Mudcat Café message #1228145 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70681   Message #1228145
Posted By: The Shambles
18-Jul-04 - 09:39 AM
Thread Name: A little more news on Licensing
Subject: RE: A little more news on Licensing
The following from Hamish Birchall.

The Department for Culture has announced the timetable for the Licensing Act 2003 which treats live music as a greater threat to society than rioting football supporters in bars.

Did Tessa Jowell have the exemption for big screen sport in bars in mind when she said: "The reforms brought about by the Act, including flexible opening hours, complement steps taken by the Home Secretary to crack down on alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder, so that we can turn our town and city centres into safe, sustainable, and vibrant locations, that the entire community can enjoy."

See DCMS press release below. It looks like it will be November 2005 before the automatic exemption from entertainment licensing for one or two musicians in bars, pubs, restaurants etc, finally comes to an end. New licences become available on 7 February 2005.

Note the usual DCMS spin:
Licence fees: in fact existing pubs or bars, or any premises with a current justices on-licence will have to pay an additional fee to seek permission to have regulated entertainment - unless they take up the 'two for the price of one' alcohol/entertainment offer during the six month Transition Period. We won't know exactly what the fee levels will be until this August.
The incidental exemption: will be disapplied if venues provide instruments, or any other 'entertainment facility', for regular public performance.
On the positive side, high annual entertainment licence fees should end. A relatively low annual fee for 'inspections' will, however, still be payable.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Date: July 07, 2004

The countdown to the reform of England and Wales' archaic licensing laws formally began today with the publication of key guidance by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

She would also be laying today an Order for 7 February 2005 to be the first appointed day - the beginning of the Act's transitional period when applications for conversions to new licences can be made.

The Guidance will assist licensing authorities in delivering the reforms to be brought about by the Licensing Act 2003, including flexible opening hours.

In addition, Tessa Jowell today issued guidance to police officers on using expanded closure powers within the Act to deal with problem premises, where disorder, or likely disorder, or noise nuisance is occurring.

And she spelt out the likely timetable for delivery of the new licensing laws:
* 7 July 2004 - Guidance issued. Licensing authorities begin preparing licensing policy statements, which set out how they will deliver the Act's reforms.

* August 2004 - DCMS releases draft application regulations with forms, proposed fees and other draft regulations for public consultation.

* 7 February 2005 - first appointed day. Licensing authorities can begin processing licensing applications under the new regime.

* Approximately November 2005 - second appointed day. The new licensing regime begins as new licences take effect.
The Licensing Act 2003, which received Royal Assent 12 months ago, paves the way for a more responsive and flexible system of licensing the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment.

Tessa Jowell said:
"The countdown to the reform of our outdated licensing laws has now begun.
"They will be replaced by a regime that will give people more choice about how they spend their free time, while giving the police and licensing authorities tougher powers to bring the minority of badly run premises into line with the best.

"And importantly, the new regime will give local residents a greater say in licensing decisions that affect them and the communities they live in.

"The reforms brought about by the Act, including flexible opening hours, complement steps taken by the Home Secretary to crack down on alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder, so that we can turn our town and city centres into safe, sustainable, and vibrant locations, that the entire community can enjoy."

The Guidance, which has been approved by Parliament, will assist licensing authorities in promoting the four licensing objectives of the Act:
* the prevention of crime and disorder;
* public safety;
* the prevention of public nuisance; and
* the protection of children from harm.
It focuses on establishing effective partnerships between licensing authorities, local businesses and residents, the police, and others to promote good licensing practice and responsible behaviour and to target and penalise licensed premises, or their customers, who are causing problems within our communities.

Licensing authorities are required to consult the police, fire authority, local businesses and residents, and other interested parties about their licensing policy statements and it is recommended that they integrate these with other policies, such as tourism, culture and the arts, regeneration and crime prevention.

Notes to Editors
1. The draft Guidance is available on the DCMS website at:
2. Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 provides that the Secretary of State must issue Guidance to licensing authorities on the discharge of their functions under the 2003 Act. The Guidance was approved by Parliament in June 2004.

3. Ministers also gave undertakings to Parliament that guidance would be issued to police officers about the operation of extended closure powers under Part 8 of the 2003 Act. That advice was included with the Guidance issued under section 182.

