Personal Licence Personal Licence

Published on August 11th, 2011 | by Dean Carr


What is a personal licence?

Every thing you need to know about becoming a personal licence holder, how to obtain a personal license and what a personal licence will enable you to do can be found on this webpage.
A personal licence holder is a person who is licensed to sell alcohol by retail or able to give authorisation to others to sell alcohol by retail. A personal licence holder may also apply to become the Designated Premises Supervisor or DPS as it is known.
The Licensing Act 2003 has established a regime for the granting of personal licences to individuals to supply, or to authorise the sale or supply of alcohol under a premises licence.
The personal licence is separate from the licence that authorises the premises to be used for the supply of alcohol. The licensing of individuals separately from the licensing of premises permits the movement of personal licence holders from one premise to another, allowing greater flexibility. It ends the previous outdated 1964 Act where publicans were tied by licenses to the premices where they work. The 2003 licensing Act also provides the police, responsible authorities and licensing authorities with powers to deal with unscrupulous personal licence holders.
The personal licence relates only to the supply of alcohol under a premises licence. An individual will not require a personal licence for the other licensable activities, the provision of regulated entertainment or late night refreshment, or for the supply of alcohol under a club premises certificate or temporary event notice (although personal licence holders will be able to give 50 temporary event notices each year instead of the limit of 5 for non-personal license holders). However a personal licence holder is required to oversee the sale of alcohol under a temporary event notice.
A personal licence does not authorise its holder to supply alcohol anywhere, but only from establishments with a premises licence authorising the supply of alcohol in accordance with the premises licence. An individual may hold only one personal licence at any one time. A personal licence holder may only be the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) of one premise at any one time.
All premises licenses authorising the supply of alcohol must have an identified personal license holder known as the designated premises supervisor.  This ensures there is always one specified individual who can be readily identified at a premise where a premises licence is in force.  This person will usually be responsible for the day-to-day running of the premises. More than one individual at the licensed premises may hold a personal licence, although it is not necessary for all staff to be licensed. But, all supplies of alcohol under a premises license must be made by or under the authority of a personal licence holder.
A personal licence is issued for ten years in the first instance and can be renewed on application for a further ten years if the license holder has not been convicted of any relevant or foreign offence. An individual’s personal license is normally issued by the local councils licensing authority where they reside.
Applicants for personal licences will need to obtain an accredited qualification first. The aim of the qualification is to ensure that licence holders are aware of licensing law and the wider social responsibilities attached  to the sale of alcohol. Personal license qualification providers are accredited by the Secretary of State.
The licensing qualification for a personal licence holder in England and Wales is known as the Award for personal licence holders or APLH Level 2. Scotland has a different licensing system. The licensing(Scotland)Act 2005. The licensing qualification for a personal licence holder in Scotland is known as the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders SCPLH Level 5.
Both licensing qualifications will allow the holder to apply for a personal licence to sell alcohol by retail.
In England and Wales applicants for a personal licence are also required to apply for a basic criminal record check. In Scotland the police will conduct a PNC check on each applicant and a police interview may be required.
If your looking to apply in England and Wales you will need a basic criminal record checks (CRB)
A basic criminal record checks can be obtained from Disclosure Scotland for further details call their helpline number 0870 609 6006, or their website (see link below).
Disclosure Scotland Website
How to apply for a personal licence
Before applying for a personal licence to sell alcohol by retail, the applicant must hold a relevant licensing qualification. In England and Wales this is known as a Award for Personal Licence Holders APLH Level 2 and in Scotland the licensing qualification is known as the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (SCPLH) Level 5.
An application for a personal licence must be made to the Licensing Authority (England & Wales) /Licensing Board (Scotland). Licensing Authorities/Licensing Boards are departments of local councils.
When applying for a personal license the applicant should apply; to the Licensing Authority/(Scotland)Licensing Board where they live.
More information on applying for a personal licence in Scotland can be found at
When applying for a personal license you will need to complete the appropriate application forms. These are available on request from the Licensing Authority/Licensing Board .
In England & Wales these application forms can also be downloaded from the DCMS website. In Scotland the applications can be obtained from your local licensing board.
Please note that an applicant’s full name including all forenames must be given on all documents in connection with the personal licence application.
The completed personal license application must be accompanied by the following:
  • 2 photographs (passport size) – one must be signed by someone of some standing within the community i.e. solicitor, accountant, police office, doctor, teacher, invigilator, minister of religion, bank or building society official or civil servant;
  • The fee of £37.00 (Cheque’s should be made payable to “Your Local Council”);
  • A Disclosure of Convictions and Declaration (this should state whether or not any relevant or foreign offences have been committed, including full details, were applicable).
There are several accredited awarding bodies who offer the licensing qualification for England, Wales all of these licensing qualifications are accredited by the Secretary of State and acceptable to licensing authorities. The awarding bodies are as follows;
  1. NCFE Level 2 Award for Personal License Holders (APLH);
  2. EDI Level 2 Award for Personal License Holders (APLH);
  3. HABC Level 2 Award for Personal License Holders (APLH);
  4. BIIAB Level 2 Award for Personal License Holders (APLH);
There are several awarding bodies for Scotland these include the following
1.    EDI Level 5 Scottish Certificate for Personal License Holders (SCPLH)
2.    City & Guilds Level 5 Scottish Certificate for Personal License Holders (SCPLH)
3.    BIIAB Level 5 Scottish Certificate for Personal License Holders (SCPLH)
For more information on Scottish license training courses please
There is a wide network of training providers who offer licensing qualifications including Personal Licence Training Limited who offer over 120 course dates nationwide, their web site can be found at;
The average cost of a personal license training course is around £150.00 +VAT
Applicants who apply for a personal license to sell alcohol also need to submit a basic criminal records check with their application. In order to meet this requirement you can apply on line to Disclosure Scotland. apply to Disclosure Scotland for a Basic Disclosure
If you do not have access to a computer your Local Council can provide you with the necessary application form and notes on completion. All applications cost £23.00
Please Note: Disclosure certificates (CRB checks) are only valid for 30 days and must be in date when your personal license application is received by your local council. The Council cannot by law accept a certificate which is more than one calendar month old.
Please Note: Failure to submit all the required information will result in your application being returned to you by your local council.
Personal Licence Training Limited also offer a license processing service, they can process your personal alcohol licence for you for £295.00. This includes your training course, examination fee, Course material, CRB check, application fee to your Local Authority.
You just get your personal license in post.
Processing a personal license application take approximately 4-6 weeks. In some cases license can be issued sooner.
This information document has been produced by Dean Carr from Personal Licence Training Limited
You can contact Personal Licence Training Limited on 0845 388 5472

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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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