Home Office issues guidance on personal licence renewals

By Ellie Bothwell contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Licence, License, Royal assent

Licensees will need to enclose their existing licence along with the application form
Licensees will need to enclose their existing licence along with the application form
The Home Office has published guidance outlining how publicans need to renew personal licences, but has not yet provided the new application form or set a date for when the deregulation of the licences will come into force.

The Government confirmed publicans with personal licences expiring early next year will need to complete and submit a new application form, including only essential information, to their local authority in order to renew.

Licensees will also need to enclose their existing licence or a copy of their existing licence, depending on the rules from their local authority. Licensing authorities have been told to acknowledge receipt of the application, but this is not required in order for the application to be valid. This is because the Licensing Act 2003 outlines that where an application for renewal is pending and has not been determined before the licence expires, the licence continues to have effect.

A Home Office official previously stated that there would be no need to provide the existing licence and the form would only be valid following a receipt from the local authority.

Application form

The form must be submitted no earlier than three months and no later than one month before their licence expires. However, it is not yet available as Parliament still needs to approve the changes to the secondary legislation.

The Government also confirmed that there will be no application fee and no need to supply photograph or a criminal record. However, licensing authorities may charge a fee of £10.50 to cover administrative costs if a personal licence holder asks for a new licence as a result of a change of name, change of address or as a result of having lost the licence.

It is still possible for publicans to renew their licence using the existing form, but this will involve paying a fee and enclosing the original personal licence, conviction disclosure and up to date photographs.

The Home Office said the Deregulation Bill, which removes the requirement to renew personal licences, is being considered by Parliament and it cannot give an exact date as to when it will come into effect. However, it has previously stated that it will receive Royal Assent no earlier than Spring 2015.

Responses

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds welcomed the guidance.

“It is vital that we have a smooth process to ensure that licences due for renewal do not lapse before new legislation takes effect. I am grateful to the Home Office for finding a solution and I am sure local authorities will co-operate with the spirit and intention behind this until the Deregulation Bill becomes an Act of Parliament,” she said. 

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers also welcomed the clarity but expressed its disappointment that a suitable solution was not found earlier.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We are pleased to see the Government has finally moved to address the uncertainty that licence holders have been facing but it is regrettable that this was not resolved much earlier.

“We have been vocal in our calls for the personal licence to be retained and the sector has been united in calling for the disregarding of renewal dates. We continue to believe that commitment from the Government confirming that renewal was not necessary until the Bill had passed would have been the simplest solution.

“What we need to see now is further clarification from the Home Office, particularly reassurance that licence holders will not be subjected to further bureaucracy. We are also concerned about the need to submit the original licence when renewing. Licence holders may face additional problems if they are forced to be without theirs for an extended period of time, particularly if they face a sudden, unexpected inspection.”

Fact Sheet for personal licence holders

Fact Sheet for personal licence holders.pdf 0.11 MB

Related topics: Licensing law

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2 comments

no definative answer

Posted by Stewart West,

When is early next year is it much to ask for a date

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Time Scale

Posted by Objective Observer,

1st reading: House of Commons 23 January, 2014 23.01.2014. This really does not bode well for those hoping for an early Royal Assent for the SC.

The Deregulation Bill has already been in the Lords for 5 months.

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