As discussed in my last post, the Licensing Act 2003 makes certain activities in the United Kingdom licensed. What that ultimately means is: if you wish to provide that kind of entertainment at your event, you’re going to need a license to do it.

This post will cover the difference between premises licenses and temporary events notices, and what effect this has on licensing your event.

If you haven’t caught the last post, check it out here: Licensable Activities: What Do I Need A License For?

Premises Licenses

Premises licenses are, as the name implies, licenses which are attached to a particular premises (vehicle, vessel or moveable structure or any place or a part of any premises).

This kind of license will covers all kinds of licensable activities. However, where alcohol is sold or supplied (such as in a pub or a social club), there must be a personal license holder and a designated premises supervisor at all times.

Some parks and other popular sites for events have their own premises license; check with the council and save yourself the hassle!

Personal License Holder

A personal license holder is a person who is authorized to sell or supply alcohol on premises with a premises license. To obtain a premises license, a person must be at least 18, passed a relevant licensing exam, passed a CRB check, and has no unspent convictions.

Designated Premises Supervisor

There can only be one designated premises supervisor per premises, however a single designated premises supervisor can supervise several premises. The designated premises supervisor is the person who will run the day-to-day operation of the premises. They are expected to be the point of contact should a licensing authority, police or fire service be called to the premises.
Designated premises supervisors are usually personal license holders.

Temporary Events Notice

A Temporary Events Notice is an authorization to carry out licensable activities at a premises on a short term basis. The notice is given to the local authority and police at least 10 days before your event. Both the local council, environmental health, and the police can object to the provision of a Temporary Events Notice if they feel your event will cause crime and disorder, public nuisance, public safety issues, or expose children to harm or a risk of harm.

Naturally, the big take-home point here is: Apply well in advance!

Temporary Events Notices are appropriate if:
1. Your event lasts no more than 96 hours
2. Your event has less than 499 people engaged in licensable activities at any one time
3. You do not intend, on the same premises, to apply for more than 12 temporary events notices a year
4. Your proposed events are at least 24-hours apart.
5. The aggregate duration of all events is less than 15 days per year

A single person may apply for a maximum of 5 temporary events notices per year, unless they are a personal license holder. In the event a person is a personal license holder, they can have a maximum of 50 temporary events notices a year. (It might be a good idea to employ the services of a personal license holder if you intend to run more than 5 events per year through a single person!)

If you require more than the above list permits, you will have to apply for a premises license.

How To Apply For Licenses

You will need to apply for a license from the relevant licensing authority. The application may vary between different licensing authorities (quite like, as discussed last time, their interpretation of the rules!)

For a premises license – you will usually need to provide a plan of the premises, a fee, an operating schedule (detailing the kinds of activities and proposed times), and a consent form from the proposed designated premises supervisor.

For a temporary events notice, you will usually need to submit an application for a license to the police and local authority along with a fee. As stated, you need to give at least ten days notice – so plan well in advance in case there is any appeal!

Key Points To Take Away

• Premises licenses are attached to single premises; some places, like parks, already have premises licenses, so speak with the council first and save time.

• To supply or sell alcohol on premises with a premises license, there will need to be a designated premises supervisor. They will be the point of contact should licensing, the police, or the fire service be called out.

• A temporary events notice is useful for short term events. There are conditions which you must fit into for an event to be able to be run on a temporary events notice – you will need to be aware of these when making your application!

• Employing a personal license holder might make running events much easier as they can sell alcohol on premises with a premises license, and can apply for more temporary events notices per year than mere mortals.

• Application for relevant licenses varies from council to council. Speak with the council and see exactly what paper work they require. I repeat again for clarity – Fill it in as early as you can! You don’t want to organize a champagne buffet fit for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with no way to legally serve up champagne!


Craig Ineson is a law graduate of the University of Liverpool, current student of international business law at master’s level, a passionate restaurant reviewer, and experienced content writer.
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