Paddy Whur reviews recent developments in relation to personal licences and looks for clues to what might happen next.
Those involved in the leisure sector, both working in the public sector or for the trade, will be following with interest developments in relation to personal licences and what is exactly going to happen to them.
What we do know for certain is that the renewals scheduled to start in 2015 will not now happen and there will not therefore be a need to renew personal licences moving forward. This is going to be introduced through the Deregulation Bill.
What is much more uncertain is to whether personal licences will disappear altogether.
We were all surprised when the Home Office launched the consultation into the potential removal of personal licences back on 12 September 2013. It came relatively out of the blue and we now have little knowledge as to when the consultation responses and Government intentions will become public knowledge.
We contacted the Home Office and a representative stated that they did not know when a response would be published, but suggested that we should monitor the website.
Clearly we will track to see whether the removal of personal licences is going to be kicked into the long grass or whether there is the potential for it to become effective.
The Government have set out their aims in stating as follows: “While taking a firm line on the harms caused by alcohol, this Government has also committed, where possible, to cut red tape for business without undermining important safeguards against our correlated harm. The system of personal licences may not always be the most efficient and effective way of tackling crime and disorder. Its cost to business in application fees, training and criminal record checks is significant. We have already announced that we will reform the system by removing the requirement to renew them. However, we believe that there may be a way to further enable better and more targeted alternatives to the system as a whole”.
This is taken from the forward to the consultation exercise, written by Jeremy Browne, Minister of State for Crime Prevention.
That document and also the impact assessment which the Home Office have produced are interesting documents to glean an idea as to where the Government would intend to push the legislation if personal licences were removed.