Licensing news

This page is designed to give those involved in the licensing trade and members of the public the latest updates on licensing legislation and best practice.

Updated COVID Working Safely Guidance (Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services) Published Date: 21/09/2020

There has been an update to the COVID Working Safely Guidance - the changes made relate to restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services - it includes added information on penalties for breaching the rules (section 1.1) and updated guidance on Test and Trace data and display of NHS QR codes (section 2.1). 

Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check 'Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace' for details. Please note you must have this in place, you must register for a NHS QR code and display the QR poster from 24 September.

  1. Have a system in place to ensure that you can collect that information from your customers and visitors, and provide this data to NHS Test and Trace, if it is requested. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.

  2. Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.​

  3. Display an official NHS QR code poster from 24 September 2020, so that customers and visitors can 'check-in' using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.

     


Updates to Guidance 'Closing certain businesses and venues in England'

The 'Rule of six' which came into effect Monday 14 September along with other changes, the guidance 'Closing certain businesses and venues in England' has been updated. The main points regarding the new social distancing rules are shown below but please read the revised guidance to capture all the changes. It is very important that you have a good understanding of your responsibilities.

Social contact

To prevent the spread of the virus, from 14 September there are legal limits on how many people someone can spend time with in a group at any one time. Whether indoors or outdoors people from different households must not meet in groups of larger than 6. This limit does not apply to meetings of a single household group or support bubble which is more than 6 people.

Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, in line with guidance for their sector, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6 (unless they are all part of the same household or support bubble). It is also important that people from different households (who are not meeting as a support bubble) remain socially distanced.

These rules will not apply to workplaces or education settings, alongside other exemptions.

Businesses should demonstrate to their  workers and attendees that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate it, for example by publishing their risk assessment online or making it available at the premises/event.

In particular, those operating venues or running events following COVID-19 Secure guidelines should take additional steps to ensure the safety of the public and prevent large gatherings or mass events from taking place.

Individual businesses or venues should also consider the cumulative impact of many venues reopening in a small area. This means working with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and applying additional mitigations.

These include:

  • Further lowering capacity - even if it is possible to safely seat a number of people inside a venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel or enter that venue.
  • Staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding
  • Arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and
  • Advising patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue.
  • Check with customers on arrival who they are with and how many people will be attending. Put up signs to remind customers to only interact with their group.
  • Ask customers indoors to remain seated. Provide table service where possible, and discourage customers from standing at the bar.
  • Keep groups apart. Space out tables, consider using barriers between groups, and manage the number of customers in the venue.
  • Manage food and drink service safely. Avoid situations where customers need to collect their own food, cutlery and condiments. Avoid contact between staff and guests.
  • Lower music and other background noise. Prevent shouting, singing and dancing in the venue by making sure music and broadcasts are played at a low volume.

Local authorities should avoid issuing licenses for events that could lead to larger gatherings forming and provide advice to businesses on how to manage events of this type. If appropriate, both local authorities and the Government have powers to close venues, to restrict access to public outdoor spaces, or to cancel events.

The Police have the powers to issue a £10,000 penalty notice to anyone holding, or involved in the holding, of an illegal gathering of over 30 people. 

6.     Compliance

As of 26 March 2020, Regulations (which have now been replaced with consolidated Regulations to take account of the gradual relaxation of restrictions) imposed enforceable restrictions on people in England. The Regulations are reviewed regularly to ensure they are effective and proportionate to the risk to public health. Everyone is required to comply with these Regulations issued by the government in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others, to fail to do so can constitute a criminal offence.

An owner, proprietor or manager carrying out a business (or a person responsible for other premises) who contravenes the Regulations, without reasonable excuse, commits an offence.

In England, Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and venues that breach restrictions will potentially be subject to prohibition notices, and a person who is 18 or over, who carries on a business in contravention of the Regulations may be issued with a fixed penalty.

With the support of the police, prohibition notices can be used to require compliance with the Regulations including requiring that an activity ceases. It is also an offence, without reasonable excuse, to fail to comply with a prohibition notice.

If prohibition notices are not complied with, or a fixed penalty notice not paid, you may also be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.

7.     Closing specific premises or public places

Both a local authority or the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care have the power to direct the closure of, or to restrict access to, a specific premises or public outdoor place where this is necessary and proportionate to manage a serious and imminent threat to public health relating to coronavirus in England. Exercise of this power is subject to a right of appeal by an owner or occupier to a Magistrates Court (or, if used by a local authority, through representations to the Secretary of State).

