Agenda item

Consideration of Fit and Proper - 1900924TAXI


The Lead Licensing Officer presented the report to the Sub-Committee. He explained that the report invited the Members to consider whether the driver before them remains fit and proper to hold a combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers licence issued by the authority.


He stated that the Sub-Committee is asked to consider the matter, determine the issue and take any action it may consider suitable after hearing any representation from the driver or any representative acting on his behalf.


He explained that the driver had failed on three consecutive occasions to comply with the following condition attached to the grant of Hackney Carriage Proprietors Licence which states;


The proprietor shall produce to the Licensing Section a new insurance certificate or cover note within seven working days of the expiry of the current certificate or cover note.”


The driver stated that he had not received a written warning in May 2018 regarding the first breach of this condition. He said that he recalled being issued with penalty points in 2019 and that this year he had not been able to access the Licensing offices due to Covid-19 and that nobody had answered is phone calls. He apologised for the incidents in 2018 / 19.


The driver’s representative addressed the Sub-Committee. He said that the driver was normally diligent, had acknowledged his mistakes and had tried to visit the offices on three separate occasions.


He said that the driver was not confident to send the required documents in via email and that no complaints had ever been made against him by the public.


Councillor Steve Hedges commented that he had seen in the agenda pack the letter referred to from May 2018 and asked if the letter had been sent but not received.


The Lead Licensing Officer replied that the procedure is to print off the letter and hand it to the driver along with a verbal warning. He added that this took place in both 2018 and 2019. He said, referring to this year, that the insurance renewal date was prior to the national lockdown being in place and therefore the driver had enough time to present his documents.


The Chair said that there was no accusation of the driver’s vehicle not being insured and asked if he was aware of the need to comply with the rules so that the Council and the Sub-Committee were satisfied that the residents of B&NES could travel safely in his vehicle.


The driver replied that he was.


In his closing statement the driver’s representative stated that he had known the driver for ten years and that he was great with the public, but not so great with his admin. He said that he felt sure that this would not happen again and would encourage the driver to ask someone to email his documents to the Council on his behalf.


The driver said that he would not let an incident of this nature happen again.


The Lead Licensing Officer acknowledged that no complaints from members of the public had been made against the driver and asked that should he retain his licence he listens to the instructions from officers in the future.


Following an adjournment, the Sub-Committee RESOLVED that they are satisfied that he remains fit and proper to hold a combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s licence but issue a formal warning that his conduct has not been acceptable.




Members have had to consider whether a Licensee remains fit and proper to hold a combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s licence. In doing so Members took account of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, Human Rights Act 1998, case law and the Council’s Policy.


Members reminded themselves that each case is considered on its own merits. They had regard to the licensee’s oral representations, the representations of his representative and balanced these against the report before them.


Members heard from the licensee who indicated that in relation to the first year he did not receive any written warning, on the second occasion he was notified by Mr Byron (Public Protection Officer) when he was leaving the office and in relation to this latest incident he had tried to provide the information but had not been able to get into the office and nobody had answered the phone.


The Licensee’s representative indicated that the licensee apologises in relation to the first two incidents but has really tried in relation to the latest incident. He has tried to make contact by phone or in person as he is not confident in sending documents by e-mail. He has genuinely shown remorse and is good with the public. He has had to be educated how to do what is required but he has really tried this year.


The Lead Officer, Licensing Team (Development) indicated to Members that both the first and second letter were printed off and handed to the Licensee in the licensing office but he had been dismissive and brushed them off. The latest breach of condition related to insurance which expired on 21.02.20 and failure to provide a copy was nothing to do with lockdown. The Licensee indicated that he went to the licensing office in March and couple of times of April.


The Licensee apologised to members and said this will not happen again.

Members noted that compliance with the condition relating to insurance is vital so that the Council can be assured that the safety of the public when travelling in a BANES licensed vehicle is not compromised.


Members did not find the explanation given by the Licensee regarding not receiving the first letter credible and did not find it credible that he could not get the documents in to the licensing office in time. His conduct with his administrative responsibilities is poor and these responsibilities are of great importance. The Licensee holds a position of great responsibility concerning public safety and compliance with these conditions is mandatory not discretionary with the onus on the Licensee to comply with them. Any request from the licensing authority for information in relation to a licence condition should be met with a swift and polite response from the Licensee.


Members were satisfied however, that notwithstanding his failure to comply with this condition repeatedly, the Licensee had maintained appropriate insurance throughout the relevant period. He is good public facing taxi driver with no complaints against his record from members of the public since first licensed by BANES in 2009.


On this occasion, Members are satisfied that he remains fit and proper but issue a formal warning that his conduct has not been acceptable, and they do not expect to see it repeated. He needs to ensure he complies with conditions notwithstanding his capabilities with technology and should seek support where required. If he appears before the LSC again for conduct issues, against this background, the outcome may not be the same.

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