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Licensing Alcohol and Entertainment FAQs

What is the purpose of the Licensing Act 2003?

The main aim of the Act was to modernise the legislation governing the sale and supply of alcohol and control of public entertainment. Responsibility for licensing personnel and premises transferred from Magistrates and became the sole responsibility of Local Authorities in England and Wales.

What are the aims of the licensing regime?

There are four licensing objectives that local authorities are under a duty to promote. These are:-

  • The prevention of crime and disorder
  • Public safety
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • The protection of children from harm

What are licensable activities?

Activities that are covered are :-

  • the sale of alcohol by retail
  • the supply of alcohol to club members and their guests
  • the provision of regulated entertainment
  • the provision of late night refreshment

What is Regulated Entertainment?

Subject to qualifying conditions and exemptions the definition states that it is:-

  • A performance of a play
  • An exhibition of a film
  • An indoor sporting event
  • A boxing or wrestling entertainment (indoors or outdoors)
  • A performance of live music
  • Any playing of recorded music
  • A performance of a dance
  • Entertainment of similar description to that falling within the performance of live music, the playing of recorded music and the performance of dance

Does the Act cover entertainment outdoors?

Yes, the definition of premises given in clause 188 states that it means any place and includes a vehicle, vessel or moveable structure. Unlike the old system, outdoor entertainment (or any other licensable activity) can take place on either private or public land and still require a licence.

What is late night refreshment?

Late night refreshment, and the exemptions, are defined in the Act. It is worth remembering that because the definition of premises includes vehicles, a burger van which has regular pitches will require a premises licence for each of these.

What about application forms and fees?

Detailed information including the licensing regulations, application forms, fees etc is available on the website of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

What is a Statement of Licensing Policy?

The Licensing Act requires that each Licensing Authority must determine its policy with respect to the exercise of its Licensing functions and this Statement of Licensing Policy must be published. The Authority must consult on the policy and during each three year period keep the policy under review and make revisions to it. A copy of Birmingham City Councils Statement of Licensing Policy is available on this website.

What is a personal licence?

This is a portable licence granted by the local (licensing) authority of residence to an individual enabling the right to sell alcohol at any premise licensed for the sale of alcohol.

How long is it valid?

10 years. Then the licence holder re-applies to the authority which originally issued the licence irrespective of where they live now.

Are there any qualification requirements for personal licences?

Yes, there is a requirement for new personal licence holders to take a qualification approved by the Secretary of State.

What is an Operating Schedule?

The operating schedule is a mandatory requirement of a Premises Licence application. It must be submitted with the application, and include details such as descriptive information about the premises, a statement of the proposed relevant licensable activities, details of any risks associated with the location, size, opening hours, controls on capacity, soundproofing, door supervisors etc.

Are there any other exemptions?

Yes: moving vehicles on the public Highway, live television broadcasts and spontaneous music and singing.

What is a temporary event notice?

A notification enabling the temporary sale of alcohol or the provision of regulated entertainment or late night refreshment at premises not authorised by a permanent premises licence or club premises certificate.

What are the limitations on temporary event notices?

  • The maximum number of times a person (the "premises user") may give a temporary event notice is 50 times in a calendar year for those who hold a Personal Licence or 5 times in a calendar year for non - personal licence holders.
  • A maximum of 12 temporary event notices may be given in respect of a particular premise in one calendar year.
  • The maximum number of days a premises can operate under a temporary event notice is 15 days per calendar year. (Please Note: An event starting at 8pm and finishing a 2am the following morning would use up 2 of the maximum 15 days for which the premises could operate under a temporary event notice).
  • A temporary event must not exceed 96 hours in duration.
  • A maximum of 499 people can be in attendance at any one time.

Where can I find further information about the new arrangements?

You can find further information on the website of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.