensing and Business (POLB) presented the report, which was to determine an application for the grant of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence.  

 

Having outlined the details of the case, which concerned the failure of the applicant to declare two separate convictions, the POLB explained that when the applicant had submitted his DVLA licence, three convictions were listed.  However, as the licence was torn and could not be read in some places, the Licensing Officer had requested that the applicant obtain and submit a replacement licence.   When this had been presented it was found to include a fourth conviction for “totting up”, which had resulted in a six month disqualification.  

 

In addition, the enhanced Criminal Record Bureau check had revealed another conviction which was not considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.  

 

As neither of these convictions had been declared on the statutory declaration form which was submitted as part of the application process, two false declarations had been received. 

 

In response to a question, the POLB explained that the “totting up” offence would have been the result of an accumulation of points.

 

Having confirmed that he had received copies of all relevant papers and that he had no matters pending, the applicant explained that with regard to the “totting up” offence, he had not been aware of this until 3-4 months’ ago.   He had no idea that he had been disqualified from driving.  He said that he had received no correspondence alerting him about this, nor had he been called to attend a Hearing or receive a fine.    This conviction had therefore not been declared on his initial application form as he had been unaware of it.  In fact, because he did not know about the ban, he was still driving at that stage.

 

It was agreed in general discussion that this seemed a rather bizarre situation.  However, the Chairman reminded the applicant that for the purposes of this Hearing there was a need for him to satisfy the Committee that he was a “fit and proper” person as defined under the Town Police Clauses Act and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) act 1976. 

 

The applicant, by way of background to this case, said that he had been out of work for about 18 months due to ill health.  However, prior to this he had worked for a large transport company (for about six years).   As was apparently the norm with such companies, any paperwork concerning fines etc, would initially be dealt with in the office.   The company was then supposed to pass relevant documentation to individual drivers.  However, as he had been completely unaware of having been disqualified, he could only assume that the paperwork had not been passed down to him at the time. 

 

It was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

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

Report of the Director for Community Services.

Minutes:

The Hearing took place in the presence of the applicant.  Mr Phil Mason was also in attendance as the Council’s solicitor.

 

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

 

Having ascertained that the applicant had received all relevant documentation and that he had no matters pending, the POLB presented the Report, which was to determine an application for the renewal of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licence.

 

She explained the background to the case, drawing Members’ attention to Condition 10 of the conditions attached to a Breckland Council Driver’s Licence.  This required drivers to notify the Council in writing of any conviction, caution or driving offence imposed on them “within seven days of the conviction”. 

 

The applicant had failed to do this on two occasions.  It was only when the renewal application forms had been issued that he had contacted the Licensing team.   The report stated that when this requirement had been specifically drawn to the applicant’s attention he had replied that he had been aware of it, but “couldn’t be bothered”. 

 

The POLB drew the Committee’s attention to an error at para 3.1.6 of the report, where, on the final line of the main body of text, the word “driver” should replace “vehicle”.

 

The applicant confirmed that he had been aware of the relevant rules and regulations.  Whilst admitting that he had no real excuse for not reporting the convictions as requested, he felt that the current economic situation (and related pressures of running a business), meant that he felt there were mitigating circumstances.  This had been an oversight, partly down to short-term memory loss due to pressure of work.  He was the Financial Director of a company which employed 15 staff.   He also was a part-time driver for the company.   Both offences had occurred in private vehicles, and not whilst he was on company business. 

 

Procedures had since been put into place to help ensure that such omissions would not occur again.   All drivers undertook an annual assessment by an independent driving instructor.  He had also voluntarily taken an advanced driving test, in February 2010, during which he had received only one minor mark against him.  

 

He refuted actually saying that he “couldn’t be bothered”.  He also apologised for what had been a “systematic failure on his part”.   He had not intended to be dishonest, and apologised to the Committee, adding that he had not intended to deceive Breckland District Council as the Licensing Authority. 

 

The Chairman said that he found the applicant’s statement to be somewhat confusing: he knew that he had made the omission, but had not intended to deceive.  He asked the applicant to explain further. 

 

The applicant said that he had not chosen to declare: it had been an oversight.

 

The Chairman clarified: the applicant had therefore known that he should have kept members of the Licensing Team aware of the situation, but he had not done so.  He asked why?

 

The applicant said that he had an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.