Some information about licensing….
There are a number of licensing issues in relation to running a bar at any event. Bespoke Event Bars can of course deal with all of these issues for their clients and do the bulk of the necessary paperwork but for information this is a brief outline of the current licensing legislation. It is not meant to be exhaustive or constitute legal advice.
If you are intending to supply alcohol to your guests free of charge, there are no licensing requirements in this respect, although you may still need to be licensed for regulated entertainment.
If, however, sales of alcohol are to take place, and your chosen venue does not have a full Premises Licence for the sale of alcohol, it will be necessary to serve a “Temporary Event Notice” (“TEN”) on the Local Authority and police. This does not constitute an “application” as such; it is merely informing the authorities of your intention to carry out licensable activities at a specific venue over a particular period of time. Only the police can object to a “TEN”, and then only on the grounds of crime and disorder. If an objection is received, the outcome will be determined by Councillors, who will hear from all parties before reaching a decision.
There are some conditions associated with Temporary Event Notices.
Attendance at an event covered by a “TEN” cannot exceed 499, unless licensable activities are restricted to an area of the venue where attendance could not, or would not be allowed to, exceed this number.
A “TEN” can only cover a period of up to 96 hours.
An individual serving a “TEN” cannot serve another for the same premises, unless at least 24 hours is to elapse between functions.
A maximum number of 12 “TENs”, covering no more than 15 days, can be submitted for a specific venue in any calendar year. There are exceptions, for example if separate parts of a venue are used for different functions.
If your event falls into a category that can be covered by a “TEN”, it is necessary to send two copies of the completed notice to the Local Authority in whose administrative area the venue lies. A further copy has to be submitted to the appropriate police authority. Provided police do not raise objections (and they do so very rarely), an authorised copy of the notice will be returned to the applicant before the date of the function. The law requires this authorised copy to be available for inspection by competent authorities on the day(s) of the function.
The current cost of a “TEN” is £21 and forms need to be in the hands of the Local Authority’s Licensing Officer at least ten working days before the event.
If you are planning an event catering for 500 or more guests, you may need a full Premises Licence, dependent upon whether licensable activities are to be restricted to an area catering for less than this number, or in a less controlled environment (e.g. mobile bar units on a showground). Premises Licences are complex and expensive (up to £600), and are normally only appropriate to venues hosting large events on a regular basis.
If you are planning to hold a function at a venue already covered by a Premises Licence, you would need to establish that the “Designated Premises’ Supervisor” (“DPS”) specified on that licence is prepared to allow your bar to operate under his/her powers and sometimes a personal license holder will be needed to manage the bar.