Personal licence holders who gained their licence when laws changed in 2009 must do top-up training by end of this month
Slow uptake leads to fears that thousands will face minimum five-year licence ban.
TIME is running out fast for thousands of owners, managers and workers in Scotland’s licensed trade who were among the country’s first private licence holders but who haven’t yet completed mandatory refresher training.
All PLHs who gained their licence before the current licensing laws – the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 – were fully enacted on 1 September 2009 were ruled to have their licence in operation from that date.
That means that all people who received their personal licence in the long transitional period before the introduction of the new laws must complete mandatory refresher training and gain the required SCPLH Refresher certificate by 31 August this year. If they don’t they face being banned from holding a personal licence for a minimum of five years.
At present it isn’t clear how many PLHs have completed training. But licensing lawyers, trainers and trade and business organisations fear that many PLHs still don’t understand the timetable they have to work to and are in danger of losing their vital qualification.
The situation is complicated by the fact that while the additional training must be completed and the refresher certificate gained by 31 August individuals then have a period of three months to present the certificate to the licensing board that issued their original licence.
It is possible that some have completed but have still to inform their board.
But signs are not good and it seems as if a licensing system crisis could be on the way.
Scottish Grocer’s sister publication Scottish Licensed Trade News recently reported that in July in the Scottish Borders board area only 92 out of 673 PLHs required to gain the new certificate had informed the board that they had done so.
One retail industry insider told Scottish Grocer that some estimates suggested that given current training course completion rates around 20,000 PLHs across Scotland are expected to gain the necessary certificate by the 31 August deadline.
But estimates of the number who are required to complete the training vary between 30,000 and 40,000 so it’s possible that 10,000 or more Scottish PLHs, including many working in stores across Scotland, face having their licence revoked and being unable to apply for another one for a minimum of five years.
A personal licence is required for anyone who is to be a designated premises manager under the current law.
If a PLH who is a store’s designated premises manager loses his or her licence they will have to cease being the DPM. The business will have to inform the licensing board within seven days and nominate another DPM, who holds a compliant personal licence, within six weeks. Failure to do so will see the store lose the right to sell alcohol.
Personal licence holders can also deliver the mandatory training required to be given to all staff who sell alcohol. A person who loses their personal licence will no longer be able to deliver that employee training.
• If you were one of the early PLHs and you haven’t yet arranged training it’s vital that you do it now. More information is at http://scplh.info