The good news is that the Deregulation Bill has now received royal assent and became the Deregulation Act 2015 on 26 March 2015. Despite the tight timescales before parliament dissolved, commencement orders were also passed which specify the dates on which a number of the provisions will come into effect. However, due to parliamentary time running out, this is not the case for all of the provisions.
The first, and probably the most eagerly awaited provision to come into effect is that, from 1 April 2015, the requirement to renew personal licences has been abolished.
This will no doubt be cold comfort if you were one of the first to apply for your personal licence when they were introduced, as you may already have made an application to renew your licence before its expiry date.
It is, however, clearly good news for the majority of personal licence holders who will be breathing a sigh of relief at this news if their licence is due to expire after 1 April 2015.
If you have already submitted your personal licence renewal then there is no need to worry; you will not need to renew it again in the future, as the abolition of the requirement to renew will still apply to you going forward.
If your personal licence shows an expiry date on or after 1 April 2015 then you do not need to submit a renewal application and your licence will not expire.
It remains to be seen how the licensing authorities will deal with this in practice, but it may well be that they issue an updated personal licence that does not show an expiry date (although they could wait to do this when you return your licence for any other changes, eg, name or home address).
The other provisions of the Deregulation Act 2015, which will come into force are:
- From 26 May 2015, the offence of selling liqueur confectionery to children under the age of 16 will be repealed. Therefore, after this date, a person of any age can buy liqueur confectionary in England and Wales.
- Also from 26 May 2015, the requirement to report lost or stolen licences to the police before applying for duplicates will be abolished and so, after this date, you will simply be able to make the request for a duplicate immediately to your licensing authority.
- From 1 January 2016, there will be an increase in the number of temporary event notices (TENs) that can be applied for by a single premises — currently a single premises is permitted to apply for 12 events per year, but from this date, the maximum will be 15 events per year.
- From 6 April 2015, the deregulation of regulated entertainment will take effect and this is another provision that has been much anticipated.
This is something we have commented on previously, but for ease of reference, the following are now exempt up to 11pm only:
- The provision of entertainment by, or on behalf of, local authorities, health care providers or schools on their own defined premises (no
- audience limit)
- Live music in relevant alcohol-licensed premises and workplaces (limited to an audience of
- 500 people)
- Recorded music in relevant alcohol-licensed premises (not workplaces) (limited to an audience of 500 people)
- Live and recorded music held by third parties in schools, hospitals, local authority and community premises (limited to an audience of 500 people)
- Travelling circuses (limited to an audience of 500 people)
- Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling (up to an audience of 1,000).
The introduction of community and ancillary sales notices and changes to late-night refreshment licensing are not being introduced due to lack of parliamentary time. It will now be up to the new Government to decide how to take these provisions forward.
In light of the introduction of the Deregulation Act 2015, the Government has now also published updated guidance to reflect the changes outlined above.
This guidance is available from the gov.uk website.