Licensing Standards Newsletter – April 2015

Welcome and useful contacts

Welcome to our April newsletter.  The newsletter is free and if you want to receive it direct to your inbox, simply sign up for an account and select 'licensing newsletter' from the red box, or access it from our Licensing Standards page on the Council website.  

Contact Eric Dearie or Raymond Park for licensing standards advice and information, or  the licensing team to apply for a licence or for an update on a licensing application.

Premises Inspections: 2015/2016

Our 2015/2016 inspections programme commenced this month and those premises to be inspected will be notified in due course as usual.  We are also carrying out a programme of unannounced visits to a number of premises throughout the area this year where spot checks  will be made.  The quality of record keeping in relation to staff training records will be checked and as always we will be looking for evidence of the syllabus used to carry out the training.

We will also be visiting the islands of Coll, Colonsay, Gigha, Islay, Lismore, Luing, and Mull and  premises being visited will be given advanced notice in due course.

Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill

You may already be aware of this piece of legislation currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament which includes changes to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. 

The latest committee report - “The 3rd Report, 2015 (Session 4) of Stage 1 Report on the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill” - was released in March. 

The full report can be viewed here.    

Part 2: Alcohol Licensing covers various aspects of current legislation and provides recommendations in the following areas:

  • Licensing Objectives
  • Supplying alcohol to children or young people
  • Personal licences: grant, duration and renewal  
  • Statements of licensing policy: licensing policy periods
  • Occasional licences 
  • Members clubs 
  • Home deliveries and the licensing hours 
  • Additional enforcement powers - gambling premises 

The Perils of the ‘Lock-in’

The Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter newspaper of 19th March 2015 reported on an incident where the police found persons drinking within a licensed club in Dumbarton at 1:50am.  The premises were meant to close at Midnight.  The premises manager was charged with allegedly allowing drinking on the premises out with permitted hours.  If found guilty he could face a fine of up to £1,000.  The Club’s licence and the manager’s personal licence were both reviewed by the West Dunbartonshire licensing Board.  The Club received a written warning and no action was taken against the manager.

So what does the law say? 

A person commits an offence if, outwith licensed hours, the person –

a)    sells alcohol, or allows alcohol to be sold, on licensed premises,

b)    allows alcohol to be consumed on licensed premises, or

c)    allows alcohol to be taken from licensed premises.

There are a few exceptions to the above but a ‘lock-in’ is not one of them.

The newspaper article can be viewed here.

Music in Licensed Premises – What’s the Score?

On our regular visits to licensed premises around the area there is invariably live or recorded music playing.  Music is an integral part of the hospitality sector, but is the music playing legal?  Do you need any licences to play music on your premises, and if so which ones?

Firstly, your premises licence operating plan must have Yes recorded for the activities ‘Recorded Music’ and/or ‘Live Performances’ depending on how the music is played on your premises, and if you are providing dancing this must be authorised too.

Secondly, you will probably require licences from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), who collect and distribute money on behalf of the record companies and performers and from the Performing Rights Society (PRS), who collect and distribute money on behalf of the authors, songwriters, composers and publishers.  Failure to obtain these licences could lead to legal proceedings for infringement of copyright.

So if you are not already licensed we strongly advise you contact the licensing board here to vary your premises licence and contact PPL here and the PRS here to find out more about music licences.

As an aside you may have read recently in the trade papers about the deregulation of pub entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003.  This deregulation applies only to licensed premises in England and Wales which are covered by the 2003 Act. 

 Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  I am hoping to start up a wine business where I will bottle and sell the wine direct to the trade.  Will I need a licence to sell this alcohol?

 A.  If you are selling exclusively to trade outlets and there is no retail business (you are not selling to the public), then you do not need to be licensed under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.  You may need to make a food registration with Environmental Health and seek advice from Trading Standards on weights and measures and HMRC on wine trade regulations.   Further information on the production and distribution of wine can also be obtained from the Food Standards Agency   

 Q. I run a rural pub and trade is very slack during the week and during the winter months.  I’ve heard the Licensing Board has a policy on seasonal variations.  Could you please give me some information on this?

A. Firstly, the licensing board has made it clear in its policy document that it expects premises to trade for the full core hours granted.  So, for example, if your core hours are 11:00am to 1:00am, there is the expectation that you will trade for these hours.  The licensing board does allow for seasonal variations to be written into operating plans, but only in the following terms:

‘The management reserves the right to open the business one hour later than the commencement of licensed core hours or close one hour earlier than termination of core hours on any day of the week during the winter months, i.e. 1st October to 31st March.’

If you don’t already have this seasonal variation statement recorded on your operating plan you should apply to the licensing board for a major variation so that it can be included.  If you wish to reduce your hours on a permanent basis you should submit a minor variation application requesting an amendment to your operating plan to reflect the new hours.

You can read the Licensing Board policy document here and licensing hours can be found under Section 8.4 on page 15.

Q. I know that pubs have 15 minutes drinking up time,  is it different for restaurants?

A. The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, Section 63(2)(e) covers this and states that where alcohol is sold during licensed hours, along with a meal and for consumption at the meal then alcohol can be consumed up to 30 minutes at the end of licensed hours

Personal licence refresher training and accredited trainers

The refreshing of personal licences in an ongoing process and information on refresher training and local accredited trainers can be found here.Also, Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) is providing refresher training courses at its Glasgow offices from 17th February 2015 to 9th June 2015.  Find further information and contact details here.

That’s it for now


Do you need more information?  Or maybe you would like a licensing topic included in the next edition - contact us.