Venue: Council Chamber, The Forum. View directions
Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support 01442 228224
To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting.
The minutes of the last meeting were agreed by the members present and then signed by the Chairman.
Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillor Howard.
Declarations of interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
There was no public participation.
The Chairman asked N March to introduce the report.
Nathan March, Licensing Team Leader:
The report proposed fees for those licensing services which are chargeable.
Fees setting is complicated as the process is different for each aspect of licensing, depending on the legislation connected to the particular licensing regime.
Some fees are statutory – notably the Licensing Act fees, and the Gambling Act fees which have statutory maximum fee levels. Therefore, the Committee is unable to set these.
Other fees are set locally, some with and some without additional processes. The most notable is the requirement to consult on any increase in taxi fees, via a public notice in the local newspaper.
Finally, the Council is prohibited from levying a charge for some of the services they provide such as the issuing of charity collection permits.
Where the Council sets a fee, this is generally with a view to recovering the cost of issuing and sometimes ‘managing the licence’ i.e. any issues that arise with the licensee during the period that the licence is valid, but there are some exceptions to this, where only administration of a licence is chargeable.
Locally charged fees are normally calculated using the overall cost of a licence (including staff salaries and overheads/recharges, such as IT support etc.) They look at the time spent dealing with an average application, and how many applications are processed each year to estimate what the appropriate fee is for each licence.
Fees often have to be broken down into two separate charges – application (non-refundable irrelevant of the outcome) and a fee if the licence is granted. This is to prevent an unfair financial burden on an applicant prior to a decision on the application being made, whilst ensuring the work done by the Council is recovered. The fees are structured to meet these requirements where necessary.
Finally, it is important to recognise that if there are any identified surpluses from the licences that they control the fees for, this should be taken into account when setting fees the following year and cannot be kept by the Council. There have not been any identified surpluses.
The biggest change had been animal licensing, fees had been updated since they were set for October 2018 as there is now a better understanding of the work required as part of the new legislation. Now that these fees last 1-3 years, rather than only for 1 year, it will take time to see an accurate reflection of the impact this has on fees income.
Councillor Bassadone referred to page 10, paragraph 2.3 about veterinary inspection premises and queried whether a specific veterinary service was being used by the Council.
N March responded and said that there is a specific veterinary service being used which is paid for by the Council but on a case by case basis. He stated that there is no contract in place and the Council is able seek a second opinion on cases from other vets if necessary. ... view the full minutes text for item 5.