Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meetings held on 30 November 2015.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2015 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

2.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Hollis and Millbank.

 

3.

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.

 

4.

Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 4)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests that they have, in relation to an agenda item that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

No declarations were made.

 

5.

Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting (Agenda Item 5)

To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor M Chapman-Allen, Executive Member for Public Protection was in attendance.

 

6.

Late Night Refreshment Exemptions under the Licensing Act 2003 (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Report of Executive Manager for Public Protection.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman asked Members to consider whether the Council should allow any exemptions for premises providing food, not alcohol, after 11pm.

 

The Licensing Officer explained that under the current system all such premises were licensed and it gave the Council an element of control as conditions could be applied to the Licence.

 

Councillor Bowes asked why a licence was required at present and whether there was any evidence that there would be an increase in crime and disorder if that requirement was waived.

 

The Licensing Officer advised that the legislation had been in place for ten years and had been brought within the scope of the Licensing Act because of problems attached to certain premises.  Currently there were 24 licences in Breckland for late night refreshment, 22 take-aways and two garages.  Members needed to decide if having a licence was preventing problems.  She noted that there had been no recent reviews of those licences.  The Police view was that they liked the current system.  The Council received £3795 income from the licences but that money only covered the cost of administering the licences and reviewing the premises.

 

Most of the Members were in favour of retaining the requirement for a licence as the system worked well and gave an element of control.


Councillor Bowes felt that it was an opportunity to remove red tape, especially in view of the fact that there was no evidence that crime would increase if the licence was removed.

 

RESOLVED that Breckland Council should continue to require all late night refreshment providers to be licensed.

 

7.

Introduction to Police Licensing Officer (Agenda Item 7)

To receive a verbal update.

 

Minutes:

Chris Brooks, Police Licensing Officer, was introduced to Members.  His role was to work mainly with Licensees and Designated Premises Supervisors giving advice and carrying out general risk assessments and responding to applications on behalf of the Police with particular regard to crime and disorder issues.  The role included carrying out background checks on applicants and making visits to premises.

 

The aim of his role was to promote good practice and reduce harm in line with the four Licensing Objectives.  He liaised with Licensing Officers across the County, monitored crime reports and identified poor management.

 

He tried to avoid applications reaching Committee by early intervention and negotiation.  He worked with Premises and Licence Holders to achieve the required conditions.

 

Councillor W Richmond asked how detailed the background checks on applicants were and he was advised that they were checked on a local basis initially, but detailed, national information could be checked using a system which many police forces were signed up to.

 

The Chairman thanked Mr Brooks for coming to speak to the Committee.

 

Dave Senior then gave Members the PowerPoint presentation given to Taxi Drivers as part of their Safeguarding training. 

 

Members thought it was important to publicise the information about the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), including its telephone number, so that people would know where to report any concerns they might have.  It was suggested that all Members should receive the same presentation and the Chairman said that he would speak to the Chairman of the Member Development Panel and also suggest that more information about MASH was made available to Members.


The Licensing Officer said that there had been positive feedback from most of the Taxi Drivers that had received the Safeguarding training.  There was more work to be done as people involved in the wider night-time economy such as Door Staff and Bar Staff needed to be made aware of Safeguarding issues.

 

Members suggested that licensed premises, wi-fi hot-spots, migrant workers and schools were other areas that would benefit from a similar presentation.

 

A DVD was being made of the training session for new drivers to watch and in future it was hoped that web-based training would be available to other authorities on licence.  That training could include voluntary bus drivers and hotel receptionists amongst others.

 

Councillor Bishop thought it would be useful to know how many Taxi Drivers actually reported concerns. 

 

Councillor Chapman-Allen wondered what percentage of notifications were ‘malicious’ or false accusations.  It was accepted that people might be concerned about the effect that their report might have but it was noted that it normally took more than one report before action was taken.

 

It was clarified that if a serious complaint was received about a taxi driver their licence was suspended immediately pending investigation.  Those powers were only exercised for serious offences and only in conjunction with police information.

 

The Chairman said the most important thing was to make people aware that abuse was happening and to give them information on how  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Licensing Matters (Agenda Item 8)

To receive a verbal update.

Minutes:

The Licensing Officer advised Members that the Immigration Bill was progressing through the House.  It would introduce the requirement for Licensing Authorities to check a Licence applicant’s ‘right to work’.

 

Immigration Enforcement Officers were based in Swaffham for the Eastern Region and they were looking into how to keep track of immigrants.  They would become a Responsible Authority and would have the same powers as a Licensing Officer. 


Councillor Sharpe asked if Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) were checked when they were licensed and the Licensing Officer confirmed that the ‘right to rent’ would also be checked from April 2016.

 

The Chairman said that there would be briefings and training on the new legislation when the details were available and he encouraged Members to attend. 


Councillor Darby asked if a Licence Holder employed a person that did not have the right to work would that be grounds from removing their licence?  Under the new regulations it would.

 

Self-employed taxi drivers were not checked currently but under the new rules Local Authorities would have the power to do that.  Full details were awaited.  One issue that had already been identified was that the new regulations were at odds with the move to on-line applications.  Currently original copies of documents were required to be seen.  In future certified copies would be acceptable but it was unclear how that could be submitted on line.

 

The Chairman asked for the details to be discussed at the next meeting if the information was available.

 

The Licensing Officer advised that there was a national fee survey being undertaken to provide evidence of the cost of administering licences for the LGA to lobby the Home Office.

 

9.

Next Meeting (Agenda item 9)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 15 June at 10:00am in the Norfolk Room, Elizabeth House.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting at 10.00am on 8 June 2016 were noted.