Alcohol Licence Law Licensing laws

Published on August 16th, 2010 | by Dean Carr


Alcohol Licence – How do I get one? A step by step guide.

This article is intended as a guide and not as a full explanation of alcohol licensing law. You can get full advice from the team at Personal Licence Training Ltd (Tel 0845 388 5472).

Contact your local Council Licensing department and request forms.  Most councils will have a pack they can send with information to help you through the process. You need:

  • Application for a Premises Licence
  • Consent of a Premises Supervisor
  • Declaration
  • Certificate of Posting of Public Notice and the Public Notices (Notice of  Application for Grant of premises licence)

You will need at least one Personal Licence Holder.  They must be over 18 and be responsible with no relevant convictions. They have to be licensed with the local council in the area they live in.  If there is no Personal Licence holder (for example if they leave your employ) you cannot sell alcohol so choose someone permanent or a couple of people.  Contact their local council for the application forms Disclosure of Convictions and Application for a Personal Licence.

The Personal Licence Holder will need an APLH certificate (formally NCPLH) for England, and Wales or a SCPLH certificate for Scotland  – (find a local course here).  The course also covers the application process – which is really helpful.  There’s a multi-choice exam at the end and results available within a week.  Re-sits can be done easily without re-sitting the whole course.  You can contact Personal Licence Training Ltd for more information. An online mock exam can be found here.

Form DP1 available from the Police.  You will get a certificate back which will confirm that you do or don’t have convictions. (Alternatively you can ask the team at Personal Licence Training Ltd to do this for you)

You will need to supply two forms of identification with your request for the Police check.  You will need two passport type photos for your Personal Licence.  They will need certifying as a true likeness of you on the back by someone of standing as with a passport application.  The Personal Licence Application will state exactly what is required.

Once you’ve collected all the info you need you can complete and send off your Personal Licence Application.

You need to mark the plans with fire escapes, toilets, kitchens and other relevant information as directed by the Premises License application form.  If you don’t have plans you may have to contact your landlord who may charge you for this.

It’s a long form but not as bad as it looks.  Photocopy the form first so that if you make a lot of mistakes you’ve got a spare copy.  The main areas covered are business and people information, activities you want to do, opening times, how you operate (see the next step) and how you meet the four licensing objectives.

  • Protection of Children From Harm
  • Public Nuisance
  • Prevention of Crime and Disorder
  • Public safety

This section is best done on a separate document and attached to your application – you can then make corrections and change it without redoing the whole application.  You need to simply spell out how your shop operates and how you will ensure that you meet the four licensing objectives (above), cover things like  number of staff, training, age checks, security, health and safety

All premises must have a Premises Supervisor, who is also a Personal Licence Holder.  They will be first point of contact if there’s any trouble. Once they’ve got their Personal Licence, they will need to complete the Consent of a Premises Supervisor form to show they agree to be nominated for the role.  This form is sent off with the Premises Licence.

Talk to the Personal Licence Training Ltd Team about any points you are unsure about.  Are there other licensed shops in the area who could read through your application for you or even the tutors from the licensing course?

You need to post copies of your application to a wide number of authorities to give them chance to object: Your local Police, Fire, Environmental Health, Planning, Social Services, Health & Safety Executive, Trading Standards are a good start.   Your application pack will probably give you guidance and may even give you their addresses.

You need to put an advert in the local paper to announce you are applying for a Licence.  Wording for the advert is usually provided with your application forms.  Time your advert to be in the paper a few days (but no more than ten) after you post the application off.

Make sure you include everything – there’s usually a checklist. Cost is dependent on the rateable value of your business (and extra costs if there are more than 5,000 people on the premises at any time).

Fill in and stick up the Notice of Application for Grant of Premises Licence on a nearby lamp post.  This has to stay up 28 days.  When you eventually take it down you need to complete the final form and send it in to confirm you’ve had the Notice up.

Your local licensing team may contact you about you application for clarification if needed – but if there’s no objections you’ll be putting your first case of beer on the shelf in a few weeks.

There is an annual fee to pay to keep your licence.

These last for ten years – you will need to ensure that they are renewed at this time.

If you would like to talk to someone about applying for your personal licence or a premises licence application then we recommend you speak to the licensing team at Personal Licence Training who offer regular national training courses in England, Scotland and Wales.

They can be contacted on:

England & Wales Tel: 0845 388 5472

Scotland Tel: 0844 330 7435

PLT Head Office Tel: 01527 544 780  (office hours Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm)

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About the Author

Dean Carr

Dean has been involved in alcohol licensing for over 20 years and has helped many independent retailers and corporate clients obtain a licence to sell alcohol or offer late night refreshment, regulated entertainment from all sorts of premises. Dean writes articles for various trade related blogs and is currently Managing Director of the PLT group of companies who run APLH and SCPLH personal alcohol licence courses nationwide. You can contact Dean or a member of his expert licensing team on: 01242 222 188


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  2. sarah burgess says:

    i lost my certifcate without get the photo license how can i get a copy of my cirtificate??

  3. Jo Taylor says:

    If the bar was free then you would not require a premises or personal licence as it is not a licensable activity to give alcohol as a gift or to consume it. You will require a temporary event notice should you wish to retail the alcohol and this is also the case for any regulated entertainment that would take place on the day. I know that you, as are many of us, trying to save money in this current climate, but on a day as special as this, do you need the extra stress of worrying about licensing? Does the premises where you are holding the reception hold a licence? If you were to hire a bar, they would be able to make sure that the relevant licence were in place for the sale of alcohol as this is their day to day business.

  4. Emma Miles says:

    At my wedding to save money i would like to sell alcohol rather than hiring a bar. Would i need some sort of temporary license? Would it be different if it was a free bar?

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