Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Time called as act finally becomes law

The Licensing Act 2003 is now law and should be in full operation by November.

From that day the 'proprietor' of any educational institution offering regulated entertainment or selling alcohol will need a licence to do so.

Regulated entertainment essentially covers any public performance to which members of the public are admitted or any private performance for which a charge is made.

For instance, a display on an open evening would probably not be included. Morris dancing is not a regulated entertainment so would not be included. However, other forms of dance and dance music are.

Fetes or similar events also fall outside the scope of the act - though this exemption should be interpreted with caution.

Schools will need to decide whether to apply for a permanent licence for school plays, dance displays etc. Alternatively, they could apply for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) from the licensing authority.

This can be done for an event that lasts no longer than 96 hours, with 24 hours between events, playing to less than 500 people. TENs can be issued up to a maximum of five each year.

If a school does go for a permanent licence the application will need to be made by the governors. It seems that principals and heads will no longer be considered licensees.

This is important in view of a further provision of the act - that schools or colleges with bars will have to have a 'premises supervisor' holding a personal licence present whenever alcohol is sold.

Not all bar staff need to hold a personal licence but one person must.

The new licensing authorities will be the local authority. Members should contact their local council to discuss any doubtful issues as soon as possible.

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