Guide Personal licences

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1. Information about personal licences

What is a personal licence?

You'll need to apply for a personal licence, issued under the Licensing Act 2003, before you can be named as the designated premises supervisor (DPS) at a premises licensed to sell alcohol.

Every premises licensed to sell alcohol must have a DPS named on the premises licence and this person must hold a personal licence. They will be responsible, along with the premises licence holder, for authorising the sale of alcohol at the premises.

The only time a DPS isn't required to authorise alcohol sales is for club premises where the sale of alcohol is to members and their guests only, certain community premises or village halls that have applied to remove the need for a DPS and when alcohol sales are being authorised by a temporary event notice.

Before you can apply for a personal licence, you'll need to take a qualification so that you have a good understanding of the Licensing Act 2003 and the responsibilities involved when selling alcohol.

You can have as many personal licence holders at a premises as you wish but only one person can be named on the premises licence as the DPS.

Not every person who sells alcohol at a licensed premises (for example bar staff) will need to hold a personal licence but every sale must be authorised by the DPS.

If you live in East Devon, you'll need to apply to us for a personal licence. A personal licence has no expiry date and can be transferred between regions and premises. 

If I'm named as DPS, do I have to be at the premises at all times?

We expect the DPS to have day-to-day responsibility for running that premises and the sale of alcohol, however we understand there are likely to be times when the DPS will not be on the premises when alcohol is being sold.  For that reason we strongly suggest that the DPS authorises, in writing, members of staff to sell alcohol in their absence.  

Do I need a personal licence to apply for a temporary event notice?

You don't need to be a personal licence holder to apply for a temporary event notice (TEN). Anyone can serve up to five temporary event notices in any calendar year.

However if you do hold a personal licence the number or TEN's you can serve in a calendar year increases to 50.

How to apply 

If you live in East Devon you can apply for a personal licence from ourselves.

Disclosure of convictions and foreign offences

As part of your application for a personal licence you'll be asked to declare whether you've been convicted of a relevant offence, foreign offence or required to pay a civil immigration penalty.

A relevant offence is an offence listed in Schedule 4 of the Licensing Act 2003 and includes (but is not limited to): 

  • Those involving serious crime
  • Those involving serious dishonesty
  • Those involving controlled drugs
  • Certain sexual offences
  • Offences created by the Act

A foreign offence means an offence (other than a relevant offence) under the law of any place outside England and Wales.

A relevant/foreign offence that is spent within the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 need not to be declared.

Please note that if you've been convicted of any such offences we will have to share this information with the police and Home Office (Immigration enforcement).

Your right to work in the UK will be checked as part of your licensing application and this could involve us checking your immigration status.

If there are relevant offences, the Police can make a representation against the application on crime prevention grounds. If the police make a representation then there will be a hearing of the application.

Similarly, if there are relevant immigration offences or penalties, the Home Office (Immigration Enforcement) can serve the licensing authority with an immigration objection notice. If an immigration objection notice is received then there will be a hearing of the application.

Ongoing requirements for personal licence holders

Since 1st April 2015 there is no longer a requirement to renew a personal licence.

Some personal licence fell due for renewal before this date and have either been renewed or will have lapsed.

If your licence fell due for renewal after 1st April 2015 then you don't need to renew it and it will last indefinitely unless surrendered, revoked or cancelled. All licences issued after that date have been issued with no expiry date. 

If your personal licence shows an expiry date you can check it is still valid on our public register.

As a personal licence holder you must tell us immediately if: 

If you are charged with a relevant offence, you must produce your personal licence to the court. If that is not practical, you must tell the court that you have a personal licence, which licensing authority issued it, and why you can't produce the licence. The court may order the forfeiture or suspension of your licence and will notify the licensing authority of this.

Failure to produce or notify the court about your personal licence, without reasonable excuse, is an offence under section 128 of the Act and could also result in the forfeiture or suspension of your licence.

If you are convicted of a relevant offence, foreign offence or are required to pay an immigration penalty you must, as soon as reasonably practicable, inform the licensing authority who issued your personal licence of this and give them a notice containing details of the nature and date of conviction and any sentence imposed.

The licensing authority may, in these circumstances (if you have not appealed against the conviction) suspend your licence for a period not exceeding six months, or, revoke your licence.  If the licensing authority is considering suspending or revoking your licence you will be given notice of this and will be invited to make representations.

It is an offence to fail to notify the court or licensing authority of any of the above.

Please be aware that if your licence was issued after the 6th April 2017 it will lapse if you cease to be entitled to work in the UK.

Producing your licence

You may be asked to show your personal licence to an authorised officer. This is a legal requirement so if you have lost your personal licence or its been stolen, you'll need to apply for a replacement.



If you have an issue with a licensed premises there are different people you should contact depending on the problem.  

Public register

You can view details of existing personal licence holders and a list of current applications on our licensing public register.