Agenda item

Update on the Licensing (Public Protection) Service

Linda Holland (Licensing Manager – Public Protection) has prepared an update on behalf of the Licensing – Public Protection Team which is attached for the  Committee’s information.


Linda Holland (Licensing Manager – Public Protection) referred to the Licensing Service update that was circulated with the Agenda and highlighted the following:


  • Following the relaxation of Covid restrictions, they were now seeing growth in the hospitality industry;


  • The team were already receiving enquiries for events next year which was positive news;


  • There were no significant issues with the Euro 2020 football championships;


  • In a normal year there would be between 2000 and 3000 applications for Temporary Events Notice (TEN).  Although numbers of TENS received for TENS for August were still down on 2019 by 30% there did now seem more confidence from organisers that planned events would still attract sufficient attendance to make them viable;


  • During 2021 to date, six virtual hearings had taken place, in comparison in 2020 when four hearings took place, two of which were virtual hearings. In 2019, seven hearings were required;


  • Businesses were showing more diversity and were requiring licences for internet sales/delivery of alcohol and some supermarkets were looking to extend their opening hours in the run up to Christmas – it was a mixed bag of applications being received by the team;


  • There had been some noise complaints from premises reopening which had triggered some community concerns.  Some premises had sought to utilise their outside areas and these issues would be addressed by colleagues in the Public Protection Noise Team. Complaints about premises could have an impact on their licence if this was not managed correctly and a licence could be reviewed if required;


  • In 2017 changes to the Licensing Act 2003 gave a discretionary power to Licensing Authorities to revoke or suspend a Personal License. A report would be presented to the December of the Committee giving a summary of the proposed procedure with relevant supporting legislation for consideration.  It was proposed as far as possible to follow existing Committee precedent to ensure a straightforward procedure that followed the principles of natural justice;


  • The team were seeking to relaunch awareness of the “Ask for Angela” initiative which aims to reduce sexual violence and vulnerability by providing customers with a non-descript phrase they can use to gain assistance from staff members in order to be separated from the company of someone with whom they feel unsafe due to that person’s actions, words, or behaviour.  There was positive engagement when launched initially and Officers would be providing information and communications to premises about this;


  • In relation to animal licensing, initially during Covid in early 2020, premises were offered a 3-month extension to their licence and most were now in the position of renewing their 3-year licences now.  The need for the animal licensing industry was now picking up again with the increase in dog ownership and the use of boarding facilities for those now going on holiday; and


  • Licensing Officers working with Wiltshire Police would continue to operate the 4 E’s – Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforce and only looking to enforce when there were serious breaches or where previous engagement had taken place with no obvious effect


The Chairman asked Linda to also circulate the contact details of the Police Licensing Officers and the areas they covered.


The Committee asked the following questions:


Q         When will we hear about the possible making of outdoor measures for high streets permanent including marquees in pub grounds etc?


A         The Government had launched a public consultation running from 5 September to 14 November 2021 “Supporting defence infrastructure and the future of time limited permitted development rights”.  A link to this consultation could be shared to the Committee following the meeting and Councillors would be able to respond to the consultation about any of their community areas that may be affected.


Q           The pavement licences were due to expire in September 2021 and it is noted than can be extended to September 2022.  Will they automatically extend?


A         Premises will not need to reapply to extend their pavement licence – they would automatically extend to September 2022.  Officers were waiting to hear what was planned beyond that and something would be put in place after that time in any event.


Q         The written update circulated with the Agenda states that the Licensing Teams workloads had been unsustainably high during many months – how are you coping now?


A         The Covid period was overwhelming and the team were inundated at times.  Much time was spent dealing with deciphering what parts of Government guidance was relevant to the licensing industry.  A number of the Licensing team were also seconded to the Wellbeing Hub.  Whilst the Team were obviously overwhelmed, they still did a great job managing and did have to drop some things off the list – relating to animal licensing.


Q         How are things now – do you have enough resource?


A         Two additional staff were appointed at step 3 of opening up, which although has been helpful, earlier help would have been better.  The position would be revisited in 6 months’ time as it was not known what would happen with the hospitality industry.  Generally the quietist time for the team was January/February/March and it would then be known what the impact of Covid has been where those in the industry are not earning as much and the furlough scheme will have ended.  An update would be provided for the March meeting of the Licensing Committee.


Q         Looking at the numbers of premises who had closed/surrendered their licences – does this relate to pubs closing down?


A         Don’t have figures on the closures at present but could dig deeper to look into those which were pubs closing if required. 


Q         It would have been useful to receive details about the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at this meeting rather than December – a number of constituents were already asking about it.


A         There were a lot of complex issues relating to jubilee plans and not all would sit under the remit of the Licensing Committee.  Officers would be asked to provide a comprehensive list of all things relating to the jubilee.  Applications for large scale events and TENS could be submitted from now although it was expected that the Government would make announcements around the plans and the details had not yet been received.  At least two months’ notice of any planned events would be good.


Q         In relation to the Ask for Angela campaign, how much liaison is there with other premises such as banks or shops – does “Ask for Angela” apply to other premises?


A         “Ask for Angela” is an initiative specific to licenced premises, however there are other avenues and other campaigns that look at public safety and some communications could be prepared so that they could be shared as a Chairman’s announcement at Area Boards.


The Vice Chair remarked on the amount of work carried out by the Licensing Team was astounding and wished to thank Officers and congratulate them.  It was noted that they covered so many areas with very few complaints being received.  In relation to the Platinum Jubilee it was suggested that a community toolkit (as prepared for the VE celebrations) would be a very useful tool for all.  The Chairman confirmed that he would ask Adrian Hampton to provide an FAQ list too.


Linda Holland was thanked by the Committee and asked for these thanks to also be shared with her team who were all highly thought of.




That the Licensing Committee note the update on behalf of the Licensing Service.


Supporting documents: