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Contact: Charles Francis Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Frances Stainton and Tom Stewart, Metropolitan Police.
Roll-Call and Declarations of Interest
To confirm attendance, the Chair will perform a roll call. Members will also have the opportunity to declare any interests.
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 Standards Committee.
Present: Councillors Natalia Perez (Chair), Fiona Smith (Vice-Chair), Colin Aherne, Wesley Harcourt, Rachel Leighton, David Morton, Zarar Qayyum, Matt Uberoi, Asif Siddique, Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler and Matt Thorley
There were no declarations of interest.
Officers: Valerie Simpson, Strategic Lead, Environment, Overton Adrian, Licensing Policy & Enforcement Manager, Lisa White, Licensing Administration & Enforcement Manager, Cristina Perez-Trillo, Licensing Enforcement Officer, Adesuwa Omoregie, Head of Law and Charles Francis, Committee Coordinator.
To approve as an accurate record, and the Chairman to sign, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 25 June 2019.
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 June 2019 were agreed as an accurate record.
This report has an appendix that contains information exempt within the
meaning of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 and is not
for publication. The appendix has been circulated to the committee
Any discussion on the contents of an exempt appendix will require
the Committee to pass the proposed resolution at the end of the
agenda to exclude members of the public and press from the
proceedings for that discussion.
Adrian Overton, Licensing Policy & Enforcement Manager, introduced the members of the Licensing Team to the Committee. He explained the presentation would cover a range of topics, including the Council’s (Licensing) response to the pandemic, which was the primary reason the Annual Licensing Committee meeting had been delayed. Adrian explained that as a result of the pandemic, the Licensing Service had undergone significant changes, which included the way it operated. Members were encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentation.
Lisa White, Licensing Administration & Enforcement Manager, provided an overview of the work and performance of the Licensing Team between April 2019 and March 2020. The following key points were noted:
· Broader and more flexible roles within the team had been introduced, which had helped to multi-skill staff and support personal development / provide better team cover.
· The internal career progression within the Team.
· The new management structure, which enabled the Team to be more efficient and flexible.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked if the Licensing Service still comprised of North and South Teams or whether the Service had amalgamated into a borough wide approach. In response, Lisa White confirmed that the Service had amalgamated into a one borough approach.
An overview was provided on a variety of performance statistics for 2019/20. It was noted that overall, the service had processed a total of 1582 applications / notifications under the Licensing Act 2003, compared to 1298 in 2018/19, which was an increase of 22%. Twenty-five Committees were convened, and four reviews had been submitted by the Metropolitan Police.
In terms of gambling activities, it was noted that there had been a significant reduction in the number of betting shops from 42 to 26 in 2019/20 which represented a 38% decrease. The numbers of Adult Gaming Centres (3), sex establishments (2) and scrap metal site licences (5) all remained unchanged. Details were provided on the financial management of the team, including the finance project work and it was noted that as a result of enforcement activities, 279 suspension letters had been issued.
The Chair, Councillor Natalia Perez, noted that 36 premises licences had been suspended and asked for further clarification about the licence suspension process. In response, Lisa White confirmed that the Service worked with the premises, but if there was still non-payment (of licensing fees) a suspension notice would be issued, followed by formal suspension (pre covid only), if payment was not received by the agreed termination date. The Chair confirmed that the financial information which had been provided in the report was extremely useful and the committee requested that this was included in future Annual Licensing Committee reports.
Action – That the Annual Licensing Committee report include a Financial Management section in future reports.
Details were provided on the service improvement work which had been undertaken, including those procedures which had needed to be changed and adapted in response to the pandemic.
Councillor Natalia Perez noted that my account was no longer working? and asked for further information to be provided on ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Pool of conditions - Verbal update
Lisa White explained that following feedback from Members, the Licensing Service had revised its pool of conditions in consultation with the Police Authority, Noise and Nuisance, Trading Standards and Health and Safety. A draft of the proposed new conditions was then sent to the Licensing Authority Group (LAG partners). Referring to the pool of conditions which the Licensing Service had sent to the Committee outside the meeting, Lisa White highlighted that a new section had been included to cover the remote sales of alcohol.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler enquired if other Local Authorities had also changed their pool of conditions and asked for officers views on the legal basis of the proposed new conditions. In response, Lisa White confirmed that Licensing Service was confident that the new proposed conditions were enforceable and proportionate. Some other Local Authorities had changed or were in the processing of changing their current pool of conditions. The Chair welcomed the changes to the pool of conditions as they reflected current needs during the pandemic.
Licensing Policy and CIP Policies - Verbal update
Adrian Overton introduced the report. He explained the evidence for both the Fulham and Shepherd’s Bush cumulative impact policies (CIP) was due to expire on the 6th April 2021 and as a result, the Police and Crime Act required the Authority to renew its evidence for both CIPs. It was noted that the Licensing Service was due to carry out a review of both policies in 2020 to assess the evidence for renewals of both policies. However, this could not take place due to covid-19.Had evidence gathering been conducted during the pandemic, it would not have been representative of normal operating conditions. Adrian explained that as a result, the Licensing Service had decided to delay its evidence gathering until the summer of 2021 to assess the impact of the night-time economy. The current proposal was to let the evidence for both CIPs expire and carry out a consultation on this proposal.
Adrian explained that any Licensing decisions taken between 6 April 2021 and the implementation of the new CIPs would clearly state that CIP evidence had not been used in reaching the decision. Reiterating his previous point, Adrian confirmed that by allowing the current CIP evidence to expire, this would allow the Authority to assess how the night-time and day-time economies responded to covid-19 and ensured decision making was informed on the 'new normal' rather than relying on historic data.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler commented it was important that as soon as the consultation on the CIPs had been concluded, that the CIP policy was implemented to protect town centres. In response, Adrian Overton confirmed that the nature of town centres had changed in the last decade and any decision on the implementation of CIPs would be evidence led. The Chair, Councillor Natalia Perez asked officers to provide further details on how the Licensing service worked with the Police on evidence gathering and how Licensing Action Groups worked. In response, Adrian Overton confirmed that at present, the Licensing Service was meeting twice a week with the Police to discuss Covid related issues and any actions arising would be taken as part of a multi-agency approach.
Turning to the Council’s Licensing and Gambling polices, Adrian Overton highlighted that the Authorities’ statement of licensing policy was due to expire in July 2022. He confirmed the Licensing Service had looked at several ideas such as possibly replicate planning regeneration areas. Other suggestions included possibly offering free pre-application advice to small businesses who wanted to provide live entertainment as part off their licensing application. It was noted that the Licensing Service would be working in partnership with the London Night Czar and the Head of the Night-time Commission about further opportunities to promote and support a 24-hour borough in Hammersmith and Fulham.
In relation to the Council’s statement of Gambling Principles, Lisa White confirmed these were due to expire in January 2022 and a consultation on a new statement was scheduled to begin in the summer of 2021. The Committee were informed that the Gambling ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Enforcement history in Sub-Committee reports - Verbal update
Adrian Overton introduced the item and explained that historically, enforcement action had been included in reports. However, there were concerns that this information should not be available in the public domain, especially those details which pertained to ongoing investigations. Moving forwards, Adrian explained it was proposed that any enforcement history would be treated as an exempt agenda item (when appropriate) which would only be circulated to Members and the applicant.
Adrian sought Members views on two specific questions: Firstly, whether members found the enforcement history helpful and secondly, did Members agree to the exempt agenda suggestion?
In response, Councillor Rachel Leighton confirmed that enforcement histories were useful, and an exempt agenda was the correct mechanism to consider this information. Concerns were raised about enforcement history information and the likelihood of predetermination. In response, Adesuwa Omoregie, Head of Law, explained that enforcement histories needed to be considered on a case by case basis, but where reviews had been triggered by non-compliance for example; it was important the Committee was provided with this background information to inform its decision making. Councillor Zarar Qayyum concurred that the providing enforcement history information as an exempt item would be beneficial.
Action – That enforcement history information be provided as an exempt agenda item (when appropriate) at future Licensing Sub-Committee meetings.
Closing the item, Adrian Overton and Lisa White expressed their thanks to the Licensing Team for all its hard work during the pandemic. The Chair, Councillor Natalia Perez, speaking on behalf of the Licensing Committee echoed these sentiments.
Discussion of Exempt Elements
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 – ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, that the
public and press be excluded from the meeting during the consideration
of the following items of business, on the grounds that they contain the
likely disclosure of exempt information, as defined in paragraph 1 of
Schedule 12A of the said Act, and that the public interest in maintaining
the exemption currently outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
The sub-committee agreed, under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act1972, that the public and press be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following items of business, on the grounds that they contain the likely disclosure of exempt information, as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the said Act, and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption currently outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.