Are you acquiring a new business which has a premises licence? It is important to start thinking straight away about how you will operate when you take over.
The process of acquiring a premises licence, which will be required to sell alcohol, provide entertainment and late night refreshment, can be a lengthy one. The process can be made longer where the person you want to run the premises (the Designated Premises Supervisor or DPS) does not yet have a personal licence.
The first thing to consider is if you are acquiring the shares or assets of the business:
- If you are acquiring the shares i.e. it is still the same business operating, it is likely the premises licence is in the name of the business (rather than an individual) and therefore the only thing that you may need to change is the DPS, depending on your arrangements.
- If you are acquiring the assets of a business, a new company will be acquiring the assets. This means that the new company will need to have the premises licence transferred over to their name.
Once the name on the premises licence has been changed (if required), you will need to consider who will be your DPS.
What is a DPS?
A DPS is the person in control of the day-to-day running of the premises that supplies alcohol. They will be a point of contact for the licensing authorities, the police and the fire services.
Your DPS must hold a personal licence.
Process for varying a DPS
You will need to a) check if your proposed DPS has a personal licence b) fill in the consent form for the new DPS to be appointed, and c) change the DPS – a brief explanation of the steps for each is set out below.
For the sake of this article, we will be using Cornwall Council as an example local authority. Therefore, the fees stated in this article reflect the cost of each application for Cornwall Council. Please refer to your relevant local authority’s equivalent information.
a) Personal licence for DPS
1. If the proposed DPS does have a personal licence, please move onto stage (b).
2.If the proposed person does not have a personal licence, please apply for one as soon as possible. The DPS will need to undertake a qualification before applying for a personal licence. The link to the accredited licensing qualifications is: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/business-trading-and-licences/licences-and-street-trading/alcohol-and-entertainment-licence/personal-licence/#qualification
Please note: this process can take a considerable amount of time, but you may be able to make arrangements for the existing DPS to remain in place until you have made the transfer over to a new DPS.
The licence attaches to the person rather than the premises so the process can be started once the DPS has undertaken a qualification.
b) DPS Consent
3. Once the proposed DPS has a personal licence they will need to fill out the proposed DPS consent form.
c) Change the DPS
4. Once each of the steps above have been completed, you will then be able to fill out the application form to vary the DPS. If you wish to speed up the process, you can indicate in the form that you want the application to have immediate effect under section 38 of the Licensing Act 2003.
You submit this form, along with the consent form mentioned in stage (b) above and the Premises Licence online There is a £23 fee.
5. It will be sufficient to inform the current DPS that the application to vary the DPS has been made, without the need to share the specific details of the application. A full copy of the application form must be sent to police, if you submit the forms online this process will automatically be completed for you.
Premises licence key takeaways and next steps
- Are you buying the shares or assets of a business which has a premises licence? If you are buying the assets, you will probably need to change the holder of the premises licence.
- Does your proposed DPS hold a personal licence? If not, get the qualification now and apply for a personal licence so you are ready to go.
- Fill in the DPS consent form and change of DPS form so they are ready to submit as soon as you have purchased the business. Ideally you don’t want a gap where you can’t serve alcohol.