Venue: The Council Chamber - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR. View directions
Contact: Jeremy Livitt
Councillor Guy Poultney welcomed everyone to the meeting and drew attention to the safety information.
Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest
The Committee is requested to declare any interests in items being discussed on the agenda.
There were no Declarations of Interest.
To confirm the minutes on 21st September 2021 as a correct record for signing by the Chair.
RESOLVED – that the minutes of the above meeting are confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item
Any member of the public or Councillor may participate in Public Forum. The detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at the back of this agenda. Public Forum items should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:-
Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the meeting. For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by 5pm on Wednesday 10th November 2021.
Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting. For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12 Noon on Monday 15th November 2021.
Please note, your time allocated to speak may have to be strictly limited if there are a lot of submissions. This may be as short as one minute
There were no Public Forum items.
Suspension of Committee Procedure Rules CMR10 and CMR11 Relating to the Moving of Motions and Rules of Debate
Recommended – that having regard to the quasi-judicial nature of the business
on the Agenda, those Committee Procedure Rules relating to the moving of
motions and the rules of debate (CMR10 and 11) be suspended for the duration
of the meeting.
RESOLVED – that Committee procedure rules CMR10 and CMR11 be suspended relating to the moving of motions and ruls of debate.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
Recommended – that under Section 11A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972
the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the ground that involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1of Schedule 12A to the Act, as amended.
RESOLVED – that the press and public be excluded from the following items of business to allow consideration of items containing exempt information under Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of the Local Government Act 1972.
AG - Report To Determine Whether Action Should Be Taken Against The Holder Of A Hackney Carriage Driver Licence And Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence.
The Committee considered a report to determine whether action should be taken against the holder of a hackney carriage driver licence and hackney carriage vehicle.
Wayne Jones (Neighbourhood Enforcement Team) and PC Qunition were in attendance, as well as AG and his representative.
Wayne Jones presented this report and made the following comments:
• AG’s current licence was due to expire on 14th July 2022
• Following an incident on 4th June 2021, PC Quinton had notified the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team on 27th August 2021 that AG had been observed using a hand held device while driving his vehicle. AG received a fine and 6 points on his licence. It was noted that this case would shortly be heard in court. AG had not notified licensing authorities of this incident as required
• It was also noted that there were several other endorsements on his licence between 2017 and 2029 relating to exceeding the statutory speed limit including exceeding the speed limit on the motorway
• In addition, between 2000 and 2020, AG had received a large number of other offences including a caution for failing to use a metre to record a journey and a failure to show a true fare on a taximeter, as well as allegations of using a mobile phone whilst driving, speeding, driving unprofessionally, overcharging and incorrectly displaying plates.
• Officers believed that AG was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence and that therefore his licence should be revoked
PC Quinton advised the Sub-Committee that there were further allegations of AG driving whilst using a mobile phone. Whilst AG had stated that the reason for the call was due to a phone call that he had received from the hospital, this had not been an emergency.
AG’s Representative stated that AG requested leniency from the Sub-Committee on the grounds that he needed to retain his job as a Hackney Carriage Driver to pay his son’s university fees and was unable to carry out any other work.
In response to Councillors’ questions, the following was noted:
• AG would receive a suspension between 12 and 18 months. In accordance with Council policy, the total punishment was likely to be at least 5 years off the road
• An emergency was classified as a 999 call or an urgent incoming call which did not apply in this case. It was noted that the phone wall was a standard medical check up from the hospital to AG concerning his kidney which had recently been removed
• The panel were unable to take into account any financial hardship that AG might face
In response to a question from the Licensing Adviser, AG indicated that he might have used a mobile phone whilst driving on other occasions before the recent policy change.
The Sub-Committee then asked all parties to withdraw to allow thenm to consider thie decision.
Upon their return, Councillor Poultney advised them of their decision as follows
RESOLVED (unanimously) – that the Sub-Committee determined ... view the full minutes text for item 34.
KM - Application for the Renewal of a Private Hire Vehicle Licence Seeking Departure From Bristol City Council Policy
The Sub-Committee considered an application for the renewal of a Private Hire Driver Licence seeking departure from Bristol City Council policy.
The applicant (KM) and Dakota Ferrara, Senior Licensing Officer, attended for this item.
