Licensing Standards Newsletter - July 2015

Welcome and useful contacts

Welcome to our July 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 Board Team for information on licensing applications; applying for a licence or for an update on your licensing application.

Newsletter’s Birthday!

The newsletter is one year old this month and we currently have 153 subscribers.

We have written to all licensed premises in Argyll and Bute this month highlighting the existence of the newsletter hopefully to sign up more subscribers.  The letter also covers the thorny subject of personal licence refresher training and highlights the two stage process to satisfy legislation.  Unfortunately we are still seeing personal licences being revoked at licensing board meetings because both stages are not being completed.

Licensing Standards Licensees Advice Pack

The Licensing Standards Advice Pack has been produced to assist new and existing Premises Licence Holders and Designated Premises Managers (DPMs) in running their premises in compliance with the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, and includes specimen statutory notices for display on licensed premises. 

 ’Legal Highs’ and licensed events

The Scottish Government and the Home Office have published the Psychoactive Substance Bill 2015 which will create a blanket ban on ‘legal highs’ from April 2016. In the meantime the Scottish Government has requested that licensing authorities include a condition in granted Public Entertainment licences and Occasional Licences banning such ‘legal highs’ at all music festivals and similar events and to require festival organisers to use their best endeavours to keep ‘legal highs’ out.  The Argyll and Bute Licensing Board is aware of the forthcoming legislation and supports the Scottish Government’s request and may include conditions similar to the following depending on the event to be licensed:

“Psychoactive Substances (‘Legal Highs’) -

The applicant will have a written policy in place on dealing with ‘legal highs which will include:

  • Reference in all promotional materials advising that ‘legal highs’ are banned;
  • Notices at all entrances to the event advising that ‘legal highs’ are banned;
  • Preventing the sale of ‘legal highs’ by banning such vendors from site;
  • Consensual searches by SIA Stewards of event-goers with any drugs finds being reported to Police Scotland; and
  • Refusal of admission for those who do not agree to consensual search;

You can also view the Scottish Government’s New Psychoactive Substances Expert Review Group’s Report 

Music in Licensed Premises – licensee fined

We covered the licensing of music played in licensed premises in our April Licensing Standards Newsletter.  You may have seen the recent article in The Publican’s Morning Advertiser article dated 30th June 2015, reporting on the fine imposed on a licensee for playing music without a PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) licence.   If not please take time to look at the article now and make sure that if you are playing music in your premises that it is legal.  You can access the article here –

Publican’s Morning Advertiser – “Nightclub Owner faces £20K fine and suspended prison sentence.

Revaluation of non-domestic property rates

The Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute Valuation Joint Board is writing to all non-domestic properties to advise that a revaluation is scheduled and will come into force on the 1st April 2017. This will be the first revaluation since April 2010 and the Valuation Joint Board encourages you to complete and return the questionnaire that accompanies their correspondence.

Any questions should be directed to The Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute Valuation Joint Board, Kilbrannan House, Bolgam Street, Campbeltown, PA28 6HZ, telephone 01586 555300 Fax 01586 552883.  You can also visit the Scottish Assessors website for more information.

Frequently asked questions

Q. I am hosting a wedding reception in my hotel.  Is the capacity recorded in my operating plan the maximum or can I exceed this number to accommodate all who are attending?

A. In the document Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 – Guidance for Licensing Boards published in 2007, prior to the introduction of the 2005 Act, the Scottish Government advised at paragraph 61 in the Guidance - 

“...that, for the purposes of the overprovision assessment, the operating capacity of licensed premises should be determined by local authority building standards officers. Any operating capacity figure that is determined should only be used for the purposes of overprovision under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and for no other purposes...”

That said, before a premises licence will be issued, the applicant must submit a Building Standards Certificate of Suitability  under Section 50 of the 2005 Act, which will verify, among other things, the premises suitability as a safe place for the public to resort.  This will include operating and maximum occupancy figures.  So the capacity of any licensed premises is set by regulations and cannot be exceeded.

Further information on Building Standards regulations can be obtained from the Council’s Planning & Building Standards here.

Q. How do I get a Personal Licence and what are my duties as a holder?

A. Full details of personal licence requirements can be found here.  In summary to gain a personal licence you must sit a Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) accredited personal licence training course; then submit your training certificate from the course to the licensing board who will issue you with a personal licence which will last 10 years and every 5 years you must sit personal licence refresher training.

Your responsibilities as a personal licence holder include - the authorisation and supervision of staff in the sale of alcohol; overseeing age verification requirements; while working on licensed premises the production of your licence to a constable or LSO; advising the Board of any change of details, such as name or address; and advising the Board of any convictions during the currency of your licence

Personal licence refresher training and accredited trainers

The refreshing of personal licences is an ongoing process and you can read information on refresher training and local accredited trainers.

Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) is providing refresher training courses at its Glasgow offices on Tuesday 4th August and Tuesday 1st September 2015.  Further information and contact details.

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.

Legal Advice

Licensing Standards does not provide legal advice or opinion and the above information should not be considered such.  Any legal advice or opinion on licensing matters should be obtained from a licensing solicitor.