If you gained your personal licence and became a personal licence holder (PLH) on or before the day the current licensing laws fully came into force – 1 September 2009 – it’s vital that you get refresher training organised now.
OR Scotland’s pioneer Personal Licence Holders (PLHs), the clock is ticking. Everyone who became a PLH before or on the day that the new licensing laws were fully enacted – 1 September 2009 – was given an effective PLH licence issue date at that point and has an immovable deadline approaching. Each must pass a refresher course within five years of the licence issue date, so by 31 August 2014. If they don’t, the penalties are draconian. An individual who doesn’t complete the course and gain the refresher certificate in time will be stripped of their personal licence for at least five years, with serious consequences for their employability and, perhaps, for their business.
Training course providers and licensing lawyers across Scotland are reporting a poor take-up of the refresher course, known as the SCPLHR, so far. There has been some debate over the fine details of the timetable, but the overall message is clear: the time to act is now. Not only does each of the first PLHs have to pass the refresher course, they then have to apply to the licensing board that issued their initial certificate, pay their fee and receive their suitably updated licence. There is a bit of wriggle room there, in that PLHs have until 1 December, or 30 November if you want to be absolutely safe, to lodge the documents with the licensing board. But there is no leeway on the dates for the refresher course. Everyone who was issued with a personal licence on or before 1 September 2009 must have passed the SCPLHR and gained the refresher certificate by 31 August this year.
The three-month grace period is not extra time to pass the course, simply a window within which the licence holder can present the updated certificate to the licensing board.
The procedure for that varies from board to board. Some will want the original personal licence and refresher training certificate sent to them; others are expected to accept a scan of the updated qualification by email together with a note of the personal licence details (such as the reference number). Some boards have developed a special form.
It doesn’t matter if you have moved home and / or job since your personal licence was issued, even if you now work in a different licensing board area. PLHs must correspond with the board that issued the original licence. It’s essential to check the appropriate board’s procedure straight away.
Many boards have had reminder letters returned because the person has moved address. (Remember that PLHs have a legal obligation to advise their issuing licensing board of a change of address within one month of any move. Failure to do that is a criminal offence.) It’s not the licencing board’s responsibility to remind licence holders to take their refresher course; the obligation to do the training lies with each PLH.
For licence holders who do not submit a refresher certificate on time, the licensing board has no option but to revoke the personal licence. The individual is then unable to train staff; authorise alcohol sales; apply for occasional licences or be named as a designated premises manager (DPM). There is a five-year wait until they can apply for another personal licence. There is no right of appeal.
If the personal licence holder is also the DPM, and has his or her licence revoked, the consequences are serious. The premises must stop selling alcohol until another personal licence holder is named. And while the process for naming a new DPM is relatively simple – so long as the business has another PLH who can take on the role. If it doesn’t the delay could be considerable.
PLHs who were granted their licence after 1 September 2009 have to complete a refresher course and gain a refresher certificate within five years of the date their licence was issued. Once again it’s important that they do so and it’s vital to do it in good time.