Where this power is used, people will not be allowed to enter or remain in the premises or outdoor place without reasonable excuse (such as that the person lives or works in the restricted area). Local authorities must advertise the extent of the restriction and they and owners/operators of the place whom are subject to the restriction must take reasonable steps to restrict access of people visiting the area. Failure to comply can be a criminal offence.


Pubwatch Meetings

There are two active pub watches in Runnymede; one covering Egham and the north of the borough, the other Addlestone and the south.

The date and venue of the next pubwatch meetings will be shown below once social distancing measures are relaxed sufficiently.

Egham and district - 10am on Wednesday 30 September 2020 at The Crown, High St, Egham

Chertsey and Addlestone - 10am on Wednesday 21 October 2020 at New Haw Club, 48 Woodham Lane KT15 3NA

All premises are encouraged to attend, and although it is called 'pubwatch' it is open to clubs as well.

For a number of premises this is a condition of their licence so they must attend.

For premises licence holders and club certificate holders, attendance at pubwatch will help you keep up to date with licensing legislation and local crime concerns. This will assist you in protecting your customers and staff by helping to promote the licensing objectives, these are:

  • The prevention of Crime and Disorder
  • Public safety
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • The protection of children from harm.

If you want to know more about pubwatch the national pubwatch website provides addition information.


Online Licensing Applications via Gov.uk

Due to payment facility upgrades the online application process is currently out of action, please use the Licensing forms till further notice and submit either by post or email, to pay for your application call 01932 425711 during normal office hours.

Councils are changing the way they accept payments by introducing online payment, this involves bring a new payment system


Business and Planning Act 2020

Runnymede's policy on pavement licensing was approved on 23 July and the application form is now on our web pages.

The House of Lords put forward a number of amendments to the Act. An overview of the amendments are listed below along with Government advice:

PAVEMENT LICENCES

  • Authorities must have regard to the needs of disabled people when considering whether to grant a pavement licence.

  • Licence holders must make reasonable provision for outside seating where smoking is not permitted.

  • Local authorities can delegate decisions about pavement licences to sub-committees or to officials (it is not responsibility of authority's executive).

  • Secretary of State may specify conditions but they now have to be by Regulations laid before Parliament which can reject them by resolution (and not simply published by SoS as before).

    OFF-LICENCE EXTENSIONS

  • Limits off-sales extensions to 11pm at the latest

  • Any new permissions for off-sales do not apply to times when the premises licence does not allow sales of alcohol for consumption in outdoor areas of the premises.

    COMMENCEMENT & DURATION

  • Any extension to the provisions by Secretary of State can be made only when it is reasonable, necessary or appropriate for a purpose linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Guidance for temporary alcohol licensing provisions and pavement licences in the Business and Planning Act.

The Business and Planning Act 2020 received Royal Accent on 22 July 2020 and is effective with immediate effect. The information below provides some very useful guidance along with  'Questions and Answers'. 

This guidance relates to the alcohol licensing provisions in the Business and Planning Act 2020 only.

This guidance relates to the pavement licensing provisions in the Business and Planning Act 2020 only.

This guidance is separate to the guidance issued on working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

It includes information on:

  • the purpose of the temporary off-sales extension
  • the difference between pavement licences and alcohol licence
  • the new summary off-sales review process
  • general advice on conducting off-sales

Counterfeit Currency

Pubwatch members have been losing money due to taking in counterfeit notes, please use the following links to update yourself and your staff.

Bank of England - How to check your banknotes

CSCB - Banknotes


Lottery ticket vending machines

We are aware of several companies offering lottery ticket vending machines to pubs, stating they would earn a profit from the ticket sales. This is contrary to the Gambling Act 2005 and society lotteries guidance, which state that it is an offence to use lottery proceeds for a purpose other than the promoted cause, and they are not to be promoted for commercial gain.
The issue appears to be concentrated in the south east of England. Not only is this activity illegal but it also damages the charities who are the rightful beneficiaries of lottery schemes.

This quick guide explains what lottery ticket machines do.


The Law - Statutory Notices

It is in everyone's interest to comply with licensing law and both the police and the council are finding there is a lack of knowledge about what your responsibilities are when it comes to displaying licences or club certificates and authorisation.

