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Agenda item

Review of a Private Hire Operators Licence – Mohammed Iqbal t/a York Cars (52/2016)

The purpose of this report is to enable the Committee Members to review the private hire operator’s licence held by Mr Mohammed Iqbal who trades as York Cars.

Minutes:

Members considered a report seeking determination of a review of a Private Hire Operators Licence in respect of Mr Mohammed Iqbal t/a York Cars (52/2016). Under section 62(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, an operator’s licence may be suspended or revoked on any of the following grounds:-

(a) any offence under, or non-compliance with, the provisions of this Part of this Act;

(b) any conduct on the part of the operator which appears to the district council to render him unfit to hold an operator’s licence;

(c) … or

(d) any other reasonable cause.

 

In coming to their decision, Members took into consideration all the evidence and submissions that were presented, and determined their relevance to the issues raised including:

 

1.           The papers before it, including Mohammed Iqbal’s statement and Proposed Undertakings to City of York Council (both dated 12 November 2020).

 

2.           The Head of Public Protection’s report and the oral representations by Mr Leo Charlambides (Counsel on behalf of Mr Boxall) at the meeting. This included witness statements from City of York Council Officers: Matthew Boxall, Vicky Vint, Nigel Woodhead, Angela Ruane and Alfie Thompson

 

3.           The oral representations by Mr Gerald Gouriet QC, Counsel on behalf of Mr Iqbal.

 

In respect of the review of the private hire operator’s licence, having regard to the above evidence, the Committee considered the steps which were available to them to take under Section 62(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976:

 

Option 1 – Revoke the licence in accordance with section 62(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.  This option was approved.

 

Option 2 – Suspend the licence in accordance with section 62(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. This option was rejected.

 

Option 3 – Take no further action. This option was rejected.

 

Reasons for the decision

After carefully reviewing the information presented to them and oral representations by all the parties, the Committee debated the matter.

 

Cllr Warters then moved option 1 and Cllr Melly seconded this. In accordance with the revised Standing Orders, a named vote was taken with the following result:

Cllrs Barker, Barnes, D’Agorne, Galvin, Hook, Hunter, Melly, Myers, Norman, Orrell, Pearson, Wann, Warters and Mason voted for the motion. The motion was therefore carried and it was

 

Resolved: That Option 1 be approved,  to revoke Mr Mohammed Iqbal’s private hire operator’s licence in accordance with section 62(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, for the following reasons:

 

Reason: The following conduct referred to in the officer’s report and supporting statements rendering Mr Iqbal unfit to hold an operator’s licence:

 

a) Enabling drivers (licensed by another authority) that the council did not consider ‘fit and proper’ under the City of York Council’s Taxi Licensing Policy to work as private hire drivers in York.

b) Blaming the council for his stance over Uber for the position, when this was not the case.

 

c) Operating ‘690 Taxis’ and ‘Street Cars’ in York without an operator’s licence.

d) False or misleading customer testimonials.

 

All of the above gave rise to concerns with regards to Mr Iqbal’s honesty and integrity, going to the heart of the ‘protection of the public’ consideration which is the reason for licensing private hire operators. This gave Members a reasonable cause to believe he was not ‘fit and proper’ to hold a private hire operator’s licence.

 

Members did not consider Mr Iqbal ‘unfit’ purely on the basis that he obtained a private hire operator’s licence from Wolverhampton City Council and was subcontracting work to drivers and vehicles licensed by Wolverhampton. Members accepted that such a practice was lawful, and was a model operated by other firms. It was the motivation behind this and the other reasons summarised above that Members no longer consider Mr Iqbal are a fit and proper person to hold an operator’s licence in York.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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