East Devon District Council

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Guide A guide to the Licensing Act 2003 GN1

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5. Personal licences

What is a personal licence?

Generally all sales of alcohol must be made by, or under the authority of, a personal licence holder. Not everyone who makes a sale has to hold a personal licence, so long as a personal licence holder has authorised the sale. This does not apply to qualifying clubs or premises operating under a temporary event notice (TEN).

You must apply to us for a personal licence.

You can have as many personal licence holders on the premises as you wish, providing there is only one designated premises supervisor (see below).  You can also choose to become a personal licence holder if you want to apply for more than five TENs a year but otherwise you will not require one.

Designated premises supervisor (DPS)

With one exception, all premises operating under a premises licence to sell or supply alcohol must appoint a designated premises supervisor (DPS) for the premises. There can only be one DPS per premises. The DPS will be held as the person in overall charge of the premises. You should therefore choose this person with care. 

Church and village halls can apply to us to have this requirement dis-applied. If such an application is successful the responsibility for the sale or supply of alcohol shifts to the hall’s management committee members. Please see separate page for more detailed information on dis-applying, in the case of halls, the requirement for a DPS

With the exception described above you have to nominate the DPS on your application form. This person doesn't have to be on the premises at all times, but they must take responsibility for what happens there and be in day to day control. This means the DPS should ensure any staff they appoint are appropriately trained in the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003 and of any specific conditions attached to the premises licence.

A person can't become a DPS unless he is also a personal licence holder.

Please note – although qualifying clubs don’t need a DPS to sell alcohol to members and their guests, this exemption doesn't apply if you hire the premises out for wedding receptions and the like. You do need a full premises licence for these activities (unless you are only holding a small number of events, which you can hold under a TEN) and therefore you will need to appoint a DPS (but see notes on holding multiple licences below).

The application procedure is described in the notes attached to the application form.

All applications, notices and representations shall be in writing.  Email may be used in respect of representations but applications will need to be accompanied by plans and the fee, so will need to be in writing.

The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only.  They are not a full and authoritative statement of the law and do not constitute professional or legal advice.  Any statements on these pages do not replace, extend, amend or alter in any way the statutory provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 or any subordinate legislation made under it or statutory guidance issued in relation to it. We accept no responsibility for any errors, omissions or misleading statements on these pages, or any site to which these pages refer.  In particular, it must be noted that, although we have made every effort to ensure that the information in these pages is correct, changes in the law and the nature of implementation mean that the information in these pages cannot be guaranteed as accurate.