4. The Guidance is being issued to Chief Executives of district councils in England, county councils in England where there are no district councils, county councils and county borough councils in Wales, the London borough councils, the Sub-Treasurer of the Inner Temple, the Under-Treasurer of the Middle Temple, the Common Council of the City of London and the Council of the Isles of Scilly. It has also been issued to all Chief Constables and Justices Clerks in England and Wales.

5. Tessa Jowell is today laying an Order in the House to appoint the first appointed day, when licensees can begin applying for conversion of their existing licences, variations to those licences and new licences, as 7 February 2005.

6. The expected timetable for licensing reform in fuller detail is as follows:
7. July 2004 - Secretary of State issues Guidance to licensing authorities and names the first appointed day. Licensing authorities begin preparing licensing policy statements having regard to Secretary of State's Guidance and with a view to promoting the licensing objectives.

August 2004 - DCMS releases draft regulations for public consultation.
7 February 2005 - first appointed day. Licensing authorities can begin processing applications for conversions to premises licences, club premises certificates, simultaneous variations, and new licences/certificates and fast track applications for personal licences.

Approximately November 2005 - second appointed day, bringing an end to old licensing regimes. New premises licences and club premises certificates will take effect.

8. The Licensing Act 2003 received Royal Assent on 10 July 2003. Fuller details of the contents of the Act are as follows:

* The amalgamation of six existing licensing regimes (alcohol, public entertainment, cinemas, theatres, late night refreshment house and night cafe).

* A single integrated scheme for licensing premises which sell or supply alcohol, provide regulated entertainment to the public or provide refreshment late at night, sweeping away considerable red tape and cost.

* Premises licence to incorporate licensing conditions (e.g. hours, fire exits, capacity) necessary for the promotion of the licensing objectives, namely the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

* A new system of personal licences in relation to the sale or supply alcohol for consumption on or off any premises in respect of which there is a premises licence authorising such sale or supply. (Those providing regulated entertainment or refreshment at night which do not involve alcohol, would require a premises licence only).

* Personal licences to have effect for 10 years and personal licence holders to a pass a test of knowledge of licensing law and social responsibilities. Personal licences will be subject to police scrutiny if relevant or foreign offences have been committed, with provision for suspension or withdrawal of licences within the 10 year period: abolition of vague "fit and proper person" test in respect of licences to sell alcohol. Personal licences are also renewable.

* Personal and premises licences and club premises certificates to be issued by licensing authorities: generally local authorities.

* Premises licences to be subject to a flexible range of remedies open to the licensing authority following review (including temporary reduction in opening hours) instead of present single all or nothing sanction available to licensing justices of loss of licence if conditions have been breached.

* An avenue of appeal for parties (including the police and local residents following relevant representations) to the magistrates' courts.

* To minimise public disorder resulting from fixed closing times, the opportunity for flexible opening hours, subject to consideration of relevant representations made by local residents and other interested parties and responsible authorities (and therefore existing permitted hours to be abolished).

* Children under 16 to be allowed access to pubs only if accompanied by an adult. Licensing authorities to have the ability when determining applications, if necessary, to restrict or deny access for children to unsuitable licensed venues following relevant representations.

* The legal age for drinking alcohol on licensed premises and for buying it anywhere is 18. An exception will allow 16 and 17 year olds accompanied by an adult to consume beer, wine or cider with a table meal on licensed premises.

* New requirements in the wake of the Thames Safety Inquiry for licensing the sale of alcohol, and the provision of regulated entertainment and late night refreshment on boats travelling within England and Wales.

* New arrangements for non-profit making qualifying clubs supplying alcohol and providing regulated entertainment, which preserve their special status.

* Incidental live and recorded music to be exempted from licensing for the first time.
* Unamplified live music in small venues to be treated exceptionally to ensure traditional and amateur folk music thrives.

* For the first time, the provision of regulated entertainment in a school and sixth form college by the school or college will be exempted from the licensing fee associated with that provision.

* The current exemption from the payment of fees for entertainment in every village hall, church hall and community building outside Greater London to continue, and extending it throughout the whole of England and Wales.

* For the first time, it will cost nothing extra to get permission to put on live music in pubs - given that pubs have to get a premises licence anyway for the sale of alcohol, applying for permission at the same time for the provision of live music becomes effectively free.

Public Enquiries: 0207 211 6200
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH