Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing and Appeals Committee - Tuesday, 10th November, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting. View directions

Contact: Luciane Bowker  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

Media

Items
No. Item

11.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted from Councillors Paul Fishwick, Sarah Kerr and Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey.

12.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 241 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 6 October 2020.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 6 October 2020 were confirmed as a correct record and would be signed at a later date by the Chairman.

13.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

14.

Public Question Time

To answer any public questions

 

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this committee.

 

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

15.

Member Question Time

To answer any member questions

Minutes:

There were no Member questions.

16.

Fees and Charges pdf icon PDF 19 KB

To receive and consider a report containing details of the proposed fees and charges for 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Fees and Charges report was presented by Sean Murphy, Public Protection Partnership Manager.

 

Sean Murphy stated that the budget setting process for fees and charges in relation to licensing activities started with approval by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP).  The process followed with a consultation with the Licensing Committee who were able to make recommendations to the Executive before the final decision was made. 

 

During the discussion of the item the following comments were made:

 

·           Councillor Burgess asked for an update on the hourly rates audit which the Committee had previously requested.  She also asked if by charging the same rates to all licences the service was subsiding certain areas;

·           Paul Anstey, Head of PPP stated that a generically hourly rate had been used to establish the cost of the service as a whole and compare the cost base against the number of people in the service, in order to ensure cost recovery;

·           Paul Anstey stated that various people were involved in determining licences, these people were paid at different rates depending on their job roles.  It was possible to determine how much time these different people spent on each process.  However, due to the amount of work which would have been required to undertake such a review, the PPP had taken a pragmatic view that it was reasonable to work out what the hourly rate was and roughly what the level of activity was for each process.  Each process had been looked at and where there was a difference, this had been amended in the fees and charges that were proposed in the report;

·           Paul Anstey stated that certain trades felt that the fees and charges were inappropriate.  Those had bee reviewed in detail, and the conclusion was that the hourly rate was very close to the initial rate;

·           Paul Anstey was confident that the proposed fees and charges were in accordance with the LGA guidance and case law relating to how local authorities should be charging in reasonable and proportionate terms;

·           In response to a question Paul Anstey stated that this review was publicly available within the JPPP Committee papers online;

·           Paul Anstey stated that the service intended to carry out more detailed reviews in the future;

·           In response to a question Paul Anstey confirmed that if a particular trade challenged the fees, the service would carry out a review;

·           In response to a question Paul Anstey stated that if the cost of undertaking a detailed review of all licences would be reflected in the cost of licences, as part of the overall service cost recovery framework;

·           Councillor Loyes asked if the 0.6% rise (mentioned on page 14 paragraph 1.4) was the same across all three authorities.  Sean Murphy stated that this related to the inflation in the period;

·           Councillor Ferris stated that certain trades had been badly affected by the current circumstances, in particular the taxi trade.  He proposed that the financial hardship being faced by trades be taken into account in the fee setting process  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Annual report pdf icon PDF 516 KB

To receive and consider the updated Annual Report.

Minutes:

Sean Murphy stated that the figures for the 2019/20 Annual Report had been double checked and the report now contained the right figures.

 

Julia O’Brien stated that there had been an issue with the way data was recorded which had now been rectified.

 

Upon being put to the vote most Members were in favour of the recommendation to note the report.  Councillor Burgess wished it to be recorded that she voted against the recommendation for the same reasons stated in the previous meeting.

 

RESOLVED That the Committee notes the content of the report.

18.

Forward Programme pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To receive and consider the Committee’s Forward Programme.

Minutes:

Sean Murphy stated that work had been undertaken as a result of questions which had been raised about the height of vehicles for wheelchair accessibility.  Members agreed that this issue should be brought back to the next meeting of the Committee for a final discussion and decision.

 

Councillor Patman was concerned that issues relating to Environmental Health and Trading Standards, which were within PPP, were not being brought to the Committee for discussion or information. 

 

Sean Murphy offered to bring a presentation to the Committee about the wider work of the PPP.  It was agreed that this would be a briefing session which would be arranged separately from the main Committee meeting.