Licensing Bill [HL]
Memorandum by the Department for Culture,
Media and Sport
1. This Memorandum identifies the provision for
delegated legislation in the Licensing Bill, explains its purpose
and method of operation, and explains why the particular form
of Parliamentary control of delegated legislation has been selected.
SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND
2. This Bill aims to provide a single integrated
licensing scheme for premises that sell alcohol, provide regulated
entertainment or provide late night refreshment. These proposals
were outlined in the Government White Paper 'Time for Reform:
Proposals for the Modernisation of our Licensing Laws', in April
2000. The system it is replacing is complex, and many pieces of
existing legislation will be amended or, as in the case of the
Licensing Act 1964, repealed. The Bill will introduce more flexible
opening hours to reduce public disorder currently resulting from
fixed opening times.
3. The Bill will transfer licensing powers, in
respect of alcohol, from licensing justices to licensing authorities,
generally local authorities, establishing a more democratically
accountable system. Local residents will have a say in licensing
decisions and the licensing authority will be accountable to the
local electorate for its decisions. Integrating alcohol and entertainment
licensing and placing the responsibility for both with local authorities
is expected to deliver savings to the industry of £1.97 billion
over the first ten years, resulting primarily from the reduction
of legal costs involved in managing the current system. The Bill
extends to England and Wales.
MAIN PROVISIONS OF THE BILL
4. The Bill contains nine Parts. These cover:
- Licensable activities
- Licensing authorities
- Premises licences
- Permitted temporary activities
- Personal licences
- Closure of premises
- Miscellaneous and supplementary
PART 1: LICENSABLE ACTIVITIES
5. This Part describes those activities that
are covered by the Bill and consequently sets out the scope of
PART 2: LICENSING AUTHORITIES
6. Part 2 lists the bodies which are to be licensing
authorities under the Bill and are to carry out the licensing
functions provided in the Bill, describes the licensing objectives
which the licensing authority must aim to promote, and places
an obligation on licensing authorities to determine and publish
a statement of licensing policy.
7. It also sets out the requirement for licensing
authorities to establish a licensing committee, refers the discharge
of licensing functions to that committee and covers the delegation
of those functions to sub-committees or, for limited purposes,
to officers of the licensing authority. This Part also requires
authorities to maintain a licensing register.
PART 3: PREMISES LICENCES
8. This Part of the Bill provides for an integrated
licensing system for any premises used for licensable activities.
The 'relevant licensing authority' is to consider applications
for premises licences and variations, and transfers and reviews
of those licences.
PART 4: CLUBS
9. This Part provides for arrangements relating
to qualifying clubs, such as the British Legion, political, working
men's, cricket and rugby clubs meeting prescribed criteria. It
introduces a system of club premises certificates, authorising
qualifying club activities (a subset of licensable activities),
issued by the relevant licensing authority. Qualifying clubs will
retain a special status under licensing law: clubs holding certificates
will be exempted from the requirement for any member or employee
to hold a personal licence to supply alcohol to its members or
sell alcohol to their guests. The general offence of supplying
alcohol to people under 18 will apply in clubs as it does elsewhere.
PART 5: PERMITTED TEMPORARY ACTIVITIES
10. Part 5 makes provision for a light touch
system that would allow individuals - "premises users"
- to carry out licensable activities on an occasional temporary
basis (not exceeding 72 hours) at events where the persons attending
will not exceed 500, subject to various limits. Different limits
apply depending on the use of the premises and on whether or not
the person carrying out licensable activities holds a personal
licence. The effect of this Part is to minimise the regulatory
burden on occasional, small, events unlikely to give rise to problems.
PART 6: PERSONAL LICENCES
11. Part 6 provides for the granting of a personal
licence to individuals authorising the sale of alcohol from licensed
premises. The licensing of individuals separately from the licensing
of premises enables the movement of personal licence holders from
one set of premises to another.
12. The personal licence relates only to the
sale or supply of alcohol and not to regulated entertainment or
the provision of late night refreshment, for which activities
no personal licence will be required. A personal licence holder
may sell alcohol from premises which have a premises licence or
in circumstances where a temporary event notice has been given.
PART 7: OFFENCES
13. This Part sets out the offences created by
the new regime.
PART 8: CLOSURE OF PREMISES
14. This Part of the Bill provides for a police
officer of superintendent rank or above to apply for an order
from a magistrates' court requiring the temporary closure of any
licensed premises within a certain geographical area for public
order reasons. It also provides a power for a police officer of
inspector rank or above to close instantly individual premises
that are disorderly, on the grounds of public safety, or are causing
a public nuisance, for a period up to 24 hours.
PART 9: MISCELLANEOUS AND SUPPLEMENTARY
15. This Part of the Bill deals with miscellaneous
matters including the relaxation of opening hours on special occasions,
exemptions, appeals, guidance, consequential amendments, repeals
THE RATIONALE FOR DELEGATED POWERS IN THE BILL
16. In considering whether matters should be
specified on the face of the Bill or be prescribed in delegated
legislation, the Department has balanced the importance of the
matter against the need to:
- avoid too much technical, procedural and administrative
detail in the Bill;
- ensure sufficient flexibility to respond to changes,
and act quickly in the light of experience if necessary;
- allow detailed administrative arrangements to
be set up and kept up to date within the basic framework of the
- allow sufficient time to consult and amend legislation
should circumstances change.
OVERVIEW OF DELEGATED POWERS
17. The Bill contains a number of powers to make
delegated legislation in relation to licensing.
18. In formulating the provisions of the Bill,
and deciding which of those will be enacted through secondary
legislation, the overall approach has been to set out in the primary
legislation the parameters for alcohol, entertainment and late
night refreshment licensing law, transitional arrangements from
the old licensing regime to the new regime, procedures for the
granting or amendment of licences, the rights and obligations
of licence holders, and to provide offences under the new regime.
Powers to prescribe matters in secondary legislation are taken
where necessary to give the Secretary of State flexibility to
provide for adjustments to the above from time to time and to
set out technical, procedural and administrative requirements
underpinning those parameters.
19. This approach provides flexibility for Ministers
to amend detailed rules in the light of operational experience
or other developments with Parliamentary scrutiny but without
having to take up a substantial amount of Parliamentary time to
amend primary legislation.
20. There are a small number of measures in the
Bill which will be subject to affirmative resolution by both Houses
of Parliament. These are described in clause 191 of the Bill and
have been highlighted throughout the Memorandum.