Agenda and minutes

Licensing Committee
Monday, 9th March, 2020 2.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: Adrian Hendry (Democratic Services)  Tel: 01992 564243 Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

13.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Members Code of Conduct.

 

 

14.

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, together with paragraphs (6) and (24) of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution require that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

 

In accordance with Operational Standing Order (6) (non-executive bodies), any item raised by a non-member shall require the support of a member of the Committee concerned and the Chairman of that Committee. Two weeks notice of non-urgent items is required.

Minutes:

No other business had been raised.

 

 

15.

Minutes of the Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 16th October 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 October 2019 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

 

16.

Minutes of the Licensing Sub-Committees

The minutes from the Sub-Committee’s meetings will be available for the relevant Chairmen to sign off.

Minutes:

The minutes of the following meetings of the Licensing Sub-Committee be taken as read and signed by their Chairmen as a correct record:

 

22 October 2019;

05 November 2019;

03 December 2019; and

07 January 2020.

 

 

17.

In Vehicle CCTV in Taxis pdf icon PDF 163 KB

To consider the attached report.

 

Minutes:

The Service Manager (Regulatory), Sally Devine, introduced the report on in vehicle CCTV in Taxis. This was to consider the introduction of CCTV in taxis as a licensing condition, to help address driver vulnerability and safeguarding of passengers. It would also assist in the investigation of complaints and help the Council fulfil its statutory duty to protect public safety and to ensure drivers remain fit and proper to hold a licence.

 

There have also been a number of high-profile safeguarding cases in other areas of the country which had underlined the need for safeguarding issues to be seriously considered within the Council’s hackney carriage/ private hire licensing policy.

 

The introduction of CCTV could have clear benefits for passengers, drivers and the licensing authority. Evidence drawn from complaints made to the Council demonstrates that complaints are not always easily resolved because it is one person’s word against another, and this can sometimes have an unsatisfactory outcome for all parties.

 

It was noted that a Task and Finish Group commissioned by the Minister of State at the Department for Transport in 2018 recommended the mandatory introduction of cameras in licensed vehicles. However, the information Commissioners Office CCTV Code of Practice recognises that an important balance must be made between privacy and proportionality and that a mandatory policy around CCTV systems in taxis would require strong justification and should be kept under regular review.

 

There were also issues about the use of audio recordings and the capturing of private conversations.

 

Officers had started a consultation process with the district’s taxi drivers and would be consulting widely with the Police, Members and members of the public. They would also be gathering statistical evidence and other data to help in their deliberations.

 

Some authorities have allowed taxis to have voluntary CCTV and have added conditions around this.

 

Councillor Sartin noted the report mentioned complaints; what sort of numbers were you talking about. She was told that it averaged about 20 a year. They were nearly always minor, but every now and again there would be a big one where officers would have to work with the Police and carry out exhaustive investigations. Given the number of complaints a year, Councillor Sartin thought that this may just be a little excessive. Officers noted that a crime could not be underestimated but it was also about proportionality. There were advantages to the Taxi Drivers, for their own safeguard, and it also helped with their insurance. A lot would be about costs.

 

Councillor Neville asked which other authorities in Essex were doing this and what was the Government Task and Finish now saying. He was told that Colchester were planning to use an outside company, but it came at a heavy cost and so they were now rethinking this. The cost was £750 per unit (to install the camera) and then £10 a month per vehicle. Asked who paid this, the officer said that the taxi driver would. As for the government response they were still consulting and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Gambling Act 2005: Statement of Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 202 KB

To consider the attached report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Manager, Kim Tuckey, introduced the report on the Gambling Act 2005, statement of Licensing Policy. The Gambling Act 2005 required all licensing authorities to prepare and publish a Statement of the Principles that they proposed to apply in exercising their functions under the Act. This is incorporated into the Epping Forest Council’s Gambling Act 2005: Statement of Licensing Policy.

 

The statement of Licensing Policy was last reviewed in 2016 and a further review was overdue. A review had now been carried out and amendments have been made following latest guidance from the Gambling Commission. Epping Forest District has very few such establishments that would be affected by an update to the policy.

 

A consultation letter or email was sent out to all consultees at the beginning of January 2020 and replies were asked to be returned by 19th February 2020. Responses were attached with the report.

Members asked for some minor amendment to be made to the draft statement but agreed in principal to draft Gambling Act (2005), Statement of Licensing Policy.

 

RESOLVED:

That the revised Gambling Act 2005: Statement of Licensing policy be approved.

 

 

19.

Review of Licensing Sub-Committee Procedures

To review the proceedings of the Licensing Sub-Committee held during the preceding period and consider any issues of procedure, policy or organisation that have adversely affected the operation or management of meetings.

Minutes:

Members wished to know where the Licensing Sub-Committee meetings were to be held between June and December 2020 while building work was being undertaken at the Civic Offices. They were told that meeting would be held at Debden Park Community Hall, Willingale Road, Loughton, IG10 2BQ.

 

 

20.

Review of Current and Future Training Needs for the Committee

To highlight any further training considered necessary for the members tasked with discharging the Council’s Licensing function.

Minutes:

The meeting noted that James Button would be holding a one day training session at North Weald Airfield on 10th June 2020 from 9.30 to 4.00pm.

 

 

21.

Matters Arising

To consider any further matters arising in respect of the Council’s Licensing function, not covered elsewhere on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no matters arising.

 

 

22.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Licensing Committee has been scheduled for 14 October 2020 at 2.30pm in the Council Chamber.

Minutes:

The Committee noted the date for their next meeting, 14 October 2020 at the Debden Park Community Centre starting at 2.30pm.