A high proportion of licensed premises across Argyll and Bute are failing to comply with relevant legislation.
A programme of visits by the council’s licensing standards team has revealed a startling level of non-compliance with the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
The situation is made even more serious by the fact that all premises were written to advising that a visit would be taking place. The letter detailed the areas which would be looked at during the inspection and provided advice and guidance on the Act’s requirements – including draft statutory notices which they could display if they were not already doing so.
In the event, just 12 of the 92 premises visited were fully compliant with the legislation, leaving 80 needing remedial action.
Councillor Daniel Kelly, chair of Argyll and Bute’s Licensing Board, said he was shocked by the failures, and would have no hesitation in urging the Board to review the licenses of any premises which failed to take all reasonable steps to adhere to the law.
“It is extremely disappointing that despite the efforts of our licensing team in supporting licensed premises across the area, it appears that many of them are failing to comply with the basic legislation,” he said.
“The feedback I am getting is that most of this non-compliance is not wilful, but rather the result of ignorance of the requirements. This is not an acceptable excuse. Not only have all these licensees had ample opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Act, but also all have received information and support from our officers in how best to comply with it.
“It is shocking that 87% of those businesses inspected – who all knew well in advance that the inspection would be taking place – are failing in their duties as licensed premises.”
The criteria under which the premises were tested included the display of various statutory notices, staff training/knowledge, security and children and young persons’ policies.
Councillor Kelly said: “Licensing standards officers will now embark on an enforcement strategy – informing all licensees of the findings and providing advice and instruction regarding the areas identified as requiring further attention.
“The premises which failed these initial inspections will then be revisited to ensure that they have rectified the situation, and we will also be visiting other licensed outlets which have yet to be inspected.
“As part of this strategy, licensees should be in no doubt that compliance notices will be issued if necessary, and that they could well find themselves up before the Licensing Board if they continue to flout the law.”