Determination of a private hire/hackney carriage driver's licence
To determine a private hire/hackney carriage vehicle licence.
The Chair moved Item 6 forward in the proceedings.
The Enforcement Officer gave a summary of the report. Suffolk County Council (SCC) had received a complaint regarding the driver’s over-friendly interactions with a child he was transporting to school and his family. The driver had been suspended from Suffolk County Council contracts for over 5 months. SCC were unclear as to whether the behaviour constituted grooming to get close to the child or whether it was naïve and well meaning, misguided behaviour.
In response to a Member question, the driver said the Passenger Assistant had been present with him the whole time as he was transporting the child, and the child had never refused to get in the vehicle. As far as he knew, only one complaint had been made against him.
In response to a Member question, the driver said he had only received training on dealing with children since the complaint had been made.
At 11.05, the Committee retired to make its decision.
At 11.45, the Committee returned. The decision was read to those present.
RESOLVED to revoke the driver’s drivers licence.
DECISION NOTICE –
The application before the Panel today is for the suspension or revocation of the driver’s joint private hire/hackney carriage licence number PH/HC2953 under S61 (1) (b) Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.- any other reasonable cause. The licence is due to expire on 31st July 2021 and the driver is currently employed by 24 x 7 Ltd on the school contract side of the business.
We have had the benefit of a detailed report from the Enforcement Officer and his notes, together with the original correspondence received by him are also before us. The story begins with a complaint to Suffolk Council dated 28th March 2019. The matter was referred to us by their LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer for Safeguarding) who holds a statutory responsibility for the safeguarding of both children and vulnerable adults.
Their employee noted:-
“Mum called regarding her son’s transport, her son has been biting and hitting recently and he does not usually behave like this. The child has not had problems with the transport before this driver and PA started in September and does not want to get in the taxi now. The driver was trying to giving chocolate, toy trucks to the child and his younger brother and even offered money to mum when she had a baby. This had been on and off since September but has got worse in the last month. This last month is when the behavioural problems started and he refused to go in the taxi and the problems at school started. The child is non-verbal so mum cannot ask him anything he just wants to vent his frustration by his behaviour… The driver stands very close to the door when picking up so the child has to brush past him then he touches his hair, he also tries to get close to mum.”
24x7 Limited investigated the matter and ... view the full minutes text for item 3