The early bird gets the licensing worm

by Janet Hood

With 2019 now upon us, the first batch of personal licence renewals will be due by September. The Scottish Government has advised personal licence holders to submit their renewal application by 31 May 2019, but licensing specialist Janet Hood has suggested retailers apply even earlier than that

Get started early

The renewal process is tricky, applicants must take up training as soon as possible and send the following documents by ‘signed for’ post to the licensing board that issued the personal licence.

The best advice is get trained now and make the application as soon as you have your training certificate.

Janet Hood specialises in licensing solutions including new licence applications, licence variations and transfers

You need to have the following:

1. The completed personal licence  renewal application form, which must be signed by the applicant.

2. Two new photographs, one of which should be endorsed with the words ‘I certify this is a true likeness of (The applicant’s full name); the endorser’s signature; printed name and the date it was endorsed.

3. The fee of  £50.

4. The SCPLH Refresher Pass Certificate, or a certified true copy.

5. In some cases boards require other documentation:
– eg. a copy of current photographic identification like a passport or driver’s licence
– a form confirming the details of person certifying the photographs

Licensing boards may be overwhelmed

Personal licences will expire exactly ten years from the date on which they were granted. The expiry date is printed on the face of the personal licence. Applications have to be made three months before the expiry date, so if the personal licence expires on 31 August 2019 the last date for making applications is 31 May 2019. However, licensing boards have advised that they may not have the staff capacity to process applications by 31 August 2019.

Personal licence renewal should not be left to the last minute as there may be backlogs and delays

Premises manager risks

All premises licences have a named  premises manager who must be a personal licence holder. Some operators need to have a premises manager on duty as a condition of their licence, some premises operating after 1am need to have a personal licence holder on duty.

If the premises manager loses their personal licence because they have failed to renew, then no-one will be able to sell alcohol on the premises until another premises manager is appointed.

Best practice

Get training done as early as possible. There are plenty of training companies in Scotland. Do not wait until May 2019.

Put another staff member through SCPLH training and make the application for a personal licence. That way there is a spare personal licence holder you can substitute if the current premises manager fails make the application on time, or in case something goes wrong.

This would, however, have to be done as soon as the premises licence holder  was aware that the premises manager had failed to make his application on time, or if the licensing board dealing with the personal licence of the premises manager has not issued the renewed personal licence by the three year date. In the latter circumstances you would have to get an application into the relevant licensing board on that day.

Make sure you can prove you made the application. Attend the licensing  board offices and obtain a receipt which must state something like ‘received complete application and fee for personal licence renewal on X date’, or send the complete application by ‘signed for’ mail and keep the tracking receipt and delivery receipt. Keep a copy of the whole application.

n Do you have a business, property or legal question or issue that you would like to know more about?  Contact Scottish Grocer and we’ll put it to an expert. Call Matthew Lynas on 0141 567 6074 or email