Temporary Event Notice Licensing laws

Published on November 17th, 2010 | by Dean Carr


Temporary Event Notice

What is a Temporary Event Notice?

A Temporary Event Notice (TEN) is the temporary equivalent of a premises licence. It was brought into force with the Licensing Act 2003 to replace the old ‘occasional licence’, and is aimed at individuals and businesses that aim to sell alcohol on an occasional basis. As such, the TEN is ideal for seasonal stall holders, annual events and business experiments.

A Temporary Event Notice is relevant to all of licensable activities, not just the sale of alcohol.

Operation criteria:

(Note: Amendments to the Licensing Act 2003, influencing TENs, came into force on 25 April 2012 and are included in this article.)

  • The maximum duration of a TEN is one week
  • No more than 499 people may attend the event at any one time
  • A premises may operate under TENs for a maximum of 21 days per calendar year
  • No more than twelve TENs can be applied to a particular premises in any calendar year
  • There must be a minimum of 24 hours between events taking place on a given premises

A personal licence holder can apply for up to 50 Temporary Event Notices per calendar year. This is essentially a functional limit for mobile bars.

Remember that the Licensing Act 2003 applies to temporary events- every retail sale of alcohol must be made or authorised by a personal licence holder.

Is a mobile bar a premises?

To all intents and purposes, a licensed mobile bar is considered a premises under the Licensing Act 2003. Every retail sale of alcohol must be made or authorised by a personal licence holder.

Nevertheless, the TEN criteria above influence a mobile bar differently to a fixed building- a ‘premises’ is the mobile bar and the venue combined. Therefore, a licensed bar could visit up to 50 different events in a year, but only visit the same venue up to 12 times and for up to a week/21 days annually (as specified above). The travelling bar itself is not limited to 12 events or 21 operational days.

Some examples:

An Cafe applies for 10 TENs during a year to hold 10 two-day licensed events (a total of 20 days. Each event lasts less than 1 week).

An Arts Centre applies for 2 TENs during a year to hold two one-week-long licensed events (a total of 20 days. Each event lasts up to 1 week).

A Mobile Bar applies for 40 TENs during a year to visit 30 Farmers Market events. Each lasts for two or three days. No event venue is visited more than 12 times or for more than 21 days.

A Pub holds a festival in an ajacent field under a TEN. The event lasts for two days. No more than 499 people are permitted on the site at any one time.

Applying for a Temporary Event Notice:

  • You must be 18 or over to apply for a TEN. Anyone aged 18 or over can apply for a maximum of five TENs per calendar year
  • A personal licence holder can apply for a maximum of fifty TENs per calendar year
  • The premises user must, no later than 10 working days before the day on which the event is to start, give duplicate copies of the notice to the relevant licensing authority, together with the fee of £21 payable to the licensing authority where the event is to be held. As of 25 April 2012, it will be possible to give a limited number of “late” TENs five clear working days in advance of an event.
  • A copy of the notice must also be given to the relevant chief officer of police no later than 10 working days before the day on which the event is to start

You can download the temporary event notice form on the Home Office website on the applications page.

Objections to a Temporary Event Notice:

The Police and the council’s Environmental Health Department are able to object to Temporary Event Notices. Grounds of objection include all four licensing objectives. In the event of such an objection, the licensing authority can attach conditions to the Temporary Event Notice.

Temporary Event Notices or premises licence?

Temporary Event Notices are ideal for some small businesses and highly restrictive for others. When assessing the options, a business should consider the operation criteria and application/administration costs of TENs; it may emerge that a premises licence is the more economical solution.

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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


  1. Lynn Stewart says:

    Hi. I work for the local council, and run the local community centre. Most ‘do’s’ are ‘bring-your- own’ or children parties; however if a group wants to run a fundraiser, with only ‘like-minded’ guests, ie. not open to general public, who needs the licence? Do they apply for a TEN? I think one or two of them have personal licences!
    We as a community centre have have entertainment/ppl/& one that covers pensioners raffle n bingo(sm. society I think!) or do we need a premises licence? this kind of event maybe couple of times a year tops!

  2. […] a week. Although there are a range of limitations to be taken into consideration (discussed in our TEN guide), TENs are a viable alternative to a premises licence for small mobile bar businesses running a […]

  3. […] You can read more about TENs, including important event criteria, in Temporary Event Notice. […]

  4. Mark says:

    Hi Derek,

    If the drinks are given away, no form of licensing is required. If there is an admission charge to the party, though, the provision of drinks becomes a retail sale of alcohol, and you would require a TEN. A TEN application can be made to your local licensing authority (the licensing department of the club’s local council) and costs around £30. Up to 12 TEN applications can be made per year.

  5. Derek says:

    Our sailing club has work parties twice a year after which we provide a BBQ and, (at no charge), a few tins of beer and/or a glass of wine. Do we need a TEN?

  6. Jeremy says:

    In Scotland an occasional licence made on behalf of a registered charity does not require a personal licence holder to oversee the sale of alcohol from the event. However the application for the occasional licence must be made in the name of the charitable organisation i.e. Oxfam. You are also required by law to name a designated person on the application form to be the responsible person for the event. Ideally that person should be present at the event to oversee the sales of alcohol are made responsibly. An application for a Scottish occasional licence must be made 6 weeks prior to the event taking place. The cost of the application is currently £10. Notification of the application must also be made to the chief constable for the area in which the event is to take place. A copy must also be sent to the licensing standards officer at the relevant licensing board. For further information please see Scottish Licensing Act (2005) Part 4 Section 56

  7. Ian Crawford says:

    PS – The event is in Scotland so I don’t know if there are seperate rules north of the border.

  8. Ian Crawford says:

    I am running a fundraiser in a school and I am currently trying to find out if we need a temp license to sell alcohol?



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