Licensing and the avoidance of Legal challenges

Report
CIPFA NW AUDIT RISK &
GOVERNANCE GROUP
LICENSING
A Guide for Internal Audit
 Fees for Licences
CIPFA NW Audit Group
LICENCE FEES
 Most Licences attract a fee (notable exception – Caravan Site
Licence)
 Different fee regimes:
 A set statutory fee (e.g. Licensing Act 2003)
 A set statutory fee that can be overridden by the Council (e.g.
Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licenses under LG(MP)A
1976)
 A set maximum fee allowing local variation to achieve cost
recovery (e.g. Gambling Act 2005)
 Prescribed Costs to be Recovered (e.g. Hackney Carriage and
Private Hire Licenses under LG (MP)A 1976)
 A reasonable fee to be set by the Council
Fees Generally
 Cannot use Licence Fees to raise revenue
generally
 Must carry forward surplus or deficit
 3 year cycle
 Different fees – cannot “lump” all licence fees
together
 Each charging regime must be separately account
for
 Must be able to justify fee levied
“Grant” or “Application”
 Is the fee payable on application or grant?
 If the latter, must refund (or not levy) if application
is unsuccessful
Challenges to Fees 1
 Judicial Review of the Council Decision based on
either –
 Ultra vires (no power to levy a particular fee, or fees
used to raise revenue unlawfully), or
 Wednesbury (unreasonable, irrational)
Challenges to Fees 2
 Can challenge via the District Auditor and the
Council Accounts
 Guildford Borough Council in relation to HC and
PH fees – 3 complaints
 That the council had no properly advertised that it
was going to charge fees of more than £25
 That the council did not keep proper records of
costs and fees for each type of licence
 That fees were in excess of costs
What is recoverable?
 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions)Act
1976
 Ensure adoption
 Drivers S53 “Issue & Administration”
 Vehicles & Operators S70 “vehicle inspections, HC
stands, Administration, Control and Supervision
Drivers
 Issue –
 The action of supplying or distributing an item for
use, sale, or official purposes
 Administration –
 The arrangements and tasks needed to control the
operation of a plan or organisation
Issue & Administration
 Determination of Application
Application form – fee, processing, photographs
Medical – verification with GP’s
CRB – checking documents, courier costs etc.
Panel Hearings – reports, member services,
Councillors, legal
 Computer Inputting
 DVLA mandate
 Production of paper licenses and badges
 Court Appeals




Vehicles
 Inspections of hackney carriage and private hire
vehicles; grant or renewal
 The reasonable cost of providing hackney
carriage stands
 Any reasonable administrative or other costs in
connection with the foregoing and with the control
and supervision of hackney carriages and private
hire vehicles
 vehicle and operator fees over £25 must be
advertised – 28 day consultation
Expenditure
Allocation
Direct Staff
Time recording
Activity based
Number of drivers/vehicles
Indirect Staff
% of time apportioned over activity
Expenditure
Activity based
Some easily identified (plates,
MOT’s)
Support Services
•Finance
•HR
•IT
•Offices
Activity based
No of driver/vehicles/operators
•Member Service
Number of panel meetings
Officer Time
Member Allowances (Chair)
Setting Fees
Private
Hire
Driver
Surplus/Deficit
bfwd
X
Expenditure
Y
Required
Income
X+Y
Current Income
A
%
(X+Y) - A
Increase/Decrea
se
Private
Hire
Vehicle/
Operator
Hackney
Driver
Hackney
Vehicle
Accounting
Private
Hire
Driver
B/fwd (+/-)
Income
Expenditure
Direct Staffing
Transport
Supplies &
Services
Support
Services
Surplus/Deficit
Private
Hire
Vehicle/
Operator
Hackney
Driver
Hackney
Vehicle
QUESTIONS
Lynn Anders
Business Advisor
Knowsley Solutions
0151 443 3658
[email protected]
CIPFA NW Audit Group

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