Introduced by Holyrood in 2009, next year will see a mass renewal of personal licences in Scotland, where the requirement for licences to be renewed every ten years will hit for the first time.
Of course, there will be people who won’t need to renew their licence, taking into account those who have moved out of the licensed trade.
However, it’s estimated that a staggering 40,000 personal licences are due to expire on 31 August 2019. It may seem like there’s still plenty of time to go, but the two-stage renewal process begins much earlier.
Applicants will have to complete a refresher qualification and submit their application between 31 August 2018 and 31 May 2019.
The process has the potential to cause problems for the licensed trade. Many of the expiring licences belong to individuals who are named as the premises manager at licensed venues (the equivalent of the Designated Premises Supervisor in England and Wales). And if a person in this position fails to renew in time, a licensed premises cannot sell or serve alcohol until the premises manager has a valid personal licence. It all makes things very complicated and only highlights the importance of taking swift action.
Scotland’s licensing boards are responsible for issuing personal licences, and they could face a backlog of applications if a large volume is received in a short space of time. Licensing boards, which are already feeling the pressure with other responsibilities and targets, will also see all renewal applications referred to the Home Office for immigration checks.
The window for renewals is tight, and Licensing boards are not able to consider licence applications after this deadline. Whether or not the Scottish Government will allow an extension remains to be seen. It’s important to point out that this shouldn’t be relied on, too; the SNP are renowned for its strict approach to licensing.
Louise Sui, managing director of CPL Training, said: “The renewals process is set to hit for the first time, and it’s best to be prepared rather than wait until the end of the deadline. We are encouraging licence holders in Scotland to complete refresher training and submit their application as early as possible. As a training provider with a strong presence in Scotland, we can facilitate any company who may be affected by the licence expirations, both in terms of training and application renewals.”