Organising an event is a complex task at the best of times but there are lots of legal loopholes which could trip you up if you’re not aware of them.

Alcohol and licensing law isn’t necessarily something that everyone is familiar with, so we’re going to take a quick look at the basics to ensure that you don’t get caught out.

The Basics

If you’re going to selling alcohol or playing music (live or recorded) to more than 500 people after 11 pm, you’ll need a premises license under the Licensing Act 2003.

If you’re serving alcohol, somebody will need to be the Designated Premises Supervisor, and they will need to hold a Personal License (you can use the Government’s ‘License Finder’ tool to find exactly which license you’ll require).

You’ll need to fill out an application form, which is then sent to the Licensing Authority as well as eight other ‘Responsible Authorities’.

While you’ll have to do this yourself if you’re sending the form by post, if you apply electronically, the Licensing Authority will be able to send it on to the other authorities for free.

If there are no issues, the license should be granted in about 28 days, but if there are any problems, you’ll have to attend a hearing within two months of the application. Regardless, it’s always best to sort out the license as early as possible!

Safety Advisory Groups

Most local councils will have a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) which is a non-statutory body which will consult with you before your application to ensure that your event is safe and will cause the minimum amount of disruption to the local community.

It’s a good idea to these as early as possible to ensure that there are going to be no issues before you apply for your license.

Location

When you make your application, you’ll have to provide a detailed layout of the event location.

This can be difficult if it’s an outdoor event, because there might not be any strict boundaries to follow.

It’s important that you take care with this and make sure that it’s clear where the premises start and end.

You don’t want to get caught out because somebody has taken their drink outside, meaning that they’re technically ‘off the premises’.

The Authorities

The main authorities that you will have to deal with when applying for a license are the licensing authority, the police and environmental health.

The licensing authority will need to see that your application is in the right format, and will deal with any objections to your application from local residents.

The police are mainly concerned about the safety of the event and things such as stewarding and crowd management and environmental health will be concerned with the noise levels, ensuring that you liaise with local residents to make sure that you have a plan in place.

As long as you plan in plenty of detail and get everything sorted well in advance, all of these authorities should be more than happy to grant you your license and will be proud to be associated with a well-run event.

 

While this is a very brief overview, if you’re in any doubt at all, it’s best to get in touch with a professional body such as Hospitality Training Solutions.