Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Leaflet Licence Call In motion published

The Call In Overview and Scrutiny Committee will now be held at a later date due to a technical issue regarding the timing.

This is the Liberal Democrat motion:

Item heading 11. Control of distribution of free literature on designated land
(1) The report does not quote the relevant passage of the act, nor explain that interpretation of the act would be a matter for the courts.
(2) The report does not explain the evidence base for the problem. There should be a context paragraph explaining why they think the problem will get so much worse, why existing measures are inadequate and what action other London boroughs are taking.
(3) The report should either time limit these powers or make explicit that they are being requested permanently. At the moment the report implies they are just for the Olympic period from the way it is worded.
(4) The issue of enforcement, in particular the circumstances which would lead to action by council officers, is unclear.
(5) Equalities issues are dealt with inadequately: for example many small businesses in Brent are owned by members of particular ethnic minorities and small non-commercial group which are not charities or political organisations may be disproportionately affected given the level of fees proposed.
(6) The report does not sufficiently make clear whether small organisations which are not charities or political organisations and do not cause litter will be compelled to take out licenses and risk fines. 

Actions the Executive could take:

Clarify how the controls will be enforced and who they will affect.
Consider whether further information is needed about the equalities impacts of the decision
Recommend that if the council goes ahead with the proposal it should consult on and adopt a code of practice for enforcement of the controls, including guidance as to how officers will use their discretion, particularly in the case of small unlicensed distributors (commercial and non-commercial) who are not causing littering.

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