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Licensing Alcohol, Entertainment & Late Night Refreshment

Anyone who wishes to sell or supply alcohol, provide regulated entertainment and/or provide late night refreshment on a temporary or permanent basis must comply with the Licensing Act 2003.
This page tells you more about the act and provides useful links, including a link to the act itself.


The Licensing Act 2003 replaced previous licensing legislation controlling; public entertainments, late night refreshment houses, theatres and cinemas and introduced licensing of late night takeaways including mobiles. The Act paved the way for the licensing of alcohol sales to be transferred from the Magistrates Court to the Local Council and made provision for local authorities to act as the licensing authority within their boundaries.

Detailed information including the licensing regulations, application forms, fees etc. is available on the website of the Home Office.

Under the legislation the Licensing Authority is required, after relevant consultation, to issue a Statement of Licensing Policy and you can view a copy of the Statement of Licensing Policy for Birmingham City Council on this website. The policy must be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is updated and consistent with the licensing objectives.

The Act states that persons and/or premises that conduct certain activities will be required to obtain a licence from the Council. The activities that are covered include;

The sale of alcohol by retail;

The supply of alcohol to club members and their guests;

The provision of regulated entertainment;
"Regulated entertainment" is defined as any of the following which take place in the presence of an audience for the entertainment of that audience and are provided for members of the public or a section of the public or exclusively for the members of a qualifying club and/or their guests or for consideration and with a view to profit:

a) A performance of a play;
b) An exhibition of a film;
c) An indoor sporting event;
d) Boxing or wrestling;
e) A performance of dance;
f) A performance of live music (subject to certain exemptions - for further information please see Live Music Act 2012);
g) Playing of recorded music.
(There are certain exemptions from this definition which are set out in the Act).

Please note that performances by children are governed by the Children and Young Persons Acts 1933 and 1963, and the Children (Performances) Regulations 1968.

If children are to perform as part of any regulated entertainment then permission maybe required from the Education Welfare Service.

You can find further details by viewing the Children in Entertainment page.

The provision of late night refreshment.
Late night refreshment is defined under the Act as the supply of hot food or drink to the public or a section of the public on or from any premises whether for the consumption on or off the premises (mobile units included) between 11pm and 5am. This requirement includes takeaways, restaurants and place like garages or service stations that sell hot food.

A Premises Licence authorises the holder of the licence to use their premises for any of the above-mentioned licensable activities. Operating conditions may be attached to the premises licence, promoting the licensing objectives which are;

The prevention of crime and disorder;

Public safety;

The prevention of public nuisance;

The protection of children from harm.

Unless a limited duration is specified in the operating conditions, a premises licence will be valid indefinitely, unless revoked, lapsed or surrendered. An annual fee is payable on the anniversary of the grant of each licence.

Other licences required under the Licensing Act 2003 include Club Premises Certificate - for supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to its members for consumption on the premises or for the provision of regulated entertainment by the club for its members and guests.

A Temporary Event Notice - for the use of premises for one or more licensable activities for a period of up to 168 hours or 7 days for up to 499 people.

A Personal Licence authorises individuals to sell or supply alcohol for consumption on or off the premises for which a premises licence is in force. A personal licence is valid for 10 years.

For more information on Licensing arrangements please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page.

For further information please use the Licensing General Enquiry Form or contact the General Licensing Team - see contact us page.