Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 section 142: guidance for licensing boards and local authorities

Guidance on section 142 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 for licensing boards and local authorities.

Annex 1 Job Description for LSOs

POST: Licensing Standards Officer ( LSO)


Licensing Standards Officers are an integral part of the monitoring and enforcement regime of the new alcohol licensing system established by the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

The role includes a wide range of activities backed up by statutory powers. The statutory role and powers are set out in sections 13-15 and section 137 of the Act. This includes power to enforce compliance with the system by licensees. However, the emphasis of the LSO role is on establishing good relationships with licensees and local communities and acting as a source of support by offering information and guidance, mediating to resolve local problems and explaining and promoting National and local Licensing Board policies. Establishing those good relationships should reduce the amount of compliance activity that has to be undertaken.

LSOs therefore have 3 clear roles:

  • Guidance - acting as a source of information and guidance for licensees and for the community and any other interested persons.
  • Mediation - mediating between local communities and the licensed trade or between any two parties where there is a need to resolve a local problem and develop a local solution and offer advice and guidance where appropriate.
  • Compliance - supervising compliance by the holders of premises licences or occasional licences in respect of premises in the area with the conditions of their licence, with the requirements of the Licensing Act and with local Licensing Board policy.

Accountability: LSOs are employed directly by local authorities but will require to report to the licensing board on a regular basis and to present reviews to the Board. They will require to ensure they do not compromise their ability to seek review by being seen to be acting for the Boards as the prosecutor should not be involved with the judge and too close a working relationship could compromise Board decisions and lead to successful appeals against Board decisions.

It will be left to the discretion of local authorities as to which department within the local authorities that LSOs should sit.


Raising awareness of the LSO role and service provided

  • Liaising with and developing an effective working relationship with licensees, the local community and local Police
  • Visiting Licensed Premises
  • Inspecting licensed premises for the purposes set out in section 15 of the Act
  • Providing information and guidance to the general public with regard to the Licensing (Scotland) Act including:
  • National licensing policy and the licensing objectives set out in the Licensing Act
  • Board policies
  • Terms and licence conditions of individual premises licences
  • Making representations to Boards about licences & seeking reviews of licences where appropriate
  • Providing general information and guidance to members of the licensed trade with regard to the Licensing (Scotland) Act including:
  • National licensing policy and the licensing objectives set out in the Licensing Act
  • Board policies
  • Complying with the terms and conditions of the licence
  • Monitoring licensees' compliance with their licence conditions and Board policies, the licensing objectives and other provisions of the Licensing (Scotland) Act
  • Investigating complaints against individual premises
  • Carrying out a mediation role in respect of disputes between licensees and members of the public or any other person
  • Gathering evidence against a licensee who may be in breach of licence conditions, the licensing objectives or any other provision of the Licensing Act
  • Where a licence condition is believed to be being breached, to issue a notice to the holder of the licence outlining action to be taken to remedy the breach and, where this is not complied with, to initiate a review of that premises licence before the Licensing Board
  • Preparing written reports for the Licensing Board:
  • Where the LSO has initiated a review
  • For reviews initiated by other persons
  • On general topics as requested by the Board
  • Collating, preparing and maintaining records relating to caseload
  • Attending meetings of the Licensing Board and the Local Licensing Forum and ADATS or their equivalent


Individual local authorities may decide to ask LSOs to undertake responsibility for enforcing the ban on smoking in public places on licensed premises under the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005.


Individual local authorities may decide to ask LSOs to undertake responsibility for enforcing the Gambling Act.


  • Power to enter licensed premises at any time
  • Power to enter premises where a premises, occasional or temporary licence has been applied for
  • Power to carry out inspections of licensed premises and any substances, articles or documents found there
  • Power to require assistance from licence holders, premises managers and persons working on licensed premises
  • Power to issue compliance notices and initiate a licence review


The LSO hours will be set by the Local Authority for the area but must of necessity include some anti-social hours. As the LSO role will include visits to licensed premises it will be necessary in many cases to visit during trading hours which may extend into the late evening or early morning and weekends.


Grade and Salary will be set by the Local Authority.


Suitable national training will be offered to successful applicants.


LSOs must carry a form of photo identification card approved by the Council such as carried by Environmental Health Officers and/or trading standards officers detailing the empowering legislation, (i.e. the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005) and the powers conferred on them by the Act.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit

Back to top