Related tags Personal licence holders Crooked billet License

Paul Clerehugh The Licensing Act has not been all bad, says the licensee of the Crooked Billet, Stoke Row, Oxfordshire Doesn't time fly - where has...

Paul Clerehugh

The Licensing Act has not been all bad, says the licensee of the Crooked Billet, Stoke Row, Oxfordshire

Doesn't time fly - where has 2006 gone? I can't believe the new Licensing Act is a year old already.

This is my take on the new legislation: there are many positives to the new Act - something that has surprised me when looking back at how I felt this time last year.

Historically, myself and a manager were licensees - the advent of Personal Licence Holders means I have lots of licensees. While staff training at the Crooked Billet has always been good, the necessity of Personal Licences has speeded-up and forced training, obviously beneficial to the operation and extremely motivating to staff.

A couple of whinges I had about the old system were having to go to court for transfers and special orders, and related postal paperwork such as copying letters, consulting the police and the occasional "your letter has not been received" dilemma, all now consigned to history.

Like any new legislation, procedure or system, the Act needs reviewing. I still feel uncomfortable about the designated premises supervisor (DPS) remaining on site all the time - we're all aware of the delegated and approved list of responsible names allowing the DPS to be off-site - but what happens during holiday periods? I'd be interested to see further clarification, before a landmark court case happens.

Remember the licensee in Yorkshire who had to fly back from Spain early after the police closed her pub - despite a letter from the Government confirming that licensees should not have to remain on the premises all the time. And what happens if we need to sack a DPS - a gross misconduct situation, immediately off the premises. Your ex-DPS threatens to blackmail you by going to the police and grassing you up.

Some have had difficulties in transferring a premises licence and premises plans. Also, pub alterations have caught us out because under the terms of the Act, any change requires a new application. A pub with stringent conditions on its licence will effect its saleability.

In summary, I'm positive about the new Act and its strengths outweigh its weaknesses. There are aspects the Government did not think through fully, but I don't miss sitting in court for hours for an occasional licence or extension and love having lots of motivated, qualified, knowledgeable personal licence holders to work with.

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