If you’re considering opening a micropub, one of the first things you can do is get a personal alcohol licence. This is so you can be the micropub’s designated premises supervisor (DPS) once you’ve found a premises.
The DPS authorises the sale of alcohol in a licensed venue. They’re also the main contact for local authority and the police if there are any issues.
All venues – except members clubs and some community venues – need a DPS before they can get a premises licence to sell alcohol.
Why get a personal alcohol licence?
You can nominate anyone with a personal alcohol licence to be your micropub’s DPS. However, it makes sense for it to be you if you have day-to-day responsibility for running the business.
This means you’ll need to get a personal alcohol licence if you don’t have one already.
A personal alcohol licence doesn’t tie you to a specific venue. So get one as soon as you decide on starting a micropub.
How to get a personal alcohol licence
Getting a personal alcohol licence is a simple process, unless you have a conviction for a serious crime.
You just need to get a relevant licensing qualification and then apply to your local authority for the licence.
Getting your licensing qualification
You can get your licensing qualification in a day, but it can take several weeks to get the paperwork. Providers hold courses around all of the UK.
First you take a short course, which covers licensing law and the social responsibilities that come with selling alcohol.
You then take a multiple choice exam at the end of the day.
Make sure the course you take is for a Home Office accredited qualification. Otherwise you won’t be able to get your licence.
Accredited courses are:
- BIIAB Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders
- CIEH Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders (QCF)
- Highfield Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders (RQF)
- IQ Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders
- LASER Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders
- Pearson BTEC Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders
- QNUK Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders
- SQA Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders
- TQUK Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders (QCF)
Applying for a personal alcohol licence
Once you have your licensing qualification, you can apply for a personal licence through your local authority. Most authorities allow you to apply online.
As well as holding a eligible licensing qualification, you need to be over 18. You also need to provide a basic criminal record check dated within one month of your application. You can request a check through the gov.uk website.
You may have to give further details of any criminal convictions you have, if relevant.
Personal alcohol licence cost
The total cost of getting a personal alcohol licence is around £170-£240.
This is broken down like so:
- Personal alcohol licence application – £37
- Basic criminal record check – £25
- Licensing training (including exam and certificate) – £105-£170
- Passport-sized photographs for application – around £5
Some companies will submit your application for you. This usually costs around £300 and includes the licensing qualification.
To update an existing licence (for example to update your address) the cost is usually £10.50.
How long does a personal alcohol licence last?
Until 2015, personal alcohol licenses were valid for 10 years. Now you can hold a personal licence for as long as you want, unless your local authority or the courts suspend or revoke it.
How long does it take to get a personal alcohol licence?
The time it takes to get a personal alcohol licence depends on your local authority and whether it has to take factors such as previous convictions into account. Some can process applications in a couple of weeks; others can take several months.
You also need to allow time to do the licensing course and get your exam results and certificate.
Over to you
Are you thinking about getting a personal alcohol licence? If you’ve got one, how simple did you find the process and how long did it take?