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To approve as an accurate record, and the Chairman to sign, the minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 26 June 2018 and 27 March 2019.
The minutes of the meetings held on 26 June 2018 and 27 March 2019 were confirmed and signed as an accurate record of the proceedings.
The Chair confirmed that the request which had been made at the previous annual meeting in 2018 - to agree a new procedure - had been actioned. It was noted that a Working Group convened on 13 November 2018 and following further email correspondence, a new procedure for Licensing and Licensing Sub-Committees was agreed at 27 March 2019 meeting.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors David Morton, Matt Uberoi, Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler and Frances Stainton.
Declarations of Interest
If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.
At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.
Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.
Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee.
Councillor Matt Thorley declared a non-pecuniary interest. He confirmed that historically, he had been a member of the Broadway Bar and Grill Private Members Club.
Adrian Overton, Licensing Manager introduced the Licensing Team’s Annual Update. Adrian explained that the Team had undergone substantial reorganisation, since it had disaggregated from the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. As a result, a new team structure was introduced in February 2019 to enable the licensing service to become a sovereign service.
Adrian Overton explained that one of the biggest advantages of the sovereign licensing service was the career and personal development opportunities it had brought the Team and it was noted that Cristina Perez-Trillo would be taking an Enforcement role in the future. Further advantages of the reorganisation were noted as follows:
· Broader and more flexible roles within the team, which had helped to multi-skill staff and support personal development and provide better team cover.
· Progression within the team of three officers to managerial and enforcement roles had demonstrated to other staff members that opportunities could arise internally.
· Dedicated H&F staff managing the team and rather than two part time managers across two boroughs.
· Having a single focus provided the potential to provide a better service for residents and businesses.
· A reduction in managerial salary costs.
An overview was provided on a variety of performance statistics for 2018/19. It was noted that Table 1 on page 10 showed that there had been an increase of approximately 31% in the number of new premises licence applications and a decrease of approximately 10% in the number of new personal licences. In addition, there had been a 15% increase in DPS variations and a slight reduction of approximately 4% on the number of temporary event notices. Overall in 2018/2019, the service dealt with a total of 1258applications/notifications under the Licensing Act 2003, compared with 1287 in 2017/18.
It was noted that most applications were agreed in part and there had also been 2 refusals, as well as 5 reviews. Of these, two reviews were received from Trading Standards and related to seizures of illicit alcohol and failure to provide credible evidence that the alcohol for sale had been purchased from a legitimately responsible supplier. Two reviews were received from the Metropolitan Police, one of which related to an on licensed premises which failed to provide CCTV to licensing officers following allegations of unauthorised sales of alcohol. The final review was submitted by the licensing team working in partnership with responsible authorities to review an off licence which was continuously breaching licence conditions, selling alcohol to drunk persons, selling counterfeit alcohol and selling alcohol to children.
It was noted that four appeals were lodged against the decision of the licensing committee in 2018/19 compared to only one in 2017/18. Details were also provided on inspection and enforcement activities, events licensing, as well as current investigations and those premises which required remedial action plans to be put in place.
Adrian provided a summary of project work undertaken by the team. The following points were noted: