Stop the clocks
Q: When the clocks go forward in the early hours of 31 March, what happens with my licence? My premises licence currently allows me to open until 1.30am for the sale of alcohol and entertainment, closing at 2am on a Saturday evening into Sunday morning. I have spoken to my local police officer about this, and he has told me that I would need to shut at 1am, so I will lose half an hour of sales.
A. Your local police licensing officer is correct. When the clocks strike 1am on 31 March, the clocks automatically go forward to 2am and, consequently, you cannot continue to sell alcohol for the additional half an hour and would also need to shut then too.
There are many premises licences that build an additional hour into the premises licence when the clocks jump forward an hour in the spring, so that there is no subsequent loss of trade. You need to check your licence carefully to see if this is the case. If it is not, you will be too late to lodge a variation to your premises licence, so you should issue a temporary event notice to cover you for the additional half an hour.
Displaying the names of duty managers
Q: I have been told by my local police licensing officer on a routine visit they made that I need to display the names of all of the duty managers behind the bar so that the police and council licensing officers can see who the duty managers are and ask for them by name. Is this correct?
A. It is certainly not correct in law, but it may be a condition of your premises licence, although this is highly unlikely. There is, of course, a legal requirement to display the summary of your premises licence, which includes the name of the designated premises supervisor, but no other names (other than the name of the premises licence holder).
It is also good practice to keep a written record of the members of staff who are authorised by a personal licence holder to sell alcohol at the premises. While this doesn’t have to be in writing – it should be – and that authorisation should be kept behind the bar although, again, it does not need to be on display unless there is a peculiar licence condition to such an effect.
Safety advisory group
Q: I’m planning a small festival to take place on our village green. The licensing officer tells me I will need to ‘go through SAG’. I understand this is the safety advisory group but is this different to the normal licensing process?
A. Yes and no. The SAG is a non-statutory group of authorities, many of whom are involved in the licensing process like the police, environmental health and the fire authority. However, other agencies such as highways and the ambulance service are often involved in SAG.
They are there to advise but many clearly have enforcement powers as well. They can be a great source of information and depending on the size and complexity of your event it would be a good idea to get involved with them as soon as possible.
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