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Guide What's new in licensing

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8. Licensing Act 2003 - new mandatory conditions

The government has introduced changes to the mandatory premises licence conditions made under the Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) (Amendment) Order 2014 ('the Order'), which came into effect on the 1 October 2014.

The order effectively amends the current mandatory conditions created in 2010 which related to irresponsible drinks promotions, provision of free drinking water, an age verification process and the provision of small/minimum measures.

The new conditions apply to all relevant premises licences and are reproduced below:

Irresponsible drinks promotions (amended condition)

    1. The responsible person must ensure that staff on relevant premises do not carry out, arrange or participate in any irresponsible promotions in relation to the premises.
    2. In this paragraph, an irresponsible promotion means any one or more of the following activities, or substantially similar activities, carried on for the purpose of encouraging the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises
      1. games or other activities which require or encourage, or are designed to require or encourage, individuals to
        1. drink a quantity of alcohol within a time limit (other than to drink alcohol sold or supplied on the premises before the cessation of the period in which the responsible person is authorised to sell or supply alcohol), or
        2. drink as much alcohol as possible (whether within a time limit or otherwise);
      2. provision of unlimited or unspecified quantities of alcohol free or for a fixed or discounted fee to the public or to a group defined by a particular characteristic in a manner which carries a significant risk of undermining a licensing objective;
      3. provision of free or discounted alcohol or any other thing as a prize to encourage or reward the purchase and consumption of alcohol over a period of 24 hours or less in a manner which carries a significant risk of undermining a licensing objective;
      4. selling or supplying alcohol in association with promotional posters or flyers on, or in the vicinity of, the premises which can reasonably be considered to condone, encourage or glamorise anti-social behaviour or to refer to the effects of drunkenness in any favourable manner;
      5. dispensing alcohol directly by one person into the mouth of another (other than where that other person is unable to drink without assistance by reason of disability).

Potable water (amended condition)

  1. The responsible person must ensure that free potable water is provided on request to customers where it is reasonably available.

Age verification (amended condition)

    1. The premises licence holder or club premises certificate holder must ensure that an age verification policy is adopted in respect of the premises in relation to the sale or supply of alcohol.
    2. The designated premises supervisor in relation to the premises licence must ensure that the supply of alcohol at the premises is carried on in accordance with the age verification policy
    3. The policy must require individuals who appear to the responsible person to be under 18 years of age (or such older age as may be specified in the policy) to produce on request, before being served alcohol, identification bearing their photograph, date of birth and either
      1. a holographic mark, or
      2. an ultraviolet feature

Minimum measures (amended condition)

  1. The responsible person must ensure that-
    1. where any of the following alcoholic drinks is sold or supplied for consumption on the premises (other than alcoholic drinks sold or supplied having been made up in advance ready for sale or supply in a securely closed container) it is available to customers in the following measures
      1. beer or cider:1/2 pint;
      2. gin, rum, vodka or whisky: 25ml or 35ml; and
      3. still wine in a glass: 125 ml;
    2. these measures are displayed in a menu, price list or other printed material which is available to customers on the premises; and
    3. where a customer does not in relation to a sale of alcohol specify the quantity of alcohol to be sold, the customer is made aware that these measures are available.”

Please note that the small measures mandatory condition is unchanged in respect of the size of measures that must be available. However, changes have been made to the requirement of making customers aware of the availability of these measures. On this point, the Home Office guidance states:

"As well as making the drinks available in the above measures, the responsible person must also make their availability clear on menus, price lists or other printed material, and ensure that these are available to customers on the premises (for example, at the bar).

Where a customer orders a drink listed above but does not specify the alcohol measure, the customer should be made aware of the range of measures available. This can be either verbally or by ensuring they have seen the printed materials on which their availability is listed. If the responsible person is satisfied that the customer has been made, and continues to be, aware of the range of measures available, the responsible person does not need to repeat that information in relation to each sale."

This should hopefully provide some small measure of clarity to how far it is expected that the premises must go in bringing this matter to a customer's attention. Reprinting of materials and retraining of staff now needs to be high on all operators agendas.

A copy of the new Home Office guidance can be found here: Guidance on mandatory licensing conditions - Publications - GOV.UK