Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

6.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2012.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2012 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

7.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mrs S Armes, Mr S Green and Mr N Wilkin.

8.

Urgent Business (Agenda Item 3)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act, 1972.

Minutes:

None.

9.

Declaration of Interest (Agenda Item 4)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.

The Members’ Code of Conduct introduced on 31 January 2002 requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.

Minutes:

It was noted that the Council had adopted a new Code of Conduct under the Localism Act, since the publication of the agenda.

 

No declarations were made.

10.

Licensing Authority as Responsible Authority (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Report of the Environmental Health & Building Control Manager.

Minutes:

The Licensing Officer presented the report.  Under the Police and Social Responsibility Act 2011 which had come into effect on 25 April 2012, the Council was now a Responsible Authority able to make representations in relation to applications for grant, variation or review of premises licences and/or club certificates.

 

The role of Responsible Authority needed to be separated from the role of Licensing Officer to avoid any conflict of interest.  Therefore the Committee was requested to delegate that function to the three shared management posts of Licensing & Business Support Manager, Food, Health & Safety Manager and Environmental Protection Manager.  Delegation to all three would ensure cover for absence, etc.

 

The Vice-Chairman asked how pro-active the Council would be in collating evidence in case a review was required.

 

There would be a meeting on 15 August with the Police to discuss the possibility of a new database to be shared by all the Responsible Authorities.  Currently there was no access to other databases due to data protection restrictions.  Information was shared as and when problems occurred.

 

The Vice-Chairman explained that she had been suggesting an event log to be used if a review was needed.  She was advised that reviews only took place as a last resort after all other avenues had been explored and during that process enough evidence would be collected to support a representation.

 

RESOLVED to:

 

(1)   delegate the Responsible Authority function to the three shared management posts of:

 

(a)               Licensing & Business Support Manger

(b)               Food, Health & Safety Manager; and

(c)               Environmental Protection Manager

 

(2)   support the proposal to examine each application or problem premises on a case by case basis in conjunction with other Responsible Authorities if appropriate, taking into account the requirement to promote the licensing objectives and to have regard to the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and the Guidance under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003.

11.

Update on Implementation of the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Report of the Environmental Health & Building Control Manager.

Minutes:

The Licensing & Business Support Manager updated Members on the Police and Social Responsibility Act which had come into effect on 25 April 2012 at which time amended Guidance had also been issued.

 

The implications of the Act had been discussed at the meeting on 25 January 2012.  The aim of the Act was to change the balance of the Licensing Act to enable Licensing Authorities to be more pro-active and empowered to make decisions regarding licensing applications.  There were 14 key areas within the legislation, some of which would not be implemented until October 2012.

 

The 14 key areas were considered in turn:

 

Applicants to give greater consideration to Local Area – This included a requirement to have regard to neighbourhood crime records, etc.  Applicants would need to be made aware of those considerations.

 

Making Health Bodies Responsible Authorities – It was noted that Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) were to be replaced by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) from March 2013.  Health representations were expected to address the effect irresponsible selling and consumption of alcohol had on the NHS service.

 

A Member asked if there was any way to control cheap alcohol sales and was advised that there were already mandatory conditions concerning irresponsible drinks promotions in the legislation.

 

Making relevant Licensing Authorities Responsible Authorities – This change had been discussed under the previous Agenda item.

 

Concern was expressed about applicants having to provide more copies of their application for distribution to the additional Responsible Authorities.  However, the trend was for electronic applications which moved the onus of distribution onto the Local Authority.

 

Persistent sales of alcohol to Children – This increased Police powers to seek voluntary closure from 48 hours to two weeks and the maximum fine for underage sales to £20,000. 

 

A Member asked if door staff were mandatory and was advised that that was not a blanket requirement but could be a condition of the licence if requested by the police.

 

In response to a question about proof of identity it was noted that a Landlord could demand photo ID in the form of a driving licence or passport.  However, it was acknowledged that fake IDs were a problem and the police gave guidance on the sort of things being used.

 

It was further noted that there was no age limit on persons selling alcohol in a licensed premises as long as they had been ‘authorised’ to do so by the licence holder.

 

Suspending Licences due to non-payment of Fees – Previously if the renewal fee for a licence had not been paid the Council could not stop sales.  Under the new Act, following a warning letter, the Licence to sell alcohol could be suspended.

 

The fees for Licensing were set by the Government and were meant to cover the cost of running the department.  Under the old system, the additional administration and debt recovery costs chasing unpaid renewals could amount to more than the fee.

 

Members asked if it would be possible to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

The Government's Alcohol Strategy (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Report of the Environmental Health & Building Control Manager.

Minutes:

The Licensing & Business Support Manager presented an overview of the Government’s alcohol strategy.

 

Alcohol was associated with one million crimes and one point two million hospital admissions and was therefore a significant cost to society.  The Government was looking at implementing a minimum unit cost of 40p for alcohol and were being lobbied to increase that to 50p, in line with Scottish Government proposals.

 

A Member said that responsible drinkers were suffering because of irresponsible drinkers.  He suggested that changes in legislation had made alcohol too easily available to young people.

 

Other Members did not support his views, but all agreed that something had to be done.

 

The report was noted.

13.

Future Items and Training Issues

Minutes:

The Licensing Officer updated Members on the Gambling Act, Statement of Principles which was published every three years.  Consultation had commenced with the Responsible Authorities (which were slightly different from the Licensing Act Responsible Authorities) and Permit / Licence holders and Interested Parties.

 

The Consultation would end on 30 September.  A link to the draft document was on the website.  It was similar to the previous Statement of Principles as it had not been necessary to change much.  

 

A report would be presented to the next Committee after the consultation had closed.

 

Mrs Spencer then commented on the e-mail Members had received inviting them to attend Licensing training at South Holland Council offices.  She did not consider that it was appropriate for Breckland Members to have to travel so far for training particularly at a time when the Council was trying to cut costs.

 

Mr Bambridge explained that when he had been appointed Chairman he had been keen to receive training.  He had been invited to attend the South Holland training session which was already booked and had vacancies.  He had extended that invitation to other Members as the training was free of charge.  He had attended with a couple of other Members and they had found it useful and also interesting to see how another Licensing Committee worked.

 

With regard to training he advised that as legislation was changing, Members would be required to attend further training if they wished to sit on Licensing Sub-Committees.  He encouraged all who could possibly attend to do so. 

 

In future, any shared training opportunities with South Holland would take place at a venue between the two authorities, to reduce travel time and costs.

 

Mr Sharpe asked if it would be possible to invite the Police, Trading Standards and other agencies to give presentations so that Members could understand their problems.

 

It was agreed that some training should be offered in short bursts, following formal committee meetings and Officers were requested to arrange that for the next two or three meetings.