Anyone who wishes to pursue a career in the catering and hospitality industry in England and Wales would be well advised to apply for a Personal Licence. This allows it’s holder to supply alcohol and to authorize others to also supply alcohol as long as the place that they are doing it is covered by a Premises Licence.
It is worth pointing out that a Personal Licence does not tie a person to any particular premises – the holder is free to use that licence at any place that has a Premises Licence allowing the supply of alcohol. Other benefits include the ability to be named as the Designated Premises Supervisor on a Premises Licence and also to be able to use many more Temporary Event Notices than a person who does not hold such a licence.
There are four basic requirements for anyone wanting to hold a Personal Licence to satisfy. An applicant must:
be 18 or over;
not have forfeited (ie lost by order of a court) such a licence within 5 years of the application;
hold an accredited licensing qualification;
not have been convicted of a relevant or foreign offence.
If any of requirements 1-3 are not met the application will be rejected. If requirement 4 is not met then the Police will have an opportunity to object to the application if they think it necessary. In this scenario it will be for the Licensing Committee to decide whether the licence should be granted.
If a Licensing Authority receives a properly made application from a person satisfying the above criteria then it must be granted. This article will go through the process of making the application.
There are five stages to applying for a Personal Licence.
1. Obtaining a qualification
The first stage is for the applicant to sit (and pass) an appropriate licensing qualification course. There are many companies who offer this course around the country and the course is often referred to as the Level 2 National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders. In most cases the course lasts one day with the multiple-choice exam taking place in the afternoon.
2. Criminal record check
Under the previous licensing regime if a person wanted to be named as a licensee they would have to appear in court in front of the Licensing Justices’ and show that they were a ‘fit and proper person’. Instead of this, applicants are now asked to produce a criminal record check which, hopefully, will be clean. If your criminal record check shows any offenses then you should find out whether they are considered to be ‘relevant offences or foreign offences’ that may jeopardise your application. As a rough guide, ‘relevant offences’ are any which include violence, alcohol, fraud or breach of any licensing laws but you should contact a licensing practitioner or your Licensing Authority to be sure.
Currently a very common and simple way of applying for a criminal record check is to apply for a ‘basic disclosure’ from Disclosure Scotland. They process applications within a few weeks but please note that towards the end of the summer there may be a delay as they have to process a large number of annual applications from teachers.
Please also note that for the purposes of this application the criminal record check is only valid for 28 days from the date it is issued (not the date you receive it). Therefore you should only apply for this once you have your certificate for passing the licensing qualification, otherwise you may find yourself having to reapply.
3. Application forms
There are two forms to fill in and these will be available from your Licensing Authority.
Firstly, there is the application form for the licence itself, the other is known as the ‘Disclosure of Convictions and Declaration’. The contents of these are quite straightforward and guidance notes for filling them out are available. Both should be completed in black ink and should be signed – many forms are rejected because these simple things are missed.