Whatever your thoughts on new year resolutions, after the mayhem of the festive season, it can be a good idea to reflect on issues facing the licensed trade and think about how these may affect your business in the coming months.
On the licensing front, in November, the UK Gambling Commission announced that it is calling on the pub sector to take immediate action to protect children and young people in respect of gaming machines designed for adults. Following work with licensing authorities and police to test compliance laws in pubs, it was found that almost 90% of pubs were failing to prevent children accessing machines for over-18s.
If you provide gaming machines at your pub, now is the ideal time to review your policies and procedures to ensure that your staff understand their responsibilities to prevent underage gaming, including undertaking age verification checks. It is also prudent to review the location of your machines to make sure that they are in a clear line of sight for your staff to be able to effectively supervise their use. Taking the time to check your compliance now may save a future headache as the Gambling Commission has advised that further tests of licensed premises will be undertaken in the coming months.
In December, police in Wales undertook a Christmas anti-drink and drug-drive campaign with a number of arrests being made within the first week. Against the background of social responsibility, you may want to ensure that you have telephone numbers for local taxi companies on display and make sure that any soft drinks offers are well advertised. The use of a ‘designated driver’ scheme could also be considered, where designated drivers receive offers on soft drinks.
As the decorations start to come down, do some general compliance housekeeping. Read the four licensing objectives again – they are paramount.
Does your business promote each one?
Review any dispersal or noise management policies, staff training and due diligence procedures. Make them count. They don’t need to be wordy and complicated, just effective. Check you’ve done the basics, too – displaying your licence summary, and having a full copy of the licence together with layout plans. Is your fire risk assessment out of date? Now is the time to review it. And fix that dodgy CCTV camera.
Most of all, look forward to the new year. Running a great pub brings great responsibility but also great rewards.
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