Licensing essentials: what every business-owner should know

The FIFA World Cup has put licensing in the spotlight again. The government recently announced new licensing restrictions [Embedded link:] for the tournament which starts in June.  World Cup preparations aside, licensing is an essential part of life for many businesses. We work with many business-owners and understand how complex this issue can seem. We’ve also seen the problems caused when companies fail to get licensing right. If you’re changing your business or setting up a new one, take a look at our outline of licensing essentials below. If you have a specific query or concern, don’t hesitate to contact us [Link to Contact us page]

The Licensing Act 2003

The Licensing Act 2003 has created some significant changes so it’s essential to be up to date. These changes affect anyone involved with:

  • Pubs
  • Nightclubs
  • Indoor sporting events
  • Off-licences
  • Hotels, guest houses and other places which sell alcohol
  • Restaurants serving alcohol
  • Businesses provide hot food between 11 pm and 5 am.

What is a ‘licensable activity’?

An activity which involves:

  • the retail sale of alcohol
  • the supply of alcohol in clubs
  • the provision of late night refreshment
  • The provision of regulated entertainment.

What is a premises licence?

A premises license is a license granted to authorise your premises to be used for “licensable activities”. A Premises Licence continues for the life of your business unless there are significant changes, such as insolvency or closure or if you surrender your licence.

‘Premises’ no longer means just ‘buildings’

It is important to be aware that “premises” now no longer refers just to buildings, but has a wider definition under the 2003 Act.

Who is your Designated Premises Supervisor?

Does your premises sell alcohol? If so, your premises license must name a person responsible for supervision of the premises, known as the “designated premises supervisor” (DPS). A DPS must have a personal licence and should be the nominated by the premises license holder for the role of designated supervisor. Your DPS has day-to-day responsibility for the running of the business. They will also be the main contact for your local authority and the police. They don’t have to be on site at all times, but they must be able to act as the representative of your business. They must be also contactable at all times.

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Contacting your local authority

Your local authority is responsible for providing and agreeing licences. Click here to find your local authority. [Embedded link:]

Licensing for other activities

Are you looking for a licensing for other activities? Take a look at this helpful source of information from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

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Licensing for gaming

Are you thinking about installing gaming machines? Check this overview of gaming licensing from the Gambling Commission.

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We can guide you through all the licensing requirements for your business and advise on applications and other issues. To find out more, call or email us now. [Link to Contact us page]

Written by Anthony Graham