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Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest
To receive any apologies for absence and declarations of interest.
There were no apologies for absence or declarations of interest.
To determine a review of a Private Hire Operator’s Licence.
The Senior Licensing and Compliance Officer summarised the report which asked for the Panel to review incidences related to Kinect Services Ltd. On the 2nd to 4th September and 7th September 2020, 8 vehicles being used on the Thriftwood School and College Contract were found to be unlicensed.
The applications for private hire licences had been made on the 27th August 2020 but had not been validated or issued by the Licensing Department. The vehicles were therefore not licensed on the stated dates which was an offence under section 46(1)(e) of the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976. This invalidated the insurance constituting a further offence under the Road Traffic Act. He stated that the Licensing Department had also received misleading information from Kinect Services Ltd referenced in Appendices A and C.
Kinect Services Ltd came before Members for them to determine whether they were a ‘fit and proper’ company to hold an Operator’s Licence as they had not met the Council’s licensing standards.
In response to a question from the Chair, the Senior Licensing and Compliance Officer verified that the 8 vehicles were subsequently licenced. He also confirmed that applications were submitted on the 27th August 2020.
Leading Counsel for Kinect Services spoke on the company’s behalf.
He stated that the Managing Director, Kinect Services Ltd took this process very seriously and wanted the Panel to be reassured that changes to procedures would be implemented to ensure that the company did not make this mistake again.
The Chair confirmed that some of the background documents sent could not be opened; these were to be sent again via e-mail by the end of the meeting.
A comprehensive background of the company was given. Kinect Services Ltd
had 70 vehicles under contract with Local Authorities to provide transport for children with learning disabilities and the elderly.
The management structure was explained as this related to the area where mistakes had been identified. Two posts were highlighted in the structure under the Transport Manager: the Fleet Administrator who manages the fleet of vehicles and processes the licences and the Routing and Planning role in charge of the allocation of drivers. Communication between these posts had resulted in the 8 vehicles not being identified as unlicensed.
Essex County Council had awarded the contract for Transport Services to Kinect Services Ltd on 6July 2020 to start on the 2 September 2020.
In order to provide the service, vehicles were hired and drivers recruited; staff from a previous company were also transferred by TUPE. All the applications for licences were made to the Licensing department at Uttlesford District Council and the majority were licensed and plates sent through.
The breakdown in communication occurred when all vehicles were not cross referenced and the final checks had not been carried out.
Unfortunately this was compounded by a telephone call from the Licensing Department to the Transport Manager, Kinect Services Ltd, who realised the mistake. In his panic he said that ... view the full minutes text for item 2.