National Organisation of Residents Associations


NORA Response to Changes to Personal Licences




Question 1
Do you think the Government's proposal would reduce burdens, in terms of time and/or money, on business, including small and medium enterprises?

Don't know

Question 2
Do you think this proposal would undermine the licensing objectives? The four licensing objectives are: public safety; preventing crime and disorder; preventing public nuisance; and protecting children from harm.


Question 3
Do you think nationally accredited training courses for those authorising alcohol sales are necessary to help licensing authorities promote the licensing objectives?


Question 4
Do you think a statutory list of relevant offences, such as theft or handling stolen goods, is necessary to help licensing authorities promote the licensing objectives?


Question 5
For what proportion of premises in your area do you think conditions requiring nationally accredited training would be appropriate?


Question 6
For what proportion of premises in your area do you think conditions requiring criminal records declarations for future Designated Premises Supervisors would be appropriate?


Question 7
Please provide evidence to support the answers you've given making clear to which questions the evidence refers

Q2 The easier the sale of alcohol is made, whether by reducing the controls on those entitled to sell it or by increasing the number of outlets, the more alcohol will be consumed and the more undesirable but predictable consequences will follow. The evidence for this is to be found in numerous published studies. Perhaps the most potent and the easiest to read is the report on 'Binge Drinking and Europe' published by the European Commission. However benign a venue may seem, the risk of problems is always there, and the four licensing objectives could be undermined.

Q3 Training schemes for personal licence holders (PLH) must be run nationally, so that the standard of training is national and not local. Keeping a national database facilitates checking bona fides. The privilege of being qualified to sell alcohol is comparable with the privilege of driving motorized vehicles. The public needs protection from alcohol abuse, and the supervision and management of the sale of alcohol must be to national standards.

Q4 A statutory list of offences must be national, since it would be quite absurd for a PLH in one licensing authority to be refused a licence when an adjacent one grants it because it has a different list of offences.

Q5 It is our view that all premises must be managed by those with PLHs. Without proper recognised training, individuals will not be aware of the problems of selling alcohol and how to deal with them, however benign the venue may be.

PLH need the licence in order to have the right to sell alcohol. The training provides guidance and knowledge of the licensing legislation, so that PLHs can cope with any problems arising from the sale and consumption of alcohol. Problems can arise in the most benign of events in the most unlikely venues.

The possible removal of the licence and therefore the right to sell alcohol ensures that the PLH respects the regulations. This threat would no longer operate if the need for a licence was removed.

Q6 Those with the relevant criminal records should not be allowed to sell alcohol anywhere. A criminal record is evidence that the individual was prepared to break the law, and so should not be placed in a position where the opportunity to do so could arise with serious consequences. The dangers and the hazards can arise anywhere.

Question 8
Is there anything else you think the Government should consider?

NORA members find it extra-ordinary that there are continuing efforts to reduce the controls on the sale of alcohol and to increase the number of outlets. All the evidence points to this leading to an increase in alcohol consumption with greater risks to the public and to the consumer.

The hint that TENs might be increased to 50 a year is unacceptable. A TEN can last for the whole week of 168 hours, so 50 consecutive TENs could permit a continuous event lasting for nearly the whole calendar year without any opportunity for the community to register its concerns.

The effect of alcohol on people's behaviour is not 'vibrant', an over-used word in relation to alcohol consumption. The consumption of alcohol leads to a reduction in brain activity so that controlled behaviour is inhibited and the ability to make accurate and safe decisions is impaired. Alcohol consumption has always needed to be controlled and managed by legislation, so there are always rules. Reducing the power of the rules is not appropriate if the public is to be adequately protected. NORA members' response to this consultation paper has revealed that, in the interest of protecting the four licensing objectives, there is clear opposition to relaxation of the personal licence regime.

It was understood that the changes in the 2003 Licensing Act were intended to simplify the licensing regime and to foster a café society culture, but sadly it has fostered a booze society culture to the detriment of the community.

October 2013                                                Alan B Shrank - NORA chairman