Dakota Ferrara presented the report and made the following points:
· KM’s licence had expired on 31st October 2021
· During 9 initial inspections carried out since the last grant of the licence on 30th March 2015, 7 of these had failed
· KM was requesting that his Private Hire Driver Licence was extended. Officers recommended that this was refused
Upon being questioned, KM made the following points:
· During the period of the COVID pandemic and in particular during 4 months when I was suffering from COVID, he was unable to work and had suffered financial hardship. In addition, he had to continue to pay insurance and other costs
· Therefore, due to a lack of savings, he was unable to upgrade his vehicle from a diesel vehicle to a petrol or petrol hybrid vehicle as required under the Council’s new policy
· If the licence was temporarily extended by 6 months, this would enable him to obtain the savings to do this
· Since the vehicle has aged less during lockdown
The Sub-Committee noted the vehicle has carried out approximately 220,000 miles which was equivalent to other vehicles of its age.
KM and Dakota Ferrara were asked to leave while the Sub-Committee made its deliberations.
Upon their return, the following decision was announced.
RESOLVED (unanimously) – that he Sub-Committee determined to refuse the application to renew the Private Hire Vehicle Licence seeking departure from council policy on the grounds contained in section 60(1)(a) and 60(1)(c) of the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976) namely that the vehicle is unfit for use as a private hire vehicle and any other reasonable cause. The Sub-Committee is not satisfied that the vehicle is suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire vehicle in accordance with section 48 of the Act.
The vehicle does not confirm with Council policy in two respects; its age (now over 10 years old) and it is fitted with a diesel engine. The Sub-Committee has heard no evidence to satisfy it that the vehicle should be treated as an exception from the policy without undermining it or the reasons that underlie the policy. The Sub-Committee is also concerned with the mileage and the MOT failures with major defects over the last 5 years and as such it cannot justify departure from policy.
The personal (including financial) circumstances of the applicant are an irrelevant consideration in determining this application.
WA - Application for the Grant of a Private Hire Driver Licence
The Sub-Committee considered an application seeking departure from Council policy in respect of a Private Hire Driver (PHD) Licence.
The applicant (WA) and Graham Lange, Licensing Officer were in attendance for this item.
Graham Lange presented the report and made the following comments:
· WA had applied for a licence on 10th May 2021 requesting an exemption from the Private Hire Driver knowledge test
· Council policy since July 2021 required that the test was passed to enable a PHD licence holder to demonstrate a sufficient level of communication skills
· If WA was granted an exemption, he would still be required to pass the gold standard and other knowledge tests
WA stated the following:
· I have held a Private Hire Driver Licence with South Gloucestershire Council for 4 years
· I get my work through a chauffeur hire company and I am usually hired for a whole day to drive delegates around particular locations.
· Due to the pandemic, work has been significantly reduced.
· The company I work for has decided to get Bristol City Council plates as work is increasingly focused in this area. This significantly limits the amount of work I can now do since I can only drive certain cars
· Due to the chauffeur work I carry out, I will never need to know the locations of many street names, hospitals and schools as I pick clients up and drop them off from specific locations.
· I have passed the gold standard and other knowledge tests. The Private Hire Knowledge Test is the only test I haven’t yet taken
The Licensing Adviser confirmed that, if the licence was granted, it could be done so with a condition stating that it could only be used for chauffeur type activity.
The Sub-Committee then asked WA and Graham Lange to withdraw from the meeting and made its deliberations.
Upon their return, the following decision was announced.
RESOLVED (unanimously) that the application for a Private Hire Driver Licence is granted with an exemption from knowledge test due to the nature of the work which the Sub-Committee is satisfied provides justification to depart from policy. Condition to only work for the specified operator.
FA - Application for the Grant of a Private Hire Driver Vehicle Licence Seeking Departure From Bristol City Council Policy
Councillor Guy Poultney left the meeting at this point and was replaced by Councillor Jonathon Hucker.
The Committee considered an application for a Private Hire Driver (PHD) licence seeking a departure from Bristol City Council policy.
Dakota Ferrara attended for this agenda item, together with the applicant (FA), her husband MA and a friend accompanying them.
