(Link to Council Priorities: Character and Environment and Community Wellbeing)
Given that the Council was the licensing authority for the purposes of the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act), a Statement of Policy was required to be produced every 3 years in order to set out the principles that the Council would apply in carrying out its functions under the Act.
Given that a full review of the Policy was unable to be undertaken prior to its expiry in December 2019, in order to comply with its duty to publish a policy at least every three years, the Council agreed to continue using its existing policy in order to carry on exercising the Council’s licensing functions.
A comprehensive review had since been undertaken by Officers and the Committee considered a report that proposed a number of revisions to the existing policy. The changes aimed to strengthen measures to uphold public safety, to protect people in the Community who may be at a greater risk of vulnerability to gambling harm, and to safeguard children and vulnerable adults. In addition, the existing policy would be reformatted to improve the layout and readability of the document. A summary of the key changes had been provided at Appendix 2 to the report.
Given that there were a number of substantive changes, it was proposed that a consultation period of 12 weeks be undertaken to enable full engagement with key stakeholders. This would include online consultation and involve direct contact with existing gambling operators and statutory consultees including Surrey Police. Furthermore, following the consultation, officers would analyse the responses received in order to prepare the local area profile which had been mentioned as a significant change in Appendix 2 to the report. Once finalised, a report would be presented for consideration at the Licensing Committee in November 2020 and subsequently to Council for adoption in December 2020.
During consideration of the report, one Member highlighted that there was a typographical error in paragraph 5.37 of the Statement of Licensing Policy as at Appendix A to the report whereby the last sentence was not complete. In this regard, the Principal Licensing Officer explained that an amendment would be made to correct this.
One Member commented that within Chapter 2 of the Statement of Licensing Policy as at Appendix A to the report and in particular at paragraph 2.4 it mentioned a ‘Surrey County Council Safeguarding Unit’ however this unit was not in existence and in this regard the Member considered that the terminology should be ‘Surrey County Council Safeguarding Services’. Furthermore, the Member noted that although the Policy stated that Surrey County Council was the designated body in respect of safeguarding children there was nothing in the policy to reflect the Council’s responsibility in this regard at the Borough level. In response, the Principal Licensing Officer explained that an amendment would be made to reflect the ‘Surrey County Council Safeguarding Services’ rather than ‘Unit’ and that a paragraph could be added within the first section of the Policy in respect of the Councils responsibility, at a local level, in respect of safeguarding children in accordance with the Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 statutory guidance and associated legislation.
The Member further enquired whether there was a need for the policy to contain reference to Miners’ Welfare Clubs given that, to his knowledge, there were not any within the Borough. The Principal Licensing Officer advised that this wording was taken from the legislation which set out the specific requirements and therefore whilst there may not be any of these clubs within the Borough it was simply reflecting the legislation and therefore had been included within the Policy.
Following consideration of the report, a recorded vote was taken on each recommendation as outlined in the agenda, whereupon there voted:
For Recommendation (a) subject to the amendments highlighted above:
Ms. R. Ahmed, M. Axton, A.P. Burley, A. Coomes, Mrs. C.J. Cross,
B. Fairbank, A. Kelly, D.J. Lewis, M. Rollings, Mrs. J.R. Turner and
R.C.J. Williams (11)
Against the recommendation: (0)
[Unfortunately, during the recorded vote, A.H. Kopitko was not present virtually whilst it was being undertaken.]
For Recommendation (b): Ms. R. Ahmed, M. Axton, A.P. Burley, A. Coomes, Mrs. C.J. Cross, B. Fairbank, A. Kelly, D.J. Lewis, M. Rollings, Mrs. J.R. Turner and R.C.J. Williams (11)
Against the recommendation: (0)
Abstentions: During the recorded vote A.H. Kopitko returned virtually to the meeting however given that he had been unable to hear the discussion on the recommendation, he agreed to abstain against voting (1)
The Chairman declared the recommendations as having been carried and accordingly the Licensing Committee
(a) a 12 week consultation be undertaken in respect of the Draft Gambling Statement of Licensing Policy, as outlined at Appendix 1 to the report; and
(b) the responses to the consultation and any proposed changes to the Draft Policy be reported back to the Licensing Committee on 2 November 2020.