UPDATE: How the 'Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill' Affects Your Business

The Bill is slowly progressing through the parliamentary process, with the latest House of Lords Committee Hearing taking place earlier this month.

 

The Bill is expected to become law in late 2012 or early 2013.

 

There will be implications for all operators, not just financial, but also in terms of the day to day operation of their premises. This note is a brief update on the present position of the elements of the Bill that apply to the licensing regime.

1.  An increased role for local communities, with a shift from central to local

Licensing Authority power to set fees

-  Procedure and amounts to be subject to consultation, and there will be a cap.

Payment of annual fee

-  Licensing authorities to be given the power to suspend a Premises Licence if the annual fee is not paid within a set time limit, probably 21 days, on giving 48 hours' notice.

-  Closure to remain in force until the fees are paid in full.

Licensing authorities to be "responsible authorities" in their own right

-  Able to make representations against new licence applications, and to initiate review proceedings.

Primary Care Trusts and local Health Boards to become "responsible authorities"

-  As above, to be given the power to make representations and initiate review proceedings.

-  Note: health per se is not a licensing objective, so the grounds still have to relate to public safety/prevention of public nuisance/protection of children/prevention of crime and disorder.

Widening of definition of "interested parties"

-  To include anyone who lives or operates a business within the licensing authority's area. An interested party may make a representation about premises a considerable distance away from home.

Early morning alcohol restriction orders

-  Extension to the timescale in which a licensing authority may impose such an order to any time between 12 midnight and 6am. (Order imposed if necessary to promote the licensing objectives).

Late night levy

-  Fee to be paid to the licensing authority by any premises supplying alcohol between 12 midnight and 6am.

-  Procedures and implications were hotly debated in the House of Lords committee hearing earlier this month.

2.  Overhaul of Temporary Event Notices

        -  Application to be served on Environmental Health Authority as well as on the police.

-  Objections may be based on any of the licensing objectives, not just prevention of crime and disorder.

-  Changes to time limits on the duration of the individual TEN and service period of TEN application.

3.  Greater protection for children

        -  Increase in fine for persistent selling to children to £20,000.

-  Power for closure notices to be served by Trading Standards officers or the police.

4. Reduction in the bureaucracy of the licensing system

Policy statements

-  Licensing authorities to review their statements of licensing policy every five years, instead of the present three.

 

Further updates are to follow shortly.