Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Carole Oliphant Member Services Officer
Apologies and Substitute Members
To receive any apologies for absence and notices of Substitution (if any).
There were no apologies or substitute Members
Chairman - Election
To elect a Chairman for the Hearing.
Cllr D J Knowles was duly elected Chairman of the Sub Committee
Members to note the Remote Meetings Protocol.
The Sub Committee had before it, and NOTED, *the Remote Meetings Protocol.
Note: *Protocol previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
Access to Information - Exclusion of Press and Public
It may be necessary to pass a resolution to exclude the press and public having reflected on Article 12 12.02(d) (a presumption in favour of openness) of the Constitution. This decision may be required because consideration of this matter in public may disclose information falling within one of the descriptions of exempt information in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972. The Regulatory Sub Committee will need to decide whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption, outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
To consider passing the following resolution so that exempt information may be discussed:
Recommended by the Proper Officer that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating an individual.
Prior to consideration of a report from the Group Manager for Public Health and Regulatory Services to consider whether or not a license holder was fit and proper to hold a licence (or Licenses) with Mid Devon District Council the Sub Committee discussed whether or not the hearing should be held in public or private. Members considered the circumstances of the case and agreed that the hearing should be conducted in closed session. The following resolution was therefore passed:
ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT – EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC
RESOLVED that under section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to an individual.
Hearing to determine if a person is fit and proper to hold a hackney carriage/private hire licence and a hackney carriage vehicle licence
A Hearing to determine whether or not a Licence Holder is fit and proper to hold a hackney carriage/private hire licence and a hackney carriage vehicle licence
The Specialist Lead Licensing Officer outlined the contents of the report and explained the key aims and objectives within the policy, those being public safety along with the prevention of crime and disorder. The options before the Sub Committee in relation to the licence were also outlined.
The Officer explained that the hearing was to determine if the applicant was a fit and proper person/suitable to hold a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver Licence in light of an incident that had occurred.
The Officer outlined the circumstances of the case.
The Licence holder explained that he received a telephone call from the office to say that an argument was taking place and that he knew the individuals who he had previously been friends with. He arrived to the Taxi office with the aim of defusing the situation between his family members and the other parties. When he arrived at the office he found his family members had been attacked quite violently and he stepped in to defend them. He was sorry that the incident had taken place.
The Sub Committee then withdrew to consider the evidence.
Having reflected on the evidence presented to the Sub Committee:
The Sub-Committee took into account the relevant legislation, the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy and the Department for Transport’s Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards regarding the ‘fit and proper’ test and especially the overriding consideration of public safety and maintaining the public confidence in the licensing regime given the incident occurred in a public space i.e. Gold Street.
It also considered the information that was provided by the Licence Holder and the CCTV footage of the incident. The Sub-Committee felt that the Licence Holder initially attended to diffuse the situation and then got involved in an escalating situation with the need to defend himself and his family.
The Sub-Committee resolved to:
Issue a warning.
The Sub-Committee will not condone this sort of behaviour and wanted the Licence holder to understand the need to uphold professional behaviour at all times whilst licensed, not just whilst driving. The Licence holder needed to understand that his behaviour could bring the Council’s licensing regime into disrepute as it had to regulate licensing in Mid Devon and must ensure that the public trust and confidence in the licensing regime is maintained.
The Sub-Committee would like to say that the Taxi firm was a valued provider of taxi services in Tiverton, and given their locality and prominence the Sub-Committee are disappointed with the events that occurred on 1 June 2021 and would like the Taxi firm to consider carefully how they will respond to such an incident in the future; for example to call the police.
The Solicitor confirmed that written confirmation would be sent to the Licence holder which would include details of the right to appeal.