Agenda and minutes

General Licensing Committee - Monday, 12 March 2012 2.30 pm

Venue: South Oxfordshire District Council Offices, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8ED

Contact: Susan Harbour, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item


Notification of substitutes and apologies for absence

To record the attendance of substitute councillors, if any, who have been authorised to attend in accordance with the provisions of standing order 17(1) with notification having been given to the proper officer before the start of the meeting and to receive apologies for absence. 


Apologies were received from councillors: Pat Lonergan, Peter Jones and Mike Badcock.


Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting. 






To adopt and sign as a correct record the minutes of the committee meeting held on 18 May 2011 (previously published and circulated separately). 




To adopt the minutes of the meeting on 18 May 2011 and agree that the Chairman sign them. 




Chairman's introduction and explanation of the format of the meeting

To receive notification of any matters, which the chair determines, should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances, which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chair. 


The chairman explained the process for the meeting and the procedure to be followed during the adjournment to meet jointly with South Oxfordshire District Council’s general licensing committee.



Statements, petitions and questions from the public relating to matters affecting the general licensing committee.

Any statements, petitions and questions from the public under Standing Order 32 will be made or presented at the meeting. 




Resolution to adjourn the meeting for a joint briefing and discussion with South Oxfordshire District Council General Licensing Committee on item 7 pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Adjournment for discussion




To adjourn the meeting to allow the committee to discuss the draft licensing policy for hackney carriage and private hire and accompanying report together with South Oxfordshire District Council’s general licensing committee and appoint Mrs Elizabeth Gillespie, Chairman of that committee, to facilitate the discussions, before reconvening to consider the committee’s recommendations


The meeting was adjourned from 2.35pm until 4.30pm to allow the two committees to meet together. The notes of the discussion are appended to these minutes.



Licensing policy for hackney carriage and private hire: joint statement of licensing policy pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To receive the report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services, key changes (appendix 1) and draft statement of policy (appendix 2) (attached).

A copy of the Department for Transport’s ‘Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: Best practice guidance’ is also

Purpose: The committee is asked to:


  • discuss the policy and make any recommendations for changes to the policy before officers publish it for consultation;


  • authorise officer to publish the draft policy for consultation with stakeholders for the statutory 12 week period.



Additional documents:


After the meeting reconvened, the committee discussed the report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services setting out the key issues to be considered and the draft statement of licensing policy for hackney carriage and private hire proposed for consultation with the public and the trade.


Mrs M Reed, Head of Legal and Democratic Services, Mrs L Hayden, Shared Legal, Licensing and Community Safety Manager, and Mr R Draper, Shared Licensing Team Leader, introduced the report and answered questions from the committee during the adjournment and after the committee reconvened.


Members of the committee made the following comments and recommendations:

·       The two district councils should have a harmonised policy for hackney carriage and private hire licensing.

·       Introducing a standard size and style for roof signs was acceptable.

·       The consultation should include an option for removing the tariff on hackney carriage fares altogether.

·       The policy should contain a clear definition of an accident which needed reporting, a statement of the council’s response time and actions, and what drivers should do if the vehicle was off the road for repair and the actions they should take during office closures or if responses were delayed. .

·       The trade should be consulted about introducing restrictions on the permitted size of adverts. The power to determine the suitability of adverts should rest with councillors not officers.

·       information should be gathered about the number of drivers who would have been affected had a test of spoken English proficiency been in place when they applied for a licence, and the proportion of prospective applicants who may be affected. 

·       The sample points scheme for breaches should be issued for consultation with amendments. Councillors and the general licensing committee should be involved in determining suspensions and the scheme should be kept under review.

·       There should be a range of informal measures available to deal with minor or first breaches so that drivers were not unfairly penalised for very minor matters.




·       that the proposed joint licensing policy for hackney carriage and private hire should be issued for consultation with the public and the trade as set out in the documents issued to the committee and should include a consultation on the complete removal of a tariff for hackney carriage fares;

·       that the proposed penalty points scheme should not include a penalty for ‘any other breach or unsatisfactory behaviour’; and

·       to authorise the Head of Legal and Democratic Services to make any further minor editorial changes to the proposed policy prior to the document being issued for consultation.