In a flurry of activity, the last government introduced electronic licensing during the last few months of 2009. The promise was that licensed premises and even organizers would be able to apply online for Temporary Event Notices, Premises Licences and licence variations.
Over six months on and nothing has changed. The promise of streamlined systems and potential saving in red tape and costs has simply not materialised. Our licensing expert, Nigel Musgrove, refuses to use the new online system because of the uncertainties, and his fellow professionals seem to be sharing his distrust.
For those brave enough to give it a go, it is difficult to identify the few Licensing Authorities who are actually able to undertake on-line licensing. It seems most do not have in place the necessary systems for processing the applications or for taking the on-line payment necessary for the applications to be valid.
It is unlikely that the situation will improve in the near future. With the new government and wholesale cuts, we suspect that Licensing Authorities will be tightening their belts further and will not be investing in systems for licensing online. So our advice to everyone is to stay with the paper applications, however tedious - better the devil you know.
For advice on licensing, contact Nigel Musgrove on 01285 847 001.