Dakota Ferrara introduced this report and made the following comments:
· The applicant had first registered this vehicle which was fitted with a diesel engine on 29th July 2020 and had applied for a licence on 20th September 2021
· Since the Council’s new policy from July 2021 required that all vehicles were fitted with either a petrol or petrol hybrid engine, the Sub-Committee was recommended to refuse this application
The friend of FA and MA made the following points, supported by MA as required:
· MA had contacted Licensing and had asked what information was required to obtain a PHD licence. At this point, it had not been made clear that their vehicle would need to be converted
· MA needed to use a 6 seater care to enable him to take children on school runs as part of his job.
· On the basis of the information given to him by Licensing and since a 6 seater vehicle was required, MA borrowed some money to purchase a 6 seater vehicle.
· Since Licensing had advised that financial hardship was not something that could be taken into account, MA had changed ownership to his wife so she could provide the necessary finance
· A lot of money had already been spent on this care which had now been off road for 2 months
· MA referred to a particular e-mail which had not clarified that they would require a petrol/petrol hybrid. It had only required submission of my wife’s name and the requisite fee
· Due to his financial circumstance, MA was unable to afford any further car
· MA was aware of other PHD vehicles which were 7 or 8 seater and which were diesel vehicles
Dakota Ferrara made the following comments:
· Some exceptions to policy had been made in respect of 7/8 seater vehicles since these were all diesel powered but none for 6 seater vehicles which were more common and cheaper
· Whilst confirmation that a specific vehicle complied with policy could never be made until an application was submitted, an e-mail in August 2021 had explained the policy clearly.
The Sub-Committee asked Dakota Ferrara, together with FA, MA and their friend, to withdraw from the meeting to enable them to deliberate on this application.
Upon their return, the following decision was announced:
RESOLVED (unanimously) – that The Sub-Committee determined to refuse the application for the grant of a Private Hire Vehicle Licence seeking departure from council policy on as the Sub-Committee is not satisfied that the vehicle is suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire vehicle in accordance with section 48 of the Act.
The Council’s latest policy (July 2021) and the policy ... view the full minutes text for item 37.
AA - Application for the Grant of a Private Hire Driver Licence
The Committee considered an application for the grant of a Private Hire Driver (PHD) licence seeking a departure from Council policy.
Dakota Ferrara, Senior Licensing Officer, attended for this application together with AA (applicant) and two representatives from Allen Hall Solicitors.
Dakota Ferrara introduced this report and made the following points:
· AA had made an application for the renewal of his licence on 17th September 2021 which was due to expire on 21st September 2021
· Following a complaint received by the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team on 20th September 2021, the following previous police investigations were noted – investigation of an allegation of rape made on 4th January 2017 and two separate offences on 5th and 10th February 2021 concerning failure to identify the driver of a vehicle and exceeding the statutory speed limit on a public road
· On making the application, AA had signed to confirm that he was not being investigated for any offence by the Police
· Officers recommended that the application should be refused
The representative from Allen Hall Solicitors made the following points:
· AA had never been arrested for any offence. He had attended a voluntary interview following an allegation of rape which had been made maliciously against him.
· AA has 24 years’ experience as a taxi driver including 7 years as a Private Hire Driver
· During the incident in question in 2017, AA had consensual sexual intercourse with a passenger
· A female passenger sat in the front of the vehicle despite being requested not to and had made sexually suggestive remarks to him
· AA has since realised how inappropriate his behaviour was and has made a lot of changes to his private life and to how he conducts himself and as a driver
· AA now does not generally work at night time to avoid such situations. His work now involves much more home to school transport work dropping off children at school, some of whom have autism
· There have been no further incidents like this since 2017. This was a momentary lapse in judgement
· AA provided a number of character references from his sister explaining that he is a kind and dedicated father and from his employer explaining that he is competent and professional
· AA has indicated that he will obtain CCTV for his vehicle and will shortly be attending a safeguarding course for taxi drivers
· He didn’t disclose his voluntary attendance at the police’s request concerning the rape allegation as he was subject of a malicious accusation. The detective advised him that the matter was resolved and that all the information about the incident on the system would be removed. As it could be interpreted that he had been arrested, he was reluctant to disclose this. He now understands that full disclosure would be required of him in future.
· In relation to the speeding offences, AA had paid the full amount. He was not working at the time of the offences and the offences were not very severe (27 mph ... view the full minutes text for item 38.
Date of Next Meeting
It was noted that the next meeting was scheduled to be held at 10am on Tuesday 18th January 2022.