Venue: Barum Room - Brynsworthy. View directions
Contact: Corporate and Community Services 01271 388253
Note: This is a reconvening of the meeting that was adjourned 12 October 2021 - the previouly published agenda remains the same
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bulled, Campbell, Chesters, Hunt, Orange and Yabsley.
Declarations of Interests
No declarations of interest were made.
Taxi Business request for assistance/relief
Public Protection Manager to report.
The Chair apologised that the invite to the press and taxi representative had not been sent and that this item would be included on a future agenda of the Licensing and Community Safety Committee to allow them to attend. Ahead of that, the item would be discussed at this meeting to allow Members to ask questions of the Public Protection Manager who would bring a report back to committee with the answers.
The Public Protection Manager read out the letter (circulated previously), and gave members responses to the points raised in the letter as follows:
· In relation to members of the public loitering waiting for a taxi the Police had no concerns and this hadn’t been reported to them as an issue.
· In relation to the drop of numbers of Drivers entering the trade the statistics did show numbers had declined since 2011. The number of new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire applications made for 2011 were 33, in 2017 it was 31, in 2018 it was 32, in 2019 it was 27, in 2020 it was 21 and in the year 2021 to date 20 applications to enter the trade had been made, so there was evidence of a decrease in numbers. The reduction in numbers recently could be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic.
· In relation to the application process, being cited as lengthy, the Council’s policy required a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. A group 2 medical examination, a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Hackney Carriage and Private Hire assessment test, an internal competency test which included numeracy and geographical knowledge questions etc. and completion of a BTEC Level 2 Certificate in The Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver.
· In relation to the medical examinations the Public Protection Manager advised that this had been a problem for new applicants with the delay or refusal at GP surgeries to perform this type of medical due to concerns over Covid-19, therefore, a solution had been found whereby a private company in Exeter now largely carried out the group 2 medical examinations.
· In relation to dropping the fees this could theoretically be undertaken but that the fee was set locally and were in line with the cost to the authority to issue them and monies would have to be found from elsewhere to offset loss of income.
· Temporary licences could be issued but the Public Protection Manager highlighted a risk whereby conditions could not be attached to hackney carriage driver’s licences, solely a private hire driver’s licence. She explained the dual licence system currently utilised in terms of conditionality.
· In relation to help with promoting the need for taxi drivers the Public Protection Manager advised she could speak to the Communications team to discuss what could be provided on the Council’s social media platforms in terms of advertising.
In conclusion the Public Protection Manager advised that there was no straightforward solution to the points raised in the letter and ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
Gambling Statement of Principles
Report by Public Protection Manger (circulated previously with the agenda for the meeting on 12 October 2021)
The Committee considered a report by the Public Protection Manager (circulated previously) regarding the Gambling Statement of Principles.
The Public Protection Manager advised that the low number of responses had been a cause for concern but after having attended a Gambling Commission meeting of seaside authorities and speaking to delegates she was reassured that the response rate was normally low and, therefore, not unusual. The responses received had been provided at Appendix A. One comment made about the risk of compliance assessments being inconsistent and thus it was reassuring that the policy had already made provision for a new insertion around the expectations of compliance inspections. Paragraph 4.13 of the agenda report also detailed a proposed amendment to the draft Statement of Principles around premises location and this could be seen in the revised policy document at Appendix B.
RESOLVED, that the feedback from the consultation exercise be noted.
RECOMMENDED, that Strategy and Resources Committee approve the revised Gambling Statement of Licensing Principles policy at its November 2021 meeting and that it recommend the adoption of the policy to full council.