Licensing Standards Newsletter - March 2015

Welcome and useful contacts

Welcome to our March newsletter.  The newsletter is free and if you want to receive it direct to your inbox, simply sign up for an accountand 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.

Age Verification

The newsletter this month will look at age verification and ID requirements in licensed premises. 

As you will be all too aware, age verification now plays a big part in the sale of alcohol in Scotland, with the Alcohol Etc. (Scotland) Act 2010 placing the requirement for an age verification policy in licensed premises on a statutory footing.  Below are details of the 2010 Alcohol Act and Challenge 25, and an item from Roanna Clark, Argyll and Bute Young Scot Co-ordinator, giving and an insight into Young Scot and the PASS identification scheme in Scotland.

Age Verification Policy in Licensed Premises

From 1st October 2011, The Alcohol Etc. (Scotland) Act 2010 introduced a new mandatory condition for all premises licences and occasional licences requiring that there must be an age verification policy on the premises in relation to the sale of alcohol.  The law has set a minimum age of 25 years for the policy where it appears to the person selling the alcohol that the customer may be under the age of 25 years.

As a result of this change in the law, customers in any premises in Scotland licensed for the sale of alcohol, including pubs, clubs, restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores may be asked to produce identification where they appear under the age of twenty-five to prove that they are over the age of eighteen and can lawfully purchase alcohol.

It is the responsibility of the premises licence holder and premises manager to ensure staff awareness of the age verification policy.

Refusals Register - although not a legal requirement of the 2005 Act it is considered good practice to record refusals to sell alcohol in a refusals register or refusals book.  The keeping of such a register or book also shows that the premises licence holder has an effective system in place for checking ages of those presenting to purchase alcohol where there is concern that they may be underage.   

Challenge 25 and Acceptable ID

You will agree that the ability to determine the age of young people has become increasingly difficult over the years. This has led to problems for both retailers and young people when trying to purchase and sell age related goods.  Only the production of proof of age documents specified by law will satisfy the purpose of the age verification policy.  With effect from 1st October 2013, these are:

  • A Passport;
  • A European Union photocard driving licence;
  • A Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card);
  • A photographic identity card bearing the national Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) hologram;
  • A national identity card issued by a European Union member state (other than the United Kingdom), Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland; or
  • A Biometric Immigration Document

The website gives excellent information about the law and what you should do to make sure you comply.  The website also has a library of specimen documents and posters for use on your premises.  Simply download them.

Young Scot and the Promotion of PASS in Scotland

Roanna Clark, Argyll and Bute Young Scot Co-ordinator, has asked that we include an item on Young Scot and the promotion of the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) in Scotland.



The Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) is the UK’s national proof of age card accreditation scheme which aims to create a common standard and an easily recognisable identity to help protect sellers of age restricted goods and services from fraudulent proof of age cards. Only card schemes which meet the very strict audit requirements of the PASS Board are allowed to issue cards bearing the PASS hologram.

Young Scot PASS

The Young Scot National Entitlement Card (NEC) and local Young Scot Card, which includes the PASS hologram, is a free multi-application smartcard for all young people living in Scotland aged 11-26. The cards were created by the Scottish Government in partnership with all 32 local authorities, the Improvement Service, Transport Scotland, Young Scot and other key partners with the aim of making it quicker and easier for young people to access services (such as cashless catering, library/leisure membership, discounts and transport concessions) using one card rather than many. The Young Scot NEC is the largest PASS card scheme in Scotland with over 580,000 cardholders aged 11 to 26.

Young people use the proof of age facility of the card not only for buying the usual goods and services associated with age restrictions, but also for lifestyle items like going to the cinema to see “12” or “15” films, buying age classified DVDs and computer games, and also getting discounted fares on public transport. When questioned about using their cards, young people cite the proof of age element as one of the most important services on their cards.

hologram on National Entitlement and Young Scot Card

Promoting PASS in Scotland

Young Scot cards with the PASS hologram have been on issue in Scotland for over ten years, and during this time substantial strides have been made to raise the awareness and acceptance levels of PASS cards by sellers of age restricted goods and services.

The following statutory legislation supports the Young Scot PASS proof of age card as an acceptable proof of age card: Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, Alcohol etc (Scotland) Licensing Act 2010, Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Sale of Tobacco Regulations (Scotland) 2010, no 406. The legislation states that providing a licensee undergoes “due diligence” in checking the proof of age they cannot be prosecuted if they subsequently serve an underage person. Asking for and accepting a card with a PASS hologram with the correct photo and date of birth is exercising due diligence.         

Please note that due to the rigorous application process there are absolutely no fake Young Scot cards in circulation. Additionally, no-one has ever been prosecuted for accepting a card containing a PASS hologram and virtually every failed test purchase is a failure to askfor proof of age. Any attempt to tamper with an official document including the Young Scot PASS proof of age is a criminal offence and anyone found attempting to do so is liable for prosecution.


For more information, or if you would like support to carry out some local activities to support the promotion of PASS, please contact:

David McNeill, Entitlements & Rewards Director

T: 0131 313 2488 and E:

Roanna Clark, Argyll and Bute Young Scot Co-ordinator

T: 01546 604752 and E:

Visit the Young Scot Website – Argyll and Bute - Pages

Frequently Asked Questions  

Q. Can you tell me if I am required to check ID for the same person every time they try to buy alcohol on my premises?

A. Common sense should prevail here.  If you have carried out age verification procedures and the person requested to prove their age has done so, then there is no need to request ID every time they want to buy alcohol on your premises.  That said, you will need to make other staff aware so as not to replicate the ID requirement each time the person wants to buy alcohol on the premises. 

Q. My business is online sales of alcohol.  I don’t sell to the public in a shop.  Will I still need an age verification policy?

A. No.Condition 9A(3) attached to every premises licence advises that the Age Verification Policy does not apply to remote sales of alcohol.  It should be stressed, however, that although an Age Verification Policy need not be in place for the premises where remote sales are despatched, Section 102 (“Sale of alcohol to a child or young persons”) andSection 108 (“Delivery of alcohol by or to a child or young person”) of the 2005 Act still make it an offence to sell or deliver alcohol to persons under 18 years of age.  So you will need to ensure the courier service delivering your alcohol is aware of the requirements of the 2005 Act and only delivers the alcohol to persons 18 years of age or over.

Q.  Can I employ a child or young person in my licensed premises?

A.  Yes.  Provided certain requirements are met by the premises licence holder, the employment of children and young persons on licensed premises is acceptable.  This topic was fully discussed in our in our September 2014 Newsletter which can be accessed here.   

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.  

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.

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