Meeting documents

Licensing Committee
Thursday 12th September 2019

Chairman: Councillor K Vickers
Venue: Church Square House, 30 / 40 High Street, Scunthorpe, DN15 6NL
Time: 10:00 am
E-mail Address: matthew.nundy@northlincs.gov.uk

AGENDA

  1. Substitutions.
  2. Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and personal or personal and prejudicial interests, and significant contact with applicants, objectors or third parties (lobbying), if any.
  3. To take the minutes of the meeting of this committee held on 6 June 2019 as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign.
  4. Sub-Committee Proceedings – To receive and where necessary confirm the minutes of the meeting of the following sub-committees-Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee held on 20 June, 18 July, 22 July and 1 August 2019.
    Licensing (Activities) Sub-Committee held on 24 May and 1 August 2019.
  5. Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee
  6. The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014.
  7. Appeals Submitted to the Magistrates Court.
  8. Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances which must be specified.

MINUTES

PRESENT: – Councillor K Vickers in the chair.

Councillors P Vickers (Vice-Chairman) Ali, Allcock, Clark, A Davison, Ellerby, Kirk, Mitchell, Mumby-Croft, Rowson, C Sherwood, Southern, Swift and Wells.

The committee met at Church Square House, Scunthorpe.

1644 DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS, PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND SIGNIFICANT CONTACT WITH APPLICANTS, OBJECTORS OR THIRD PARTIES (LOBBYING) – The following members declared personal interests –

Member – Councillor Ali
Nature of Interest – Personal Licence Holder

1645 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this committee held on 6 June 2019, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chairman.

1646 SUB-COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee held on 20 June, 18 July, 22 July and 1 August 2019 be received.

1647 SUB-COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing (Activities) Sub-Committee held on 24 May and 1 August 2019 be received.

1648 LICENSING (MISCELLANEOUS) SUB-COMMITTEE - The Director: Operations submitted a report that proposed to amend the process and procedure for meetings of the council's Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee.

The Committee heard that all applicants for a hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers' licence; an operators' licence; and a vehicle licence were entitled to have a fair and public hearing.

Applicants and licence holders had attended the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee for many years, the majority of which had been available for members of the public to attend. During the hearing, evidence was presented and all parties were given the opportunity to make a verbal representation before the sub-committee. Once all the representations had been made the applicant/licence holder and the Licensing Officers were asked to leave the room while a decision was made.

Having made a determination both parties were invited to return to hear the decision. The decision was then confirmed in writing as soon as possible after the hearing. The date of the written decision was the official date from which the applicant had 21 days to appeal to the Magistrates Court if they wished to do so.

Applicants/licence holders appear before the members due to a number of reasons. For example, due to their medical history, criminal convictions or complaints made against them. The majority of the time the information presented before the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee was sensitive in nature. Although the applicant/licence holder had the right to have an open hearing the information presented was such that the person attending may not want to have the information in the public domain. The council had a duty under data protection legislation to make sure that sensitive information was kept confidential.

It was proposed to change the format of the meeting so that the public and press were excluded automatically from all future hearings of the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee. This change would protect the sensitive information being in the public domain. The need to keep sensitive information confidential outweighed the right to allow the public in to the hearings. Should the applicant or licence holder seek for the hearing to be held in public then the sub-committee could approve such a request as they deem appropriate.

In addition, it was proposed that after all parties had finished giving evidence and had the opportunity to sum up, the sub-committee would move in to closed session to consider the evidence that was presented. Once the sub-committee had agreed a particular course of action that decision would be served on all parties within a reasonable time period after the hearing rather than inviting all parties back in to the meeting to hear it verbally on the same day. It was proposed that written decision would be sent to personal parties within 5 working days, where reasonable practicable. Changing the delivery of the decision would mean that the process was more efficient. This would also mean that council officers were not in a difficult position escorting emotional people through the building.

It was also proposed that all members of the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee who were present at the hearing were to confirm, by way of email and within 2 working days, that the written decision drafted by the Legal Officer and/or Democratic Services Officer was correct and reflected the decision made at the hearing. Where a member of the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee disagreed with the drafted decision a revised version should be provided and re-confirmed by all members who attended the hearing. Should no agreement be reached, Members may need to reconvene to agree the wording of the decision.

Following the Director's verbal presentation, the Chairman facilitated a discussion on the proposed changes to the process and procedure adopted by the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee.

Resolved - That option 1 of the report be approved.

1649 THE OPENNESS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT BODIES REGULATIONS 2014 - The Director: Operations submitted a report advising the Committee of all decisions taken by Authorised Officers of the Licensing Division, in relation to licenses, registrations, permits and consents, under the scheme of delegation.

Resolved - That the report be noted.

1650 APPEALS SUBMITTED TO THE MAGISTRATES COURT - The Director: Governance and Partnerships confirmed that there had been three appeals submitted to the Magistrates Court. Two appeals were as a result of decisions made by the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee and one decision made by the Licensing (Activities) Sub-Committee. One Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee decision had been heard by the Magistrates Court, with the appeal being dismissed. However, the appellant had exercised their right to appeal to the Crown Court. The remaining two appeals had not yet been heard.

Reports