Posted: Monday, 5 July 2010 @ 09:51
You may remember the flurry of activity by the last government during the last few months of 2009 to introduce electronic licensing via the web. It was all done in a rush to avoid breach of EC legislation. I said at the time that it was a pig's ear, was full of flaws and uncertainties, and that Licensing Authorities would not be geared up either then or in the near future to deliver the promised package.
Six months on and nothing has changed. The system should allow licensing applications such as Temporary Event Notices, applications for new Premises Licenses, and for variations, to be conducted on line with a streamlined sysytem and potential big saving in red tape and costs. But I have not used the system because of the uncertainties, and my fellow professionals seem to be share my distrust. It is also difficult to identify the few Licensing Authorities who are actually able to undertake on line licensing. They do not have in place the necessary sytems for processing the applications or for taking on line payments, 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 I suspect that Licensing Authorities will be tightening their belts further and will not be investing in systems for licensing on line. So my advice to everyone is to stay with the paper applications, however tedious and unnecessary is most of the red tape attached. Better the devil you know.
Licensing law Specialist
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