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Agenda item

Draft Statement of Licensing Policy - Analysis and Response

ADDITIONAL CIRCULATION

 

Alongside the consultation on the Draft Statement of Licensing Policy, The Licensing Board is conducting an online survey in respect of onsales overprovision.  Members of the Forum are invited to consider the attached transcript with a view to consideration of a formal response.

 

Members wishing to view the consultation online can do so at:

https://consultation.aberdeencity.gov.uk/corporate-governance/licensing-board-onsales-overprovision

 

Minutes:

There was a general discussion about the relationship between the Local Licensing Forum and the Licensing Board.  Members were concerned that there seemed to be very little contact with the Board and no tasks had been forthcoming from it.  The clerk suggested that it might be possible to have the Local Licensing Forum appear as a standing item of the Boards agenda, which would provide continuous visibility and act as a means for information to flow between the two.  Jenni Wilson said that this was achievable, and Sandy Munro agreed to speak to the Board to explain the new agenda heading and encourage them to give tasks to the Forum.

 

The Forum discussed the Council’s Draft Statement of Licensing Policy.  By way of introduction, Sandy Munro said that, in producing the draft, the Legal Team had sought to trim the wording down and make it plain.  He emphasised the fact that each licensed premises was different and, although the draft policy contained lists of things the Board would consider, it would not be necessary for every box to be ticked for every premises.  He stressed that the Licensing Board would still consider each application on its own merits. The example given was that, although the policy states that the maximum terminal hour is 3am, all premises would not automatically be allowed to open until then.  The hours granted would still take account of the type of premises, its size, capacity, location etc.  3am was simply the maximum.

 

The Forum turned to the Draft Policy itself and there was a general discussion:

 

Martin asked if CCTV would be required at all premises.  Sandy said that, whilst CCTV was certainly desirable, not all premises would be required to have it.

 

Shamini noted the reference to ‘partner agencies’ and asked why they were not listed.  Sandy responded saying that it had been left open, so that if there were any partnership changes the policy did not have to be updated.

 

The Forum thereafter dealt with each section of the Draft Policy in turn:

 

Preventing Crime & Disorder

Kenny welcomed the inclusion of vulnerability in a couple of the sections, however he said he felt that the word ‘vulnerability’ alone was not enough and that the policy needed to be more prescriptive in that regard.

 

Sarah noted that certain points would only apply to late night premises.  Sandy acknowledged this and reminded members that each premises would be looked at individually, using the policy as a toolkit.

 

Securing Public Safety

Where the Draft Policy states ‘Review licences as a last resort’, the Forum suggested adding, ‘…where it can’t be rectified by other means’.

 

Martin said it would be useful to have a bit more guidance around glassware to explain which premises might be required to use alternatives.

 

Heather queried if the conditions could be printed.  Sandy said that these had been left out deliberately as they can change and then the policy would have to be changed.  He said the Draft Policy had been designed so that it would hopefully require very little maintenance.  Also, it could not be said for certain that certain types of premises would have certain conditions, so being too prescriptive could actually prove to be counterproductive.

 

Preventing Public Nuisance

Members noted the inclusion of the ‘Agent of Change’ principle.  Sandy said it had been included in the Draft Policy for consideration by Councillors.

 

Protecting and Improving Public Health

There was a discussion around paragraph 2 of this section.  Sandy explained that the paragraph was attempting to convey the message that there was a recognition that licensing alone could not fully address all health concerns and that the Council was willing to work alongside others on this important issue.

 

Martin asked for clarity around the term ‘Licensed hours reflective of operating hours’.  Sandy said that it was important that the hours on a licence reflected the hours that the premises actually traded, however premises were not bound to stay open until their terminal hour and would be able to close early if they needed to.

 

There was a further discussion around vulnerability and the Forum generally agreed that, whilst they understood the new policy was designed to be flexible, the parts relating to vulnerability needed some sort of definition behind them.  Heather said there was a definition in the Community Empowerment Act which might be useful.

 

Instead of the term, ‘Awareness of irresponsible promotions’ Diane Sande suggested that a more positive way of phrasing it would be to say that Licence Holders should have awareness of responsible promotions.

 

Protecting Children and Young Persons from Harm

There was a discussion about licenses being granted for educational establishments.  Sandy explained that this came under the banner of occasional licenses and that factors such as the type of premises and the nature of the event had to be considered.  The policy aimed to make it clear however that licenses would not be granted for events which were child focussed.

 

There was a further general discussion about late opening.  The Forum members representing the trade were a little concerned that the wording made it appear that all licensed premises would be able to open until 3am.  Sandy stressed that this was not the case and that what was shown was the maximum, not necessarily what premises would get.  He said that this was very indicative of the new style of the policy document, which was much less prescriptive and more like a toolkit.

Supporting documents: