Agenda item

Consideration of Fit and Proper - 2000194TAXI


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 this 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 their behalf.


He informed them that the driver currently holds a combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire drivers licence issued by this authority with an expiry date of 28th February 2023.


He explained that it is a condition of the Private Hire Vehicle licence that the proprietor keep the Council updated with a valid insurance and MOT certificate and provide consecutive certificates within seven working days of expiry of the previous certificate.


He stated that the driver had breached this condition on three separate occasions which is why he had been referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee.


He informed them that there have been no complaints from members of the public relating to the driver’s conduct since the grant of his first licence.


The driver addressed the Sub-Committee. He said that he realised how serious the breaches of conditions were and apologised. He explained that in 2018 his wife had collapsed and that she remains unwell and that had obviously caused him a great deal of worry and stress and to a degree has affected him mentally.


He stated that he is a five-star rated Uber driver and is proud to work in the city of Bath. He explained that he felt he only had to provide his insurance and MOT documents to Uber so that he would be able to continue to drive.


Councillor Sally Davis asked if he would be able to make sure that he complied with all future deadlines.


The driver replied that he would and agreed with a suggestion from Councillor Steve Hedges to have them all written down in a safe and memorable place.


The Chair commented that it was the responsibility of the Council alongside the Sub-Committee to make sure that all vehicles are safe for the public to use and that all drivers remain fit and proper in their role.


The driver replied that he was 100% trustworthy and definitely did not want to appear in front of the Sub-Committee again. He added that he was a safe driver and always treated customers with respect.


Decision and Reasons


Members have had to consider whether a licensee remains fit and proper to hold a combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s licence having failed to keep the Council updated with a valid insurance and MOT certificate and provide consecutive certificates within seven working days of expiry of the previous certificate in respect of his vehicle 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 and balanced these against the report before them.


Members heard from the licensee who 100% accepted his fault, appreciates the seriousness of these breaches and apologises for what has happened. He explained that he had been going through a particularly difficult period in his life with his wife being unwell. The licensee explained to members that the renewal dates for his insurance and MOT are firmly embedded in his mind now and he is clear on what he needs to do to comply going forwards. The licensee explained that he has never had complaints from his passengers, always treats passengers with the utmost respect and hopes he can carry on being a driver. He commented upon the professionalism and kindness that Mr Dowding had shown in relation to the handling of this matter.


Members noted that compliance with the condition relating to insurance and MOT 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, furthermore, a safe and courteous driving experience offered by a driver is of equal importance to compliance with the administrative responsibilities.


Members found the licensee’s conduct with regards to his administrative responsibilities, and compliance with this insurance and MOT condition, had been poor for a period of time 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.


Members were satisfied however, that notwithstanding his failure to comply with this condition, the licensee had maintained appropriate insurance and there were extenuating circumstances that had led to the breach of condition; they found his explanation in relation to his personal circumstances to be credible and this is all against a background where he has no complaints against his record from members of the public.


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 the conditions of his licences 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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