Poppleston Allen: Stocking fillers for the new year

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premises licence License

Limits to 'relevant entertainment'
Limits to 'relevant entertainment'
It’s that time of year where everywhere you look there are snowmen, sleigh bells and stacks of presents.

The festive season can bring a huge boost to business but come the cold, dark January nights you may find your customers feeling the pinch from Christmas spending or cutting back on alcohol consumption as part of a new year health kick.

To keep business thriving, some operators may consider using their premises to host adult entertainment performances, such as strippers, lap dancing or similar. This type of entertainment falls into the rather demurely titled ‘relevant entertainment’.

Relevant entertainment is defined as live performances and live displays of nudity, which are of such a nature that, ignoring financial gain, it must reasonably be assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purposes of sexually stimulating any member of the audience.

It covers a wide range of activities, and can include fully clothed verbal performances, where the context is sexual.

A local authority must adopt the specific provisions set out in legislation that deal with control of premises that provide relevant entertainment. Where they do, premises that put on relevant entertainment are called ‘sexual entertainment venues’ and the law requires them to be licensed as such unless they fall into an exempt category.

The primary exemption for licensed premises is where they provide only occasional relevant entertainment.

The conditions for this exemption to apply are:

  • The entertainment must not be provided on more than 11 occasions in the previous 12 months from the date of any event (wholly or in part).
  • No event may last longer than 24 hours.
  • There must be at least one month between the end of one event and the start of the next.

If you do want to host the occasional adult entertainment, there are a few things you must consider first.

  • You will need to ensure your premises licence or club premises certificate covers the activities that will occur, for example, performance of dance, live or recorded music. Although certain categories of entertainment will be deregulated next year, performances of dance, which are relevant entertainment will not be deregulated, regardless of the size of the audience or the time of day.
  • Make sure there is no condition on your premises licence prohibiting adult entertainment.
  • Carefully consider how the event will be managed. Make sure certain boundaries are not crossed and be aware of the offences that could be committed, for example, sexual offences and public decency offences and what you can do to prevent these from occurring.
  • Think about how the event will change how the premises trades. For example, you may be busier than usual with a different customer base and require additional security. Risk-assess the event and manage it thoroughly.
  • Ensure any advertising does not cause any offence, for example, by using explicit images or words or by posting flyers where they may be seen by children.
  • If in doubt as to whether the performance is ‘relevant entertainment’ speak to the responsible authorities or take legal advice.
  • It is probably a good idea to speak to the local police and licensing officers in any event to make them aware of what you are planning to do.
  • Consider your existing customers and your neighbours. It is a controversial area and people may have strong opinions.
  • Make sure you keep within the permitted limits set out above and keep good records.
  • This is a very brief guide to a controversial area. If in doubt, speak to a solicitor. However, managed properly, you may find adult entertainment a very attractive prospect.

Related topics Licensing law

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