Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing Committee - Wednesday, 29th June, 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding

Contact: Democratic Services  01775 764838

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 15 July 2021 (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2021.

 

AGREED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting be signed as a correct record.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest to the meeting and leave the room without participating in any discussion or making a statement on the item, except where a Councillor is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of dispensation.

Minutes:

There were none.

 

3.

Charitable House to House Collections Policy pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Consideration of a Draft Charitable House to House Collections Policy (report of the Head of Public Protection enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Public Protection Manager introduced the Charitable House to House Collections Policy and the Charitable Streets Collection Policy:

  • The Charitable House to House Collection Policy included door to door and clothing collections and was based on the requirements of the House-to-House Collections Act 1939.
  • The Street Collections Policy was based on the Police, Factories, etc (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916.
  • There was no statutory requirement to have a policy but without one in place there could be inconsistency in the way collections within the district were managed.
  • There was also a need for more clarity around the application process and expectations of charity collection organisers, such as information around percentage returns and security checks.
  • There was no transparency for decisions without the policies in place.
  • The policies aimed to protect the rights of charities to raise funds and balanced this with protection of residents in the district from the pressure of too many collections at one time.
  • The policies presented were the first draft and officers were seeking the agreement of the Committee to put the policies out for consultation to different stakeholders, e.g., Charities, Policy Development Panel and residents via publication of the policy on the website.
  • The draft policies were based on tried and tested policies at East Lindsey District Council.
  • The policies were not controversial but aimed to put protections in place for all parties around granting a collection permit.
  • The scheme of delegation within the policy detailed the reasons as to why the grant/refusal of a permit would be subject to a Panel decision.
  • The proposed consultation would take place over the summer and the final policies would be brought back to the Committee in the autumn for approval.

 

Members raised the following points:

 

  • Did charities have to apply for a permit annually or for every collection?
    • Officers confirmed that charities had to apply for specific timings and areas, but some national charities would give a broad range of dates and that would be over a number of weeks. It was important to remember that it was a permit that was issued for collections rather than a licence.
  • There wasn’t anything in the House-to-House policy that stated collectors had to have an ID badge.
    • Officers responded to say that the Home Office Stationary Office provided collectors with an ID badge.
    • It was a challenge to monitor what happened on the ground once the permit had been granted.
  • Members felt that ID should be checked as the public could be at risk.
    • Officers confirmed that the legislation required collectors to have ID, but they could consider adding this requirement into the wording of the policy.
    • If complaints were received about bag collections, residents were advised to check if the bag came from a registered charity.
    • Officers were working on providing a public register of collections on the website to enable residents to check what collections were taking place in their area.
  • As there was a National Exemption Order in place for larger national charities, did they have to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Charitable Street Collections Policy pdf icon PDF 189 KB

Consideration of a Draft Charitable Street Collections Policy (report of the Head of Public Protection enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was discussed in conjunction with item 4.

 

AGREED:

 

That the draft policy be sent out for consultation.

 

5.

Licensing Update

The Public Protection Manager to be in attendance to provide an update on the functions that fall under the remit of the Licensing Committee. 

 

Minutes:

The Licensing Officer introduced the update and highlighted the following changes to legislation:

·         Taxis & Private Hire Vehicles Disabled Persons Act 2022

o   Amended the Equality Act to introduce new duties for local authorities, taxi and private hire drivers and private hire operators.

o   It was now a mandatory requirement for the local authority to publish a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles on their website which was something that SHDC already did.

o   The updates to legislation required drivers to not charge more for any extra assistance required by a disabled person than they would for a non-disabled person.

o   Exemption certificates could be produced if a driver was not able to assist on medical grounds.

o   Officers would be updating operators on this new legislation but noted that they hadn’t received any customer complaints regarding this issue.

·         Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles Safeguarding and Road Safety Act 2022

o   This was an extension of the NR3 register for taxi drivers which was now required to be checked by the local authority for all taxi driver applications for any previous convictions and offences.

o   If previous offences and convictions were found, the Council would then contact their previous local authority for details of the offences.

 

Members raised the following points:

  • Did the Council already automatically check the NR3 register for all taxi driver applications?
    • Officers confirmed that they already did this for every application and any taxi driver applicant who did not state previous offences would be subject to a Panel hearing to determine whether to grant a licence or not.
  • Did the register pick up any parking tickets a driver had received?
    • Officers confirmed that the register would only pick that up if another authority had refused a licence on that basis.
  • Would the Council be notified if a taxi driver received a parking ticket?
    • Officers responded to say that the Council would only be notified if the parking ticket became a police issue. The NR3 register only gave information if a licence had been revoked, suspended or refused by an authority.
  • Would the Council be notified of any road traffic offences committed by a taxi driver?
    • Officers confirmed that the police would raise any offence committed by a taxi driver with the Council.

 

AGREED:

 

That the update be noted.

 

6.

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent.

 

 

NOTE:            No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the item(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency. 

Minutes:

Members asked whether the Council was up to date on animal inspections and whether a full complement of staff were in post to carry out the inspections.

 

Officers responded to say that the team were getting caught up on inspections as during Covid not as many inspections had taken place due to many premises being closed. They noted that vets were under a lot of pressure and in a lot of cases officers were waiting for a vet to be available to assist with the inspections. There were currently 5 more premises to inspect and a few to chase up who had not renewed their licence.

 

Officers also confirmed that a new Assistant Licensing Officer was in post who would be undertaking a qualification to be able to undertake animal inspections in the future. There was also an officer within the wider Public Protection team who had relevant qualifications to be able to assist with these animal inspections.

 

Members felt that the level of inspections taking place and the number of officers qualified to do the inspections was unacceptable and suggested that an update should be given at the next meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel.