Licensing Act 2003

The Licensing Act 2003 moved the responsibility for the issue of licences for the sale or supply of alcohol pass from the local Magistrates' Court to the council (the Licensing Authority).

A Premises Licence, or a Club Premises Certificate, or in certain circumstances a Temporary Events Notice, will be necessary to carry out what is known as 'Licensable Activities' in a premises. These activities are described by the Licensing Act as being:

  • any sale of alcohol by retail
  • the supply of alcohol in a members club
  • regulated entertainment, such as films, plays, indoor sports, boxing or wrestling, live or recorded music or dancing
  • late night refreshment (hot food or hot drink between 11pm and 5am the next morning)

Statement of Licensing Policy

Licensing Authorities have to publish a Licensing Policy Statement which sets out the approach to licensing and licensing enforcement. The policy provides the framework within which applications and other licensing permissions will be considered. 

The current Licensing Policy Statement was reviewed, approved and published in 2017.

Mandatory conditions

The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) Order 2010 set out five new conditions that now apply to all licensed premises and those with a club premises certificate.

The conditions are to:-

  • ban irresponsible promotions
  • ban the dispensing of alcohol directly into the mouth
  • ensure that customers have access to free tap water so that they can space out their drinks and not get intoxicated too quickly
  • require an age verification policy to be in place to prevent underage sales and
  • ensure that customers have the opportunity to choose small measures of beers, ciders, spirits and wine

Premises licence register

Under the Licensing Act 2003, we are required to keep a  register of all Premises Licences, Club Premises Certificates,  Personal Licences and Temporary Event Notices. The register  can be viewed by contacting the Licensing Team.

National guidance to Licensing Authorities and Police

To assist Licensing Authorities in dealing with applications under the new Licensing Act and the Police when issuing closure orders, the Home Office has published amended guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003. 

More information on the Licensing Act 2003

The Home Office have provided useful information covering all aspects of the Licensing Act 2003. This can be found by visiting the Home Office webpage on Alcohol Licensing.

Licensing Act 2003 FAQ's

How have the changes to the law affected events such as under-18 discos held in nightclubs?

It is unlawful to allow unaccompanied children aged under 18 into relevant premises between midnight and 5am where alcohol is supplied for consumption on the premises. This applies to many nightclubs as they operate longer hours and have alcohol for sale after midnight. To hold under-18 discos, premises licence holders must state in their operating schedules what steps they will take to protect children from harm.

What will the Local Authority do to help me through this process?

We will provide guidance and general advice and try to be as helpful as possible, however it is your responsibility to make all the required applications and put your paperwork in order. Remember, with nearly 900 licensed premises in Barnsley, it is unfortunately not possible for council staff to help you with detailed preparation or submission of your application. You may need to seek your own legal advice.

What is a personal licence?

It is a licence which is granted to an individual and authorises that person to sell or supply alcohol, or authorise the sale or supply of alcohol under the premises licence. The application must be made to the Council where you normally live. For example, if you live in Rotherham but your pub or club is in Barnsley, you must apply to the Rotherham licensing authority for your personal licence. The licence will last for 10 years before it has to be renewed.

Will I have to pass a licensing exam before I can get a personal licence?

You will need to attend a recognised training course and pass an examination if you have not held a personal licence previously. The government has published a list of accredited qualification providers and is available on the Home Office website.

What are the licensing objectives?

They are: 

  • the prevention of crime and disorder
  • the prevention of public nuisance
  • the promotion of public safety, and
  • the protection of children from harm

These licensing objectives are all of equal importance.

What were the main changes under the new licensing laws?

The alcohol licences and certificates that were issued by the courts and the public entertainment licences, cinema, theatre and late night café licences which were issued by the Council disappeared and were replaced by one premises licence issued by the Council.