Guidance specifically tailored to the needs of village halls can be seen below.
What type of authorisation do I need?
Do you use your hall for 12 or more events where a licensable activity takes place?
No – A Temporary Event Notice can be sent in for each event at cost of £21 per notice. However, a temporary event notice is limited to less than 500 persons so larger events may need a premises licence or a variation to an existing licence. At the early stage of event planning, you should contact Regulatory Services at the Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Please ensure that there is adequate time for a consultation period.
Yes – A premises licence would be needed covering the activities you propose to carry out. There would not be a charge for this premises licence unless you propose to sell alcohol.
Will alcohol be sold or supplied as a licensable activity for more than 12 occasions?
No – A premises licence that authorises the use of the Hall for all licensable activities other than alcohol sales would be available at no cost to the hall. A Temporary Event Notice could then be used to allow the sale/use of alcohol for up to 12 times in a year (subject to the limits on the number of times an individual can submit Temporary Event Notices).
Yes – A premises licence is required for the Hall and there will be a charge.
Community Premises - premises licence to include the sale of alcohol
The Licensing Act 2003 requires that all sales of alcohol are authorised by a personal licence holder. However, the Legislative Reform (Supervision of Alcohol Sales in Church and Village Halls) Order 2009 (SI 2009/1724) amends the Act to allow community premises with a premises licence that authorises alcohol sales to apply for that licence to be without the requirement for a personal licence holder.
Are my premises a “community premises”?
An application may only be made if the premises licence holder is, or will be, a committee or board of individuals with responsibility for the management of the premises (to be known as the “management committee”).
If such an application is successful, the licence holder (i.e. the management committee) is responsible for the supervision and authorisation of all alcohol sales made pursuant to the licence. All such sales will have to be made or authorised by the management committee. There will be no requirement for a Designated Premises Supervisor or for alcohol sales to be authorised by a personal licence holder.
The Order defines community premises as “premises that are or form part of a church hall, chapel hall or other similar building or a village hall, parish hall or community hall or other similar building”. While there may be issues relating to whether a premises is a community premises with a proper management committee, there should not be many disputed cases and many will self evidently meet the definition of a community premises and have an appropriate management structure in place.
Where it is not clear whether premises are “community premises”, the council will approach the matter on a case-by-case basis. The main consideration in most cases will be how the premises are predominately used. If they are genuinely made available for community benefit most of the time, and accessible by a broad range of persons and sectors of the local community for purposes which include purposes beneficial to the community as a whole, the premises will be likely to meet the definition. This could feasibly include educational premises, such as school halls, but only where they are genuinely and widely used for the benefit of the community as a whole, and not just for the particular school in question. As such, community premises are usually multi-purpose and a variety of activities can be expected to take place in them, such as playschools, senior citizens’ clubs, indoor sports, youth clubs and public meetings.
Many community premises such as school and private halls are available for private hire by the general public. This fact alone would not be sufficient for such halls to qualify as “community premises”. Although availability of premises for hire might be seen as providing a facility for the community, licensing authorities will want to consider whether halls used largely for private hire by individuals or private entities are genuinely by their nature “community premises”. The statutory test is directed at the nature of the premises themselves, as reflected in their predominant use, and not only at the usefulness of the premises for members of the community for private purposes.
If the general use of the premises was contingent upon membership of a particular organisation or organisations, this would strongly suggest that the premises in question were not “community premises” within the definition.
However, the hire of the premises to individual organisations and users who restrict their activities to their own members and guests would not necessarily conflict with the status of the premises as “community premises”, provided the premises are generally available for use by the community in the sense described above.
The reference to a “committee or board of individuals” is intended to cover any formally constituted, transparent and accountable management committee or structure. Such a committee should have the capacity to provide sufficient oversight of the premises to minimise any risk to the licensing objectives that could arise from allowing the responsibility for supervising the sale of alcohol to be transferred from a personal licence holder/designated premises supervisor. This could include management committees, executive committees and boards of trustees. The application form requires the applicants to provide the names of the management committee’s key officers e.g. the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer.
The application form requires applicants to set out how the premises is managed, its committee structure and how the supervision of alcohol sales is to be ensured in different situations (e.g. when the hall is hired to private parties) and how responsibility for this is to be determined in individual cases and discussed and reviewed within the committee procedure in the event of any issues arising. The application form requires that the community premises submit copies of any constitution or other management documents with their applications and that they provide the names of their key officers e.g. the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer. Where the management arrangements are less clear, licensing authorities may wish to ask for further details to confirm that the management board or committee is properly constituted and accountable before taking a decision on whether to grant the application (subject to the views of the police). Community premises may wish to check with the licensing authority before making an application. The management committee is strongly encouraged to notify the licensing authority if there are key changes in the committee’s composition e.g. to the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and to submit a copy to the Chief Officer of Police. A failure to do so may form the basis of an application to review the premises licence, or be taken into account as part of the consideration of such an application.
What are my responsibilities if an offence is committed?
As the premises licence holder, the management committee will collectively be responsible for ensuring compliance with licence conditions and the law (and may remain liable to prosecution for one of the offences in the Licensing Act). This is regardless of the fact that they may not always be an individual member of the management committee on the premises.
While overall responsibility will lie with the management committee, where the premises are hired out, the hirer may be clearly identified as having responsibility for matters falling within his or her control (e.g. under the contract for hire offered by the licence holder), much in the same way that the event organiser may be responsible for an event held under a Temporary Event Notice.
Where hirers are provided with a written summary of their responsibilities under the Act in relation to the sale of alcohol, the management committee is likely to be treated as having taken adequate steps to avoid liability for prosecution if a licensing offence is committed. Any such written summary should include clear guidance on how to prevent underage sales of alcohol and promote of the licensing objectives.
Where the management committee of a community premises is applying for authorisation for the sale of alcohol for the first time, it should include the below form with the new premises licence application or the premises licence variation application. No extra payment is required beyond the existing fee for a new application or a variation.
Where a community premises already has a premises licence to sell alcohol, but wishes to include the alternative licence condition in place of the usual mandatory conditions it should submit the following form: