Licensing Standards Newsletter - December 2014

Welcome and useful contacts

Welcome to the 5th edition of our newsletter, published a little earlier than usual due to the Festive Holiday. 

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.  

Contacts: 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. 

Licensing Board Hearings Dates - 2015

The dates of The Argyll and Bute Licensing Board hearings have been published on the Council website and can be found here.  The next meeting of the licensing board is 17th February 2015, with the last lodging date for applications being 6th January 2015.

Licensing Board Minutes

Find licensing board minutes from 2012 to present.We will update the newsletter when new minutes are published. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

Q. I am applying for a premises licence and have been told I need a premises manager.  Is this correct?

A. Yes.  The 2005 Act requires there to be a suitably qualified personal licence holder as Designated Premises Manager (DPM) for the premises (licensed clubs are exempt) whose details are recorded on the premises licence and premises operating plan.  The role of the DPM is to authorise the sale of alcohol on the premises.  There is no requirement for the DPM to be present for every sale of alcohol, but the licensing board expects this to be a hands-on role where the DPM will provide a significant presence in the effective running of the premises.

Q. Can my staff and I drink on the premises after hours?  No money will change hands; it’s just a wee thank you for all their hard work in the run up to Christmas.

A.  No. Section 63(2)(a) of the 2005 Act makes it an offence to consume alcohol in licensed premises outwith core trading hours.  So, if your premises core hours were say 11:00am to 1:00am, it would be unlawful to drink on the premises before 11:00am and after 1:00am. 

Q. Is it against the law to sell alcohol to service personnel in uniform?

A.  No.  Under the old 1976 Act a licensee committed an offence if alcohol was sold to a police officer (no mention being made of other service personnel or fire or ambulance officers).  This restriction did not carry over to the current 2005 Act, and the onus lies in each service regulations on whether personnel are allowed to drink in licensed premises in uniform.  That said it is always advisable to have a house policy, which staff are fully aware of, on whether your premises will allow the sale of alcohol to service personnel in uniform.

Revocation of Personal Licences

On Wednesday 10th December 2014 the Argyll and Bute Licensing Board held a special meeting to revoke the personal licences of personal licence holders who either did not sit the refresher training within the statutory timescale, or having sat the refresher training, failed to submit their pass certificate to the licensing board within the deadline of 30th November 2014.  The licensing board had no discretion in this as this procedure is a requirement of the 2005 Act.

In total, 387 personal licences were revoked.  Included in this total, were 5 personal licences of Designated Premises Managers, which will have the added effect of these premises may have to ceasing to sell alcohol unless a suitably qualified personal licence holder can be substituted as premises manager.

This “ticking Time Bomb” as it has been called has been extensively covered over the last two years in the national media and trade publications and by eminent licensing solicitors Jack Cummins and Stephen McGowan, through their regular online blogs and Twitter.  We too have been advising for some time through our web page and our monthly newsletters.

As personal licences are being revoked across Scotland, and let’s not forget, these licence holders are now barred for 5 years from applying for a new personal licence, we again urge personal licence holders to ensure they are fully aware of the regulations and check the dates on their licences so there are no surprises when the date for training arrives.

Occasional Licence Applications – Definition of Voluntary Organisation

At the same meeting of the licensing board on Wednesday 10th December 2014, the Board decided to exclude political parties from the definition of voluntary organisations for the purpose of applications for occasional licences.  This means that any political party wishing to include the sale of alcohol at any event on unlicensed premises will have to seek out a premises licence holder or personal licence holder to apply for the licence on behalf of the political party.  The requirements for application of an occasional licence can be found here and the definition of a voluntary organisation can be found in annex 4 to the Argyll and Bute Licensing Board policy statement 2013 - 2016

Personal Licence Refresher Training and Accredited Trainers

This will remain a standing item meantime and further information can be found here.     

For those personal licence holders who are due to undergo refresher training, Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) has published dates of refresher training courses to be held at its Glasgow offices for the period 17th February 2015 to 9th June 2015.  Find further information and contact details.Should you wish to enrol on a local course, our local trainers list remains the same:

Season’s Greetings

Licensing Standards wish all the very best of the Season and the next Newsletter will be published late January 2015.

That’s it for 2014

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