Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a confidential report by the Head of Planning and Public Protection (copy enclosed) seeking members’ determination of an application from Applicant No. 516098.



RESOLVED that the application for a hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver’s licence from Applicant No. 516098 be refused.


[Councillor Barry Mellor declared a personal and prejudicial interest in this item because the applicant was known to him and he left the meeting during consideration of the application.]


A confidential report by the Head of Planning and Public Protection (previously circulated) was submitted upon –


(i)            an application having been received from Applicant No. 516098 for a licence to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicles;


(ii)          the Applicant having been previously licensed by the authority and brought before the Licensing Committee on three separate occasions in January 2010, March 2011 and March 2016 resulting in formal warnings on the first two occasions and revocation of his licence on the final occasion;


(iii)         referred to the Council’s policy with regard to the relevance of convictions, and


(iv)         the Applicant having been invited to the meeting in support of his application and to answer members’ questions thereon.


The Applicant was accompanied by his union representative and confirmed he had received the report and committee procedures.


The Enforcement Officer (HB) introduced the report and facts of the case.


The Applicant’s representative provided some background information relating to the Applicant’s previous history as a licensed driver, highlighting that the council had failed to provide the appropriate formal training as directed by the committee in March 2011 and referred to the subsequent impact and circumstances of the case in 2016 leading to revocation of the Applicant’s licence to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.  Previous complaints had been made whilst the Applicant had been undertaking school contract work but there had been no issue when carrying out general mainstream taxi licensing work.  Consequently the Applicant submitted that if he was granted a licence he would not undertake school transport work.  A reference from the Applicant’s current employer was read out at the meeting highlighting a number of qualities and recommending him for employment.


Members took the opportunity to question the Applicant in order to ascertain whether or not they considered him a fit and proper person to hold a licence.  The Applicant clarified that, if a licence was granted, he would not undertake any school contact work but would transport children in the usual course of taxi driving, i.e. pick-ups from the street/rank or pre-booked work.  He had grandchildren himself so was aware of their behaviours and submitted that it would be fine provided children were accompanied by an adult to keep them under control and ensure they did not interfere with his driving.  He acknowledged that he may be faced with challenging behaviour from youngsters late at night and advised that he would be able to cope having transported children previously with no problems.  With regard to training the Applicant confirmed that he had not received training on carrying special needs children but had received the mandatory Child Sexual Exploitation awareness training recently introduced as part of the Council’s application process.


During further questioning of the Applicant and officers it was established that –


·         the committee in March 2011 had imposed a condition which required the Applicant to undertake appropriate formal training in respect of carrying special needs children within 28 days.  However, it had not been clarified who was responsible for providing that training and whilst some driver training had been organised by the School Transport Section it had not specifically involved carrying special needs children.  The Applicant’s representative argued that the onus had been on the council to facilitate that training provision.  It was noted that whilst provision of such training may have been limited in 2011 there was now a plethora of training organisations who would be able to offer that type of training and the Applicant indicated he would be willing to undertake such training as required

·         if a licence was granted it would qualify the Applicant to transport children and any other person, vulnerable or otherwise, at any time, in a licensed vehicle.


The Applicant’s representative made a final statement reiterating that previous complaints related solely to when the Applicant had undertaken school transport work and not in any other capacity and had been a civil matter with no police involvement.  Whilst the Applicant would have the opportunity to pick-up and transport children when working as a licensed driver, no parent should allow children to travel alone with a driver not known to them until they were of a particular age.


The committee adjourned to consider the application and it was –


RESOLVED that the application for a hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver’s licence from Applicant No. 516098 be refused.


The reasons for the Licensing Committee’s decision were as follows –


The Committee found that the Applicant had failed to demonstrate he was a fit and proper person to hold a hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licence, specifically –


·         the Applicant failed to show an appreciation for the office of taxi driver or acknowledge that this was a position of trust placed in him by the local authority

·         the Applicant acknowledged previous complaints made against him when carrying out his duties as a taxi driver in relation to school contract work and had provided no evidence or assurance against future complaints in terms of his conduct in that regard, instead he advised that he would not undertake any school contracts which failed to give the Committee any confidence in his abilities or behaviour

·         by voluntarily excluding himself from school contract work the Applicant also failed to demonstrate that he had the trust and confidence in himself to undertake the duties required of a licensed driver

·         despite being aware from his previous history that training in carrying special needs children would assist him, notwithstanding that the local authority did not provide training, he had failed to undertake any training of his own volition which may have assisted him or given confidence to the local authority with regard to his competencies and behaviour

·         despite the fact that the Applicant had indicated he would not undertake school contract work, granting a licence would place him in a position of trust and qualify him to transport children and vulnerable adults, and this was given great emphasis by the Licensing Committee

·         in response to questions of the Committee the Applicant advised that he would only carry children if an adult was there to supervise so that he could concentrate on his driving.  The Committee felt that such a response showed that he had no appreciation of the realities of driving a taxi with children who may be unaccompanied (e.g. 14 year old going to a party).  The Committee had to have confidence in the Applicant if such a situation arose.  The Applicant failed to provide any assurances to the Committee and as such they did not have the confidence in him when he may be in a situation of carrying children and vulnerable adults

·         in terms of the Applicant’s past history and behaviours no evidence was presented to the Committee to persuade them that he would act any differently in the future

·         there was a lack of remorse shown for past events and the Applicant had failed to acknowledge or demonstrate any understanding or learning from them

·         the Applicant had only brought one reference in support of his application, from his current employer, however it was noted that his current position would not involve the carrying of other passengers mainly the delivery of food


Given that the overriding consideration of the Committee was one of public safety, and taking into account the Applicant’s past behaviour, his submissions and responses to questions, he failed to demonstrate to the Committee that he was a fit and proper person to hold a licence to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.  Consequently the Committee resolved to refuse the application.


The committee’s decision and reasons therefore were conveyed to the Applicant together with the right of appeal against the decision to the Magistrates Court within 21 days.


At this juncture (11.05 a.m.) the meeting adjourned for a refreshment break.


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