Agenda and draft minutes
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To approve as correct records the Minutes of the meetings of this Committee held on 28 September 2017, the 07 December 2017 and the 08 May 2018.
The Minutes of the meetings held on 28 September 2017, 07 December 2017 and the 08 May 2018 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
To remind Members of the need to record the existence and nature of any personal, disclosable pecuniary or other registrable interests in items on the agenda, in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct.
Councillors Richard Crumly and Quentin Webb declared an interest in Agenda Item 4, but reported that, as their interest was a personal or an other registrable interest, but not a disclosable pecuniary interest, they determined to remain to take part in the debate and vote on the matter.
Purpose: To allow Members to consider the responses received during the 28 day consultation period concerning the proposed fees in relation to hackney carriage and private hire licensing.
(Councillors Richard Crumly and Quentin Webb declared a personal interest in Agenda item 4 by virtue of the fact that they had previously made use of a hackney carriage or private hire vehicles. As their interest was personal they determined to take part in the debate and vote on the matter).
The Committee considered a report (Agenda Item 4) concerning the responses received during the 28 day consultation period concerning the proposed fees in relation to hackney carriage and private hire licensing.
Laura Driscoll in introducing the item noted that the last time the fees had been increased was in April 2016. The fees had not been increased during the 2017 Council fee setting process. The proposed increase represented a circa 3% increase across the Board. In addition the Council was also proposing the introduction of a fee for ‘dispensation vehicles’ which were vehicles used to carry out contract work and which were therefore exempt from the requirement to display the plate.
Officers explained that the workload associated with the detailed cross checking of the list of people the drivers had contracts with was very time consuming.
Members were concerned that the increase associated with these vehicles was significantly higher than the other increases proposed. Officers stated that this was to cover the additional time it took to do the work which should form the basis of the fees set. Licensing fees were based on a cost recovery system. Members queried how many of these licenses were issued each year. Officers agreed to provide this information to members outside of the meeting (Laura Driscoll to Action).
Councillor Quentin Webb noted the consultation responses in relation to the removal of expiry dates from plates to reduce costs. Officers commented that although they had concerns about plates not being returned when licenses lapsed but that they were looking into the option of permanent stickers. They had not had enough time to reach a decision on their use as yet though. They would report back to the Committee on this option at a future meeting.
Members considered the details of the ‘carry forward; in respect of the licensing budget. They noted that in 2014/15 the service had traded at a deficit of £70,197k. The deficit had increased to £156,287 in 2015/16 and that the deficit had reduced to only £358 in 2016/17. Officers noted that historically the licensing budget was not carried forward which had resulted in the spike in 2015/16. Members noted that there was some uncertainty around exactly what was included in the overheads and it was agreed that Sean Murphy would circulate the detail to members outside of the meeting. (Sean Murphy to Action).
Sean Murphy noted that work in respect of licensing fees was ongoing. Work to create parity across the three areas covered by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) (West Berkshire, Wokingham and Bracknell) was being undertaken where it was appropriate to do so. It was hoped that this work would be completed in time for implementation ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Purpose: To allow Members to consider the responses received concerning proposed safeguarding and disability awareness training for licensed drivers and operators.
The Committee considered a report (Agenda Item 5) which set out responses received in relation to safeguarding and disability awareness training for licensed drivers and operators. The proposal was to expand the training to include safeguarding.
Laura Driscoll in introducing the item stated that while dual drivers already had to undertake disability awareness training as a requirement of their licence, private hire drivers and operators were not required to do so.
Following the presentation of a report to the Licensing Committee Officers had engaged the trade in a consultation on this issue. The five responses to the consultation were set out in Appendix C to the report.
She explained that the Council would be happy to accept certificates from other providers provided that the training was deemed to be of an equal standard. It was also proposed that the training would be offered to all staff and not just drivers.
Julia O’ Brien stated that Officers were trying to find a supplier to provide training across Berkshire. It had initially been hoped that Bracknell might have been able to provide the service inhouse but unfortunately this had not been possible. It was hoped that the costs might be able to be reduced if the training could be undertaken on Council premises. It was also proposed that drivers would be able to select a location which was best suited to them. In response to a query from Councillor Crumly it was noted that the drivers paid for the training as part of the application process.
Councillor James Cole asked if there was an opportunity to undertake joint training with those providing school transport. Julia O’ Brian stated that this was something that officers had looked into but their costs were higher (£50).
The Committee agreed in accordance with paragraph 7.6.2 of the Constitution (Motions that can be moved without Notice) to suspend standing orders in order to allow representatives of the trade to provide them with feedback.
Bill Annetts stated that some drivers would not want to the training as they did not transport children. Drivers were also concerned that they would not receive a licence if they did not do the test. Concern was also being expressed about the costs being passed on to the drivers.
Standing orders were reinstated. Members felt that the training should be introduced and that efforts should be made to keep the costs as low as possible.
RESOLVED that a condition be added to all driver and operator licences to require them to attend mandatory safeguarding and disability awareness training, including refresher training every three years commencing from 01 August 2018.