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Lord Redesdale: I do not believe that the metaphor of the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, of a cleaver is fair. Basically, the amendment, which we support, brings the Bill back into line with the White Paper, which was debated by the industry and was the subject of much discussion for many years. The problem with subsection (1) is that it introduces designated premises supervisors, which muddies the waters between a

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premises licence and a personal licence. The strength of the amendment is that we would move away from that added form of bureaucracy and back to something that was envisaged in the White Paper. It has now somehow been changed for the worse through the translation of the White Paper into the Bill. I hope that the Minister considers the issue carefully. Although many amendments follow on from this amendment, the issue will be of central importance to the next stage of the Bill.

Lord Graham of Edmonton: I was intending to speak to later amendments but the general issue is raised in this regard. It may be helpful to the Minister and the Committee if one gets off one's chest what one wants to say. I begin by declaring an interest as a consultant to the Co-operative group and as the vice-chairman of the all-party retail group, which has a general interest in this sphere.

From what I have read I am, frankly, puzzled. I have had good information from a body called the British Beer and Pub Association, which also represents other bodies. I want to use the word "puzzlement". I am sure that the Minister will be able to help us. Reference has already been made to the position in the White Paper. The amendments seek to secure the understanding in the White Paper.

The BBPA states:


    "The White Paper stated that on taking up responsibility for a business the licensee should 'normally do no more than simply register his or her arrival with his local police and the licensing authority by a letter covering a copy of the personal licence'".

That is simple, unbureaucratic and practical. However, the situation has now changed; I am sure that the Minister will tell us why. The industry proposed the original concept in a submission in 1999. That was taken up in the White Paper in 2000. I am told that none of the parties in the working groups that were consulted by the DCMS appears to want or believe it to be necessary to evolve such an unnecessary complex system. All that is required is that the police and licensing authority know who is responsible for any particular premises.

The Minister knows that the Bill has had a general welcome in the industry and among many other bodies and the general public. We do not argue against the Bill or even its principle; we argue against the manner in which the Minister and his colleagues consider it appropriate to take it forward. I should be grateful if he dealt with that point.

The principle of splitting the licence into a personal and premises licence is severely undermined through the requirement to name the personal licensee on the premises licence and treating a change of licensee as a variation of the premises licence. Frankly, I am puzzled about the reasons why. That leads to a great paper-chase every time there is a change of manager or tenant. We do not want that unless it is absolutely necessary. The Minister will doubtless tell us why it is absolutely necessary and we will have to cogitate on his case. This does not involve confusion; it is difficult to understand why that which was previously part and

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parcel of the rapport between the industry and the Minister had to involve the change that we are discussing.

5.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: In order to save time, I am going to make a long speech. As has been recognised in our debate, the amendment, which is the first in a series of amendments about the designated premises supervisor can cover the whole range of issues raised in subsequent amendments. By setting out where we stand on designated premises supervisors, I hope that I will be able to make shorter speeches when we consider Amendment No. 155, the group of amendments beginning with Amendment No. 156, the group of amendments beginning with Amendment No. 157, the group of amendments beginning with Amendment No. 160, Amendment No. 161, the group of amendments beginning with Amendment No. 187, the group of amendments beginning with Amendment No. 214 and the group of amendments beginning with Amendment No. 273. I hope that I will be spared the necessity of making this general speech all over again.

As has been recognised, this is an absolutely fundamental concept in relation to the way in which the Bill has been drafted. We start straightaway with the central concept of the designated premises supervisor. Amendment No. 154 would efface effectively from the Bill the whole principle of the designated premises supervisor. I venture to suggest that if the amendment were agreed to, all of the groups of amendments to which I have referred would no longer be necessary.

As we made clear on Second Reading and beyond, the Bill is a balanced package—the balance is between reducing bureaucracy for the industry and maintaining safeguards to protect the public. The designated premises supervisor is the essential key to that balanced package. The Bill requires that every premises licence that authorises the supply of alcohol must specify a designated premises supervisor. That includes premises such as a pub, nightclub or supermarket. The designated premises supervisor must be the holder of a personal licence. I shall say in a moment what that involves. In practice, that individual will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the premises and will shoulder much of the burden on behalf of the premises licence holder.

I of course agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, that with village pubs there will be no separation: the premises licence holder will be the designated premises supervisor and that role will no longer be significant. However, it must be recognised that in any larger organisation, which could be a business as opposed to an individual, there must be someone who is capable of ensuring that the conditions of the premises licence are adhered to. There could be a number of personal licence holders working in larger premises and junior and assistant managers could all hold those licences. There is no requirement in the Bill that they should be listed or that their names should be made available. There is no bureaucracy of that sort. All of those people would

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have satisfied the conditions for holding a personal licence to supply alcohol. They must be over the age of 18, have no unspent convictions for relevant offences and possess an accredited licensing qualification so that they will have at least some understanding of the social issues and potential problems associated with the sale of alcohol. The reason for having a designated premises supervisor is to ensure that there is always one specified individual among those personal licence holders who is identified and identifiable for the premises. One hopes that they will have experience relating to the supply of alcohol and alcohol-related matters.

We anticipate that the designated premises supervisor will be given day-to-day responsibility for running the premises by the premises licence holder. That is not to say that he must be present on the premises all the time. Restrictions on the hours of work would make that totally impracticable. But he occupies a pivotal position. In public houses we are increasingly seeing managed houses where a large pub-operating company would hold the premises licence and a manager would be installed to look after the pub. The business could be in London, the pub in Newcastle. Management supervision would be provided usually by the designated premises supervisor. By designating the premises supervisor in the premises licence—the amendments beginning with Amendment No. 181, described by the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, as the "scalpel", would leave the premises supervisor but take him off the licence—it is clear to all who is in day-to-day charge of the premises.

The industry does not like these provisions. I know that. The noble Lord, Lord Williamson, made that abundantly clear. We discussed these matters with the industry at great length.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way. This is an important point. In my excitement to get to my feet earlier I forgot and probably should declare my interest for the purposes of today's debate. I am a non-executive director of a brewery and a pub operator.

Can a designated premises supervisor be for more than one premises or only one? If it is only one, that presumably means a pub-operating chain will have to have a personal licence holder and another layer of management in the shape of a designated premises supervisor. That does not apply to single operators. So the Government are imposing a layer of management on the bigger chains that is not being imposed on single operators.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: That is wrong in two ways. First, a designated premises supervisor can be for more than one premises. Secondly, a personal licence holder is needed in order to operate the premises anyway. If that personal licence holder is the only personal licence holder, then he will be the designated premises supervisor. There is no additional layer. There is no separate person from the

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personal licence holder in the form of the designated premises supervisor. Those are absolutely minimum requirements to ensure accountability.

Lord Redesdale: This issue is causing a degree of concern. Is the Minister saying, as I believe he is, that the designated supervisor does not have to be on the premises all the time? If so, then a pub can be run for large periods of time by just a manager with the requisite personal licence.


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