The Local Government Association (“LGA”) has published a Licensing Act 2003 – Councillors’ Handbook (England and Wales) that it hopes “will act as a helpful tool for licensing authorities in carrying out their functions under the Licensing Act”.
Some may consider the handbook to be unnecessary in light of the comprehensive Home Office Guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 (as revised from time to time). Others may believe that the handbook overly promotes LGA policy on such matters as locally set licensing fees and introduction of a public health licensing objective.
Nevertheless, the handbook is likely to be a useful tool for both members of licensing committees and those who appear before them, for example in relation to licence conditions, in relation to which very sensible recommendations are made that:
- “the key thing to remember with conditions is that less is more” and
- “licensing authorities should not aim to micro-manage premises through the use of conditions”.
The content of the handbook (that can be downloaded below) covers the following topics:
- The Licensing Act: An overview
- The Licensing Act 2003
- Strengths and weaknesses of the current system
- Overview of the role of councils in licensing
- Introduction to the role of the council
- Developing a statement of licensing policy
- Key issues for consideration in the statement of licensing policy
- What other tools are available?
- Role of councillors
- Role of responsible authorities
- Summary of key permissions under the Act
- Premises licences
- Temporary event notices
- Club premises certificates
- Personal licences
- Role of Designated Premises Supervisor
- What is a ‘relevant’ representation?
- Licence conditions
- Mandatory conditions
- Volunteered conditions
- Hearings and appeals: What to expect
- Conducting a hearing
- Member conduct
- What happens if the committee’s decision is challenged?
- Responding to issues at licensed premises
UPDATE: Suzanne Davies write about The Councillors’ Handbook in her “Legal page” article entitled “Strictly on condition” for the December 2019 edition of Pub & Bar magazine, that you can also download below.