Licensing of temporary events

Posted: Tuesday, 2 February 2016 @ 11:36

So you want to sell alcohol at a one–off event such as a festival, or perhaps have some form of entertainment, or maybe provide late night refreshment? Or maybe you already have a Premises Licence but wish to relax any restrictions for a particular event, maybe a quiz night, fancy dress ball, or a charity fundraising event?

If you already run a location with a Premises Licence you may find you already have the necessary paperwork in place. Or the location of the event may have such a Premises Licence. For example parts of a town or village may be licensed to cover licensable activities at annual street events such as a Christmas Fair, music festivals, book festivals and the like. But you should check very carefully whether any Premises Licence actually covers your requirements. It may still be necessary to extend the hours of any particular licensable activity, or add an activity, in which case you will need to give a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) as explained below.

Licensable activities include the sale or supply of alcohol; regulated entertainment in certain cases which may include live and recorded music and events including karaoke; plays; indoor sporting events and the sale of hot food and drinks after 11pm.

Restrictions on TENs: although these notices might seem a useful way to avoiding getting or extending a full Premises Licence that isn’t quite the case as these restrictions explain:

1. The event must not last more than 168 hours.

2. The particular premises to be used can only be used under a TEN for 21 days each calendar year. And note that if an event starts say at 11pm and goes on until 2am, that counts as 2 days!

3. There must be at least a 24 hour gap between 2 TENs.

3. The particular premises can only be used under a maximum of 15 TENs in a calendar year. 

4. The number of people on the premises at any time must not exceed 499, including all staff and performers, so everyone.

5. If it is the holder of a Personal Licence who gives a TEN, they can only give a maximum of 50 in a calendar year.

6. Anyone else who gives a TEN, and that includes clubs with a Club Registration Certificate with no Personal Licence holder, can only give a maximum of 5 TENs in a calendar year.

7. Only 10 late notices are allowed in a calendar year, two for anyone who does not hold a Personal Licence.

If you exceed these limits then you will have to either vary your existing Premises Licence to cover your requirements, or apply for a new Premises Licence.

How to use the TEN
You should download and complete a copy of the TEN form. A new form was introduced on 2 February 2016. I would recommend that you contact your relevant Licensing Authority for a form, and they usually have the form, guidance, and helpful links on their websites.

Only an individual person may give a TEN. The form must be completed and delivered to the Licensing Authority, with the fee of £21, and at the same time delivered to the police and the local environmental health authority. The Licensing Authority will confirm the police and environmental health addresses for service. Usually this information is published on-line by each Licensing Authority, and it is advisable to check their website for further relevant details.

TENs can often be given on-line, in which case it is only necessary to complete the process on-line as the Licensing Authority will contact the police and environmental health within one working day.

Unless completed on-line, the form must be in duplicate and delivered a minimum of 10 clear working days between service, namely receipt by the Licensing Authority, and the start of the event. At the same time a copy must be delivered to the police and local environmental health officer. If you have missed this deadline you can serve a late notice no earlier than 9 clear days and no later than 5 clear days before the event.

Do bear in mind that just sending the paperwork isn’t enough. Whilst you should have a receipted copy of the TEN, some Licensing Authorities simply acknowledge receipt by e-mail, or in writing. Do not assume that you can proceed with the event unless you have a written acknowledgement. Although the Licensing Authority are supposed to acknowledge receipt within 2 days, in our experience they rarely do so.

The police and environmental health authority may object within 3 working days of receipt of the TEN, and they can object on the grounds that any one or more of the 4 licensing objectives would be undermined by the TEN. The 4 objectives are the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance, and the protection of children from harm.

If there is an objection, the Licensing Authority must hold a hearing no later than 24 hours before the event, and either confirm the TEN, add conditions if it relates to an existing premises licence which has those conditions, or agree with the objection and serve a Counter Notice confirming that the notice is invalid. But note that this does not apply to a late notice. If there is an objection to a late notice there is no procedure for a hearing and the TEN will not take effect.

Get your TEN in early
In view of the delays usually experienced you are strongly advised to give your Temporary Event Notice well in advance of the event, I would suggest 2 months. If the event concerned is a large one, or one likely to cause problems or meet with concern, you are advised to consult with the Licensing Authority and police at the earliest opportunity. Wherever possible avoid giving a late TEN, as the police and environmental health will know that they have the power to stop the TEN in its tracks by simply lodging an objection however unjustified it may be.

Display your notice
If you manage to successfully negotiate the procedure, you must display the TEN at your event.

You should also remember that if the Notice authorises the sale of alcohol, the individual who has given the TEN will be responsible for the sale of alcohol and any offences that occur. They do not have to personally supervise each sale of alcohol, but I would strongly recommend that they give written authority to each member of staff selling alcohol, who obviously must all be over the age of 18.

Nigel Musgrove
Licensing Law Specialist
Tel: 01285 847001

For free advice on this topic please call us on 0845 003 5639.

This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.


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