Question 2 Responses
37. The second question was:
Should any of the provisions in the current Licensing (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2007, other than those specifically relating to neighbour notifications, be updated?
38. The respondents were firstly asked to answer “Yes” or “No” to question 1.
Thirty one of whom replied “Yes” and sixteen said “No”. Three of the respondents did not respond to this question.
39. They were thereafter asked to explain their answer giving consideration to the following:
- Are the other provisions fit for purpose?
- In what way should any of the other provisions be amended?
- What would be the likely impact for local communities, the trade and the public?
40. There were forty one responses to this part of the question.
Some respondents to this particular question felt that there was no need to update any of the other provisions. These included individuals, a community council Licensing Boards and the Scottish Beer and Pub Association who made comments such as -
- at present, fit for purpose.
- ok as are.
- I see no need for amending the other provisions”; “We see no need to change.
- the other provisions are fit for purpose and work well.
- the Aberdeenshire Licensing Boards consider the current provisions to be fit for purpose and have not experienced any significant difficulty in putting them into practice.
- We do not believe that there is any evidence to support amendments to the current provisions.
Other respondents, which included individuals, a community council, a Licensing Board and a council felt that there was a need to change other provisions and provided general comments, such as:
- actively involving the community councils.
- a need for a standardised method of delivering the neighbourhood notification, to ensure those who should be notified are notified. This could be done by recorded or registered delivery.
- no-one should be able to hold an event selling alcohol or to acquire an occasional licence unless they have someone with a personal licence to supervise the event.
- there should be clearer license definition and specific conditions to that license type.
- need more community and grassroots input.
- I feel that the whole system needs updating and in particular the legal wordings in your procedures which are not very user friendly.
- the creation of an "opt-in" list for inclusion of all persons who have expressed an interest in being notified of new grants of premises licences within the area would increase public awareness and increase engagement.
- the cost involved in posting such notifications are a major negative with the current procedures.
- internal Council departments should be specifically consulted and not optionally, such as Environmental Health, Planning, Housing, Building Control.
- all notices should provide a link to the premises application, layout plan and operating plan. This additional information should be a requirement on the local authority as it is very difficult to object if this information is withheld.
41. In addition, The Scottish Consultants and Specialists in Public Health Alcohol Special Interest Group made a number of general comments regarding different issues, when answering question 2, stating -
- “Some licensing boards notify community councils, but many areas do not have active community councils, so if a neighbour is unable to represent themselves they have no one else to turn to.
Despite the legislation relating to the establishment of licensing fora, not all areas have a licensing forum and there are instances where the licensing forum is dominated by licensees, licensing agents and where the voice of the community is not heard. Also, the licensing forum is unable to ask for information on specific applications, but only on the general approach taken by the licensing board.
All of the above means that if an individual is not able to represent themselves to the licensing board there are no other easily accessible means of doing so.
Ideally, a range of local community organisations should be encouraged to respond and supported in doing so. Examples of possible responders include addiction recovery groups, older people's clubs, sports clubs, youth clubs and mother and toddler groups”.
42. Some of the other respondents were more specific and outlined particular regulations which they felt there were issues with or required to be changed, such as:
43. Regulation 10: Objections and Representations
- Alcohol Focus Scotland suggested that this regulation should be amended to require that boards make a pro forma available to anyone wishing to object or make a representation, stating “Specifically, the content and structure of the pro forma should be such that people are directed to set out their objection/representation, line of reasoning, and any accompanying evidence, with specific reference to the grounds for refusal, particularly the licensing objectives. Although use of the pro forma would be optional, it could go far to help members of the public ensure compliance with any legal requirements, avoid potential wastage of time and resources, and ultimately ensure the objectives are afforded proper consideration in any proceedings. We are aware that some boards make such a form available currently, though this is not universal practice”.
44. Regulation 11: Notifications of documents by Board
- Two Licensing Boards pointed out that regulation 11(3) is out of date as section 21(3)(b) of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 has been repealed. It was suggested this regulation should be adjusted or removed.
