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Changes to the Licensing Act 2003

Police and Social Responsibility Act - Changes to the Licensing Act 2003

In April 2012 the Police and Social Responsibility Act introduced a number of changes to the Licensing Act 2003. These include:

  • Higher fines for persistent sales to minors. In an attempt to send a strong message to the licensed trade that the Government will not tolerate the sale of alcohol to children it has doubled the fine for persistent underage sales to £20,000, and made it easier to shut down businesses found guilty. The new legislation also increases the period of voluntary closure, as an alternative to a fine, from 48 to 336 hours (Section 118 of the PRSR Act).
  • Greater powers for Licensing Authorities (LAs). Adding LAs to the list of 'responsible authorities' gives them greater power and flexibility. For the first time LAs will have powers to apply for removal of licences, object to variations and grants of new licences without having to wait for the police or another responsible authority to act (section 103 of the PRSR Act).
  • Making Health bodies 'Responsible Authorities'. Giving them a greater say so that they are automatically notified about new premises applications and can make representations. Although these must be relevant to the existing statutory licensing objectives. Applies to Primary Care Trusts in England (primary health functions of local authorities after NHS reform).
  • Lowering the evidence threshold in Licensing cases. Increasing flexibility for, and reducing the burdens on, licensing authorities by lowering the evidence threshold in Licensing for decisions made under the Licensing Act 2003 (sections 109 to 111 of PRSR Act).
  • Suspension of licences for non-payment. Allowing LAs to suspend premises licences due to non-payment of annual fees (section 120 of the PRSR Act) rather than having to pursue debts through the civil courts.
  • Removal of need to be classified as an Interested Party. Scrapping the ‘vicinity test’ gives local residents a greater say so that anyone can make representation regarding a licensing application or review regardless of whether they live close to the premises concerned. In addition the changes require the LA publish more information on-line (Section 105 -108 of the PRSR Act and changes to Licensing Act Regulations 2005).
  • Reforms to the Temporary Event Notices (TENs) system. To prevent it being exploited by unscrupulous operators the environmental health authorities (EHAs) now have powers to object to a temporary event notice in addition to the police. Furthermore, the grounds on which the police and EHAs can object to notices is extended to include all four of the statutory licensing objectives: crime and disorder; public safety; public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm; giving LAs the discretion to impose any existing licence conditions on a TEN if there are objections from the police or the EHA. Alongside this, reforms are made to TENs to increase flexibility e.g. by extending the period that may be covered by a single TEN from 96 hours (four days) to 168 hours (seven days) and introducing a new process to allow a limited number of late TENs submitted up to five days before an event (sections 112 -117 of the PRSR Act).
  • Licensing Policy Statements. Changes are introduced to reduce the the burden on LAs by changing the frequency for publication of Licensing Policy Statements from 3 to 5 years (section 122).
  • Relevant offences. Various offences have been added to the list of relevant offences at Schedule 4 of the Licensing Act 2003 – to be taken into account by LAs in granting new personal licences and, in the event of convictions, for the suspension and forfeiture of personal licences following convictions for relevant offences (section 123).

Live Music Act 2012 and Licensing Act 2003 (Descriptions of Entertainment) (Amendment) Order 2013 - Changes to the classification of Entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003

As a result of deregulatory changes that have amended the 2003 Act, no licence is now required for the following activities:

  • Plays: no licence is required for performances between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
  • Dance: no licence is required for performances between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
  • Films:no licence is required for ‘not-for-profit’ film exhibition held in community premises between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day provided that the audience does not exceed 500 and the organiser
    • gets consent to the screening from a person who is responsible for the premises; and
    • ensures that each such screening abides by age classification ratings.
  • Indoor sporting events: no licence is required for an event between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, provided that those present do not exceed 1000.
  • Boxing or wrestling entertainment: no licence is required for a contest, exhibition or display of Greco-Roman wrestling, or freestyle wrestling between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, provided that the audience does not exceed 1000.
  • Live music:no licence permission is required for:
    • a performance of unamplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, on any premises.
    • a performance of amplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day on premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on those premises,provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
    • a performance of amplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, in a workplace26 that does not have a licence, provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
    • a performance of amplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, in a church hall, village hall, community hall, or other similar community premises, that is not licensed by a premises licence to sell alcohol, provided that
      • the audience does not exceed 500, and
      • the organiser gets consent for the performance from a person who is responsible for the premises.
    • a performance of amplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, at the non-residential premises of
      • a local authority, or
      • a school, or
      • a hospital, provided that
        • the audience does not exceed 500, and
        • the organiser gets consent for the performance on the relevant premises from:
          • the local authority concerned, or
          • the school or (iii) the health care provider for the hospital.
  • Recorded Music:no licence permission is required for:
    • any playing of recorded music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day on premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on those premises, provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
    • any playing of recorded music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, in a church hall, village hall, community hall, or other similar community premises, that is not licensed by a premises licence to sell alcohol, provided that
      • the audience does not exceed 500, and
      • the organiser gets consent for the performance from a person who is responsible for the premises.
    • any playing of recorded music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, at the non- residential premises of
      • a local authority, or
      • a school, or
      • a hospital, provided that
        • the audience does not exceed 500, and
        • the organiser gets consent for the performance on the relevant premises from:
          • the local authority concerned, or
          • the school proprietor or
          • the health care provider for the hospital.
  • Cross activity exemptions:no licence is required between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, with no limit on audience size for:
    • any entertainment taking place on the premises of the local authority where the entertainment is provided by or on behalf of the local authority;
    • any entertainment taking place on the hospital premises of the health care provider where the entertainment is provided by or on behalf of the health care provider;
    • any entertainment taking place on the premises of the school where the entertainment is provided by or on behalf of the school proprietor; and
    • any entertainment (excluding films and a boxing or wrestling entertainment)taking place at a travelling circus, provided that
      • it takes place within a moveable structure that accommodates the audience, and
      • that the travelling circus has not been located on the same site for more than 28 consecutive days.

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