The Chair invited Elaine Moreton, Section Leader (Licensing) and the Applicant (IY) into the Hearing, made introductions and outlined the procedure to be followed. IY confirmed understanding of the procedure.
The Section Leader (Licensing), outlined the report regarding an application for a Private Hire Driver Licence, which had been circulated to all parties in advance of the meeting. The matter had been referred to the Sub-Committee in accordance with Guidelines Relating to Relevance of Convictions and Breaches of Licence Conditions, specifically paragraph 5.1.10(b).
All parties were invited to question the Section Leader (Licensing) on the report. No questions were asked.
IY confirmed that the information contained within the report was accurate.
The Chair invited IY to make representations.
With the agreement of the Chair, IY circulated character references from DHL and TJX Europe, for whom he had worked.
IY stated that his convictions related to an incident that occurred when he was a self-employed courier, a job for which work was ad hoc and not guaranteed. He had picked up engines to take to Dover where they would be collected by a person from Germany, a job that he had gained from an advert on Gumtree. The Police had inspected his vehicle in Dover and found that the engines were stolen. When he then called the customer he hung up the phone. IY was then prosecuted for handling stolen goods. As he had not undertaken the necessary checks to ensure that the goods were legitimate he had no defence. Since then he had not been arrested and had been in work. However, he had lost 2 jobs or in the last 2 years due to the convictions and was struggling to gain permanent employment once firms undertook CRB checks. He had been invited back to 2 seasonal jobs but he needed permanent work as his wife had recently given birth to their first child.
All parties were invited to question the Applicant on his submission.
In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, IY stated the following:
· As a courier he was self-employed rather than an employee on a zero hours contract;
· He had been told that the person he was due to meet at Dover would bring a van with an overhead crane to enable collection of the engines;
· He had pleaded guilty to negligence at a Newton Hearing as he had no receipts, evidence or official documents for the job;
· He had not received payment for the job;
· The Police could not identify the customer as IY could not identify which container the engines had been stored in prior to collection;
· As a self-employed courier he would invoice customers following completion of the job;
· The yard from which the engines were collected was gated, had CCTV and a buzzer gate. There had been nothing to arouse suspicions that the job was not legitimate;
· He would not usually deliver oily goods as he liked to keep his van clean but the customer was promising regular work;
· He had previously worked in security and did not earn much doing courier work;
· He got married in early 2016;
· He would not be tempted to do illegal work and would fully assess all future work;
· The Police had had not targeted his vehicle, they had simply undertaken a routine check;
· The customer had said that he would pay cash on return following the job;
· He knew where he planned to apply for private hire work should he be granted a licence.
No questions were asked by the solicitor.
The Section Leader (Licensing) stated that the IY’s DVLA points were not relevant to the Sub-Committee’s consideration of whether or not to grant a PHVD licence.
The Chair invited IY to make a final statement.
IY said he had never previously intended to become a taxi driver but he wanted a more secure and permanent income. He was currently renting a property and had had to cancel work following the birth of his child. He did not want the worry of losing work or work being cut without notice, he just wanted a full-time job and the ability to see his child, take it to appointments etc. He was relying on gaining a licence. He had been driving for an agency for 2 years and no issues had occurred and he would be happy for the Sub-Committee to seek references.
IY and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room to allow the Sub-Committee to determine the matter.
The Chair invited IY and the Section Leader (Licensing) back into the Hearing.
The Chair detailed the decision of the Sub-Committee.
Resolved: That, having considered all of the evidence presented at the Hearing, both written and oral, the Sub-Committee agree to grant a Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence for a period of 12 months. The Licence is subject to AR passing the knowledge test and a satisfactory medical, if not already completed. The Licence is also subject to review by Licensing Services in six months time.
The Council’s Solicitor detailed the applicant’s right of appeal to the Magistrates’ Court against the decision of the Sub-Committee, within 21 days of receipt of the decision, and the potential costs of doing so.
IY and the Section Leader (Licensing) left the room.