To consider the report of the Senior Licensing Officer.
Consideration was given to the report of the Senior Licensing Officer.
The Team Manager Trading Standards and Licensing advised that the report updated the Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee on the work of the Licensing Team from the 1st April, 2020 to 31st March, 2021 and 1st April, 2021 to 30th September, 2021. The Team Manager spoke to the report and outlined the key points detailed in the report related to the Impact of Covid-19, staffing and duties, working practices along with the operational report, street trading, charity collections, scrap metal, freedom of information requests, inspection and enforcement activities and management report.
The Team Manager noted that no formal complaints had been received during this period and referred Members to the appendices.
A Member asked if there were any delays on DBS Checks.
The Senior Licensing Officer advised that DBS checks were now on a rolling programme and where due to be followed up in December.
A Member raised concerns in relation to staff reductions and the Team Manager – Trading Standards and Licensing advised that the Team was currently at full capacity and reassured Members that there had been no reductions in staff. It was added that where staff had been temporarily redeployed during the pandemic, appropriate measures were taken to backfill or extend other Officers hours for the period in question.
Another concern was raised in relation to the closure of the cash desk at the Civic Centre and it was reported applicants are able to pay over the phone using a card and invoices could be raised if an applicant wished to pay with cash. The Team Manager added that the service was continually looking at service improvement options and other payment options could be explored as appropriate.
In response to another concern raised by the Member in relation to interviewing of applicants, the Team Manager advised that the Team was now based an Anvil Court and an interview room was available if required. The Team Manager added that it was now widely accepted that interviews could be carried out via Teams and the Committee interviews which had been held in this way had been successful. The Team Manager further added that the Local Authority are now in a position to offer hybrid meetings, therefore he felt that there was now a balance in place.
A Member wished to extend thanks to staff for maintaining the high standard of work during this period.
Another Member welcomed the report and concurred that credit should be given to the Team as well as licence holders who have maintained their service during the pandemic.
A discussion ensued around the electric taxis pilot and it was reported that vehicles had been delivered and all electric charge points had been installed, however, there was a delay in the appointment of a management company. The Local Authority was not in a position to issue licences until the management company had been appointed by the Cardiff Capital Region and Welsh Government following their tender process. The Senior Licensing Officer added that there had been interest from taxi drivers and once the management company had been appointed the project could proceed.
The Team Manager added that it was hoped that this issue could be addressed as soon as possible in order to move this project along, however it was out of the Licensing Authority’s control.
In terms of extending the scheme, it was reported that there were no confirmed timeframes, therefore it could be a possibility.
RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.