Surviving a licensing inspection

By Graeme Cushion, partner, Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Licence advice: Poppleston Allen outlines how a negative visit from a licensing officer is often followed up with an advisory letter (image: Getty/sturti)
Licence advice: Poppleston Allen outlines how a negative visit from a licensing officer is often followed up with an advisory letter (image: Getty/sturti)

Related tags Poppleston allen Legal Licensing

I have noticed in recent months an apparent increase in the number of licensing compliance visits that are being conducted at licensed premises. Unusually, these seem to have centred mostly around relatively low-risk premises such as restaurants.

While a negative visit will often be followed up by an advisory letter giving a period of time to comply, it is important to realise that such a visit could lead to a review of the premises licence or indeed prosecution of the designated premises supervisor (DPS) or premises licence holding company for any failure to comply with the stated conditions on the premises licence.

Below, you will find some fairly basic steps which you should proactively take just to make sure that your house is in order such that you may welcome a licensing officer with open arms!

1. Make sure that each of your premises have their full licence (Part A) safely housed somewhere within the premises for production on request. Equally, the summary (Part B) should be prominently displayed. In each case the documents should either be originals or certified copies of the originals. Failure to do either of these things is a criminal offence under the Licensing Act.

2. Make sure that the named DPS on the licence is still in situ. Again, it is an offence under the Licensing Act to sell alcohol at the premises where there is no DPS in place.

3. Make sure that the management team at the premises are actually fully aware of all of the conditions and stipulations contained within their premises licence. They should preferably train relevant staff members on those conditions as well, particularly if those staff members will at any time be left in charge. Anyone left in charge should also know where the full licence is located and where the summary is displayed.

4. Following on from the previous point, it is imperative to make sure that each individual condition is being complied with. There have been recent instances where there is a clear CCTV requirement on the premises licence and clearly there has been no CCTV at the premises for many years. Equally, the licence may have requirements upon it to have documented regular training sessions, Challenge 25 posters, an incident log etc. Failure to comply with each of these conditions is a separate offence under the Licensing Act.

A little bit of preventative housekeeping can save you a whole lot of stress, time and cost in the long run!

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