45. Regulation 12: Timetable for hearings under sections 23(2) and 30(3)
- Renfrewshire Licensing Board highlighted that the 119 day time limit, will require to be removed or suitably updated to reflect the new statutory time limits to be introduced under section 134ZA of the 2005 Act. (Not yet in force).
46. Regulation 13: Timetable for other hearings
- Renfrewshire Licensing Board highlighted that this regulation will also have to be updated to reflect the new statutory time limits to be introduced under section 134ZA of the 2005 Act. (Not yet in force).
- West Lothian Licensing Board highlighted a concern over the requirement to hold a hearing under section 38(1) no later than 42 days after making a proposal, or receiving an application, for a premises licence review, stating “ The Licensing (Procedure)(Scotland) Regulations 2007 do not set out any timeframes for notifications nor a timeframe for the Licensing Standards Officer to produce a report. The Board has in the past found that when a review hearing calls before the Board it is invariably adjourned to another date in order for the premises licence holder, or their agent, to investigate the position and be in a position to answer the allegations in the review application .
It is suggested that the period of 42 days be extended to 60 days which would be in line with the cycle of Board meetings being held on a monthly basis. This would allow time for disputed facts to be considered by all parties and ensure the Board has all information before it when holding such a hearing”.
47. Regulation 14: Representation at hearings
This regulation enables a party to be represented by another person at a hearing held by a board, though the board can decide not to hear such representations if the person is unable to produce written authority to that effect.
- Alcohol Focus Scotland have suggested it would be helpful to amend this regulation stating “Awareness of this requirement is particularly important for community representatives, who may be required to demonstrate they have authority to speak on behalf of a community council, for example, or who may ask someone else to attend on their behalf if unable to attend a meeting. While AFS has tried to raise awareness of this through our community licensing toolkit it would be helpful for the regulations to be amended to require licensing boards to proactively make applicants and objectors aware of this requirement”.
48. Regulation 15: Statement of reasons
- Alcohol Focus Scotland intimated that people making representations or objecting often do not realise that they can require the board to give a statement of reasons for the grant or refusal of the relevant application, stating “In addition, where statements of reasons are provided, they can often be written in complex and overly legalistic language, which can be extremely difficult for people without technical expertise (and even for some people with this expertise) to understand.
- Renfrewshire Licensing Board suggested “The Scottish Government may wish to take the opportunity to prescribe a period for the issue of a statement of reasons in Regulation 15, in relation to section 39A of the Act. Consideration should be given to either increasing the time that a Board has to issue a statement of reasons from the current specification of 14 days to either; 21 days or amending the existing provision to 14 working days”. (section 39A is partially in force)
- West Lothian Licensing Board also commented on the current timescale for issuing of a statement and offered an alternative suggestion, stating “The Board observes that the 14 day timescale for the issuing of a statement of reasons is difficult to meet given the volume and demands of other business. The work involved in preparing these statements is carried out by the Clerk to the Board and their workload covers all licensing matters including licences under the Civic (Government) Scotland Act 1982 and other miscellaneous licensing regimes”.
The Board would invite consideration being given to extending this timescale to 15 working days. It is considered that this will promote more effective and better quality statements that will help Sheriffs deal with appeals under the 2005 Act expeditiously”.
49. Regulation 16: Notice of determinations under Part 3
- Renfrewshire Licensing Board suggested “the Scottish Government may wish to provide a period of time for notice of determinations under section 39A, within the terms of Regulation 16”. (section 39A is partially in force).
50. Regulation 17: Reasons under section 12(1)(b)
- Alcohol Focus Scotland stated “The current provisions regarding reasons under section 12(1)(b), by only setting a timescale, do not appear to reflect the vital role of forums or the level of regard that boards are expected to give to any advice or recommendations made by them.
- Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) stated that this “Should be strengthened”.
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