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Licensing news Scotland - July 2018

This month in summary


Places filling up for TLT's licensing event in Aberdeen

Time and places are running out to register for the joint TLT and Anderson Anderson Brown Aberdeen hospitality event of the year at Brewdog, Castlegate Aberdeen on 23 August.  The event is free to attend and will feature a top line up of industry speakers and professional advisors.  Whether it is staying abreast of legislative changes or keeping up with industry trends this event is a must!

Numbers are limited and registration is essential.  Read more about the event and book your place here.

Licensing Board Policies - consultation update

Fife have produced a draft policy accessible online and seek views by no later than 31 August.

Orkney's licensing consultation is live until 6 September.

East Ayrshire have a consultation open until 7 September seeking views on its draft statement of policy accessible here

South Lanarkshire Licensing Division Number 3 (Hamilton Area) has prepared a draft statement of licensing policy which interested parties can request via email to licensing@southlanarkshire.gov.uk .  Anyone wishing to respond must do so by 14 September.

Aberdeenshire (North, Central and South) have, based on stakeholder responses , produced draft policy statements and seek views online, the deadline for all responses is set at 13 September.

South Ayrshire have produced a draft statement of policy and seek comments and feedback by 31 August 2018.

Scottish Government launch consultation on personal licence renewal fee

Every personal licence issued in Scotland must be renewed prior to the tenth anniversary of its date issue.  That means that 2019 will be a very significant year for the first tranche of licence holders who have the effective issue date of 1 September 2009

Licence holders will recall paying an initial £50 fee to apply for their personal licence.  At present there is no agreed fee in the regulations in respect of a renewal application. Given the processing burdens on Licensing Boards the Scottish Government believes that a fee to renew should be paid by applicants.

The consultation seeks views on whether it is right to introduce a fee for applying to renew a personal licence and, if so, what that fee should be.

Top Licensing Tip: Evidencing good practice

Working with a licensee and local authority partners to deal with neighbour complaints is a licensing solicitor's bread and butter.  However, the way solicitors and enforcement officers approach the issue often differs from the trade. Put bluntly the licensee is principally concerned with "doing" whereas solicitors and enforcement officers need to see the "doing" evidenced and recorded.

A case in point arises from a client's handling of complaints regarding live music noise escaping from his pub.  After the complaints had escalated, a meeting with the licensee followed a typical course.  The licensee professed that there had been lots of positive dialogue with most of the neighbours and he had been checking sound levels diligently every night to ensure music would not cause a disturbance to his nearest neighbour. When asked to produce the records showing the dates and times of the discussions with neighbours and timed and dated noise readings, it was apparent no such records existed.  Whilst there was little doubt that he had done what he had said, there were no contemporaneous records to rely on.  As time passes his memory becomes vague and unreliable and the lack of records undoes his hard work.

When given a summary of the workings of a Premises Licence Review Hearing, in main how a Board requires to proceed on evidence.  The licensee began to see the issue.  In absence of records corroborating the licensee's position, matters will turn on the neighbours corroborating each other (albeit anecdotally).  Suddenly the penny dropped!

Record keeping seems like a pain at the time but as any licensing solicitor will tell you, good contemporaneous records will be worth their weight in gold should a Review take place.

Things to keep note of for music complaints include

  • Date
  • Type of entertainment (band name etc)
  • Start time
  • End time
  • Any internal precautions (level set)
  • DB reading internal (timed)
  • DB reading at nearest noise sensitive premises (timed)
  • Full details of complaint received (who, when, where, why) and action taken

Civic Licensing

Scottish Government publishes consultation responses to Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) Licensing Guidance

Following a public and stakeholder consultation regarding the draft guidance the Scottish Government published some months ago (in advance of implementation of the SEV regime), the responses (29 out of 31) have been published and can be viewed in full here a summary is also available here.

31 responses where received and the summary document confirms that common themes have been identified. These include:

  • inserting a flow chart into the guidance to make the timeline clearer
  • offering more advice about setting the number of sexual entertainment
  • venues
  • including more information on identifying and setting localities
  • providing more detail on equality and human rights and ECHR issues
  • strengthening the Relationship with other Strategies section
  • providing more detail on the application and notification processes
  • adding more model conditions
  • diluting the emphasis on the possibility of legal challenge
  • including advice on the role of morality in local authority decision making.

No date has been set for commencement of the regime yet and we can expect updated guidance to be circulated in due course.

Gambling News

Government consults on society lottery reform

DCMS has launched a consultation looking at whether society lotteries, defined as lotteries promoted for the benefit of a non-commercial society, should be able to raise more money annually than currently allowed by statutory limits.

Society lotteries play a vital part in enabling charities and other societies, such as sports clubs, to run lotteries for good causes. Currently, the amount a society can raise is subject to limits of £4 million sales per draw, £10 million sales per year and a maximum prize of £400,000.

The preferred option that DCMS is consulting on is for a tenfold increase in the amount that a large society lottery can raise per year, bringing the annual limit to £100m. The per draw sales limit would rise to £5m and the maximum prize to £500,000.

Consultation closes on 7 September 2018. Full details can be found on gov.uk

Gambling Commission publishes report into enforcement 2017/2018

The Gambling Commission has published its latest report into enforcement over the past year, suggesting that operators need to pay attention to the findings.

The key message from Neil McArthur, Chief Exectuive of the GC is:

'We want operators to pay attention to the lessons set out in this document. We want them to focus on ways to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers in Great Britain. We also want operators to collaborate and invest the same amount of resource, technology and research into building better protections for consumers, as they do to creating new products, or advertising and marketing campaigns.'

This follows from the recent warnings and spate of heavy fines for operators found to be breaching their obligations, in particular to protect vulnerable consumers and prevent money laundering. The full report can be found here.

Out and about

It may be holiday season and recess for the most licensing boards but there is no let up for the TLT Licensing Team in Scotland!  We have had successes at hearings in West Lothian and Aberdeen.  Furthermore we have been visiting clients all over the UK, including London and Manchester.

Stephen and Niall also found time to judge the best beer at the West End Beer Festival held at Hillhead Sports Club in Glasgow!

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at July 2018. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

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