In particular both Displaying the premises licence summary or club certificate and Displaying your notice of Duty to Keep and Produce the Premises Licence or club certificate are requirements (under section 57 and 94 respectively) of the Licensing Act 2003 (the 'Act'). If you do not comply you may be prosecuted and the fine can be up to £500 for each.

By following the simple steps below you can save yourself time and worry, as well as the risk of a court appearance, so please spend a few moments to ensure you are complying with the law.

Displaying the premises licence summary or club certificate

The 'Act' states you must have all pages of the summary (or certified copy of it) prominently displayed. The best practice is to display it where it can be read easily by the public and police/council officers. It must be all pages of the summary, not just the front page, and it must be readable.

We would recommend framing each page and securing them to a wall to protect the summary from mishandling or theft.

Displaying your notice of duty to keep and produce the premises licence or club certificate

As well as displaying the premises licence or club certificate you must also keep the original or certified copy on the premises and display a notice stating who has control of these, i.e. who is looking after them and knows where they are.

The 'Act' states - You are required to have a notice prominently displayed stating who has custody or control of the actual premises licence or club certificate. The premises licence or club certificate (or certified copy of it) must be on the property and it must be produced on request. Do not confuse this with the above-mentioned summary, which will be one or two pages. The complete premises licence or club certificate licence can run to five or six pages depending on your conditions.

To help you comply with the law and display this notice a template has been produced for premisesIcon for pdf Duty to keep and produce licence [196.98KB] and for clubs Icon for pdf Duty to keep and produce certificate [236.99KB] but you can use your own of course.

Authorising alcohol sales

All premises selling or supplying alcohol (except for members clubs and certain community premises) must have a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) who will be named on the premises licence. The DPS is responsible for authorising alcohol sales.

There are likely times when the DPS will not be on the premises when alcohol is being sold. For that reason we strongly suggest the DPS authorises, in writing, members of staff to sell alcohol in their absence. (note: if a personal licence holder is available at times when the DPS absent they would be able to authorise persons to sell alcohol, however to minimise the risk of unlawful sales best practice is to have a list of people authorised by the DPS.)

We have produced two forms you can complete:

One is for the DPS to complete and sign authorising named members of staff to sell or supply alcohol Icon for pdf DPS AUTHORISATION [21.46KB]

The other is for the named staff to sign, confirming they are aware of this and accept responsibility Icon for pdf Authorisation acceptance [28.91KB]

The DPS and members of staff should be aware of Icon for pdf Responsibilities of the DPS [96.65KB], details of the premises licence and the social and legal obligations and responsibilities relating to the sale of alcohol.


Entitlement to work in the United Kingdom; how Licensing Act 2003 amendments affect business owners and operators of licensed premises.

The Immigration Act 2016 came into force on 6 April 2017 and contains many notable sections affecting the Licensing Act 2003. Its general purpose is to make it more difficult to live and work illegally in the United Kingdom. Please read the attached information.Icon for pdf Entitlement to work in the UK [99.06KB]

Online right-to-work checking service

If you are applying for a personal licence, premises licence or to transfer a premises licence you must show you have a right to work in the UK.

As part of its effort to support those who conduct right to work checks, including employers and licensing authorities, the Home Office developed the online right-to-work checking service, which makes checks simpler and more secure.

The service enables UK employers and licensing authorities to check the current right to work, in real time, of a person who holds either a biometric residence permit, a biometric residence card, or who holds online immigration status issued under the EU settlement scheme, and to see whether they are subject to any restrictions.

It does this by linking to Home Office data. 

The system works on the basis of the individual first viewing their own Home Office right-to-work record.

They may then share this with an employer or licensing authority if they wish, by providing the 'share code' issued to them by the online service.

By entering the code and the applicant's date of birth, the employer or licensing authority will be able to access the individual's current right-to-work details. This includes the date of expiry, if the individual's right to work is time-limited, and any work-related conditions.


Current licensing applications

For all new premises licence applications and variations under the Licensing Act 2003 in Runnymede please see our Current licensing applications.


Guidance on gambling on licensed premises

The Gambling Act 2005 made changes to the legislation regarding gambling in licensed premises. This will affect the playing of popular games such as poker and bingo. Under certain circumstances gambling may still be permitted, but only for certain stakes and prizes. The Gambling Commission has produced some helpful guidance.