Licensing Act

People eating and drinking alcohol in a restaurant.

Electronic Applications for Vary DPS (Designated Premise Supervisor) now accepted. Follow the link here


The Licensing Act 2003 received Royal assent on 10 July 2003. The Licensing Act gives the city council responsibility for a new integrated licensing system, bringing together licensing for alcohol, public entertainment, cinemas, theatres, late night refreshment houses and night cafes.

These changes came into effect in November 2005 and affect anyone concerned with:

  • pubs and nightclubs;
  • indoor sporting events;
  • off-licences;
  • restaurants that serve alcohol;
  • businesses offering hot food between 11 pm and 5 am (with certain exceptions);
  • hotels, guest houses and other places that sell alcohol;
  • private members' clubs and social clubs;
  • theatres and amateur dramatic groups;
  • cinemas;
  • organisers of occasional entertainments.

The main focus of The Licensing Act is the promotion of four "licensing objectives":

  • The prevention of public nuisance.
  • The prevention of crime and disorder.
  • Ensuring public safety.
  • Protection of children from harm.

Below are details of some of the key changes introduced by the Act.

Flexible Opening Hours

The Licensing Act introduces more flexible opening hours for the sale of alcohol allowing different closing times with the potential for 24 hour, 7 days a week opening. It is hoped that this will help reduce the public disorder resulting from artificially fixed closing times. It is also hoped that the flexibility will also encourage a more civilised culture in pubs, bars and restaurants.

Streamlined System

Under the existing licensing systems alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshment are licensed separately, magistrates dealing with alcohol and councils dealing with refreshment and public entertainment. The new regime amalgamates the existing systems under the supervision of the local licensing authority, with three main licenses (Premises Licence, Personal Licence, Club Premises Certificate) and one notice (Temporary Event Notice). The government hopes this will simplify the area of licensing.

Personal Licences

A personal license authorises the person specified to sell or supply alcohol in accordance with a premises licence. Personal licences are 'portable'. Click here to search the public register.

To apply for a personal licence click here

Click here for the full list of accredited personal licence qualification providers

Changes to a Personal Licence (change of name, address, lost or stolen) click here

Renewal of Personal Licences

The requirement to renew personal licences has been abolished with effect from 1st April 2015. Therefore a personal licence will remain valid unless surrendered, suspended or forfeited.

Premises Licences

A premises licence will allow the holder to use specified ‘licensed premises’ for ‘licensable activities’ (the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment). The new licence will have no expiry date unless otherwise requested. Another key element of the new premises licence is that a ‘designated premises supervisor’ must be named in the licence (where the sale and supply of alcohol is concerned). This is the person who is responsible for the supervision of the licensed premises. The designated premises supervisor must also hold a personal licence. Click here to search the public register.


This certificate will provide authorisation for qualifying clubs to use their premises for qualifying club activities. The club premises certificate will have no expiry date unless otherwise requested. Qualifying club activities are the supply of alcohol to a club member for consumption on the premises, the sale by retail of alcohol to a guest of a member for consumption on the premises and the provision of regulated entertainment for club members and guests. Click here to search the public register.

Temporary Event Notice

These notices replace the existing ‘occasional permissions’ and ‘occasional licences’ systems and relate to temporary events, where ‘licensable activities’ are planned, but no premises licence or club premises certificate is held. Effectively these allow premises to be used for licensed activities on a ‘one-off' basis.

To view the temporary event notice form click here

A greater say for those affected

Local residents, local businesses and responsible authorities (such as the Police, Fire Authority and Health and Safety department) can make representations against licence applications. While the licensing authority's role is seen initially as an administrative one, it will judge contested applications at a committee hearing. At such hearings all sides will have an opportunity to present their case.

Tougher measures to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder

The Act includes new police powers to close licensed premises for up to 24 hours, in order to protect the public and prevent disorder. As well as processing applications, the licensing authority also has an enforcement role.

Licence review

A licence may be subject to review on application by local residents and professional officers. New powers of review will help ensure those breaking conditions and committing offences under the new Act, will be dealt with swiftly and efficiently.

Strengthened protection for children

The Act will provide clarification of the, often misunderstood, laws relating to children and alcohol, as well as giving the authorities powers to deal with offenders.

Other documents: 

Licensing Act Policy 2014-2019 click here to view

Our contact details

Licensing Service
Hanley Town Hall
Albion Street

Tel: 01782 232774

Opening times

Appointments available:

Monday 9am until 4.45pm
Tuesday 9am until 4.45pm
Wednesday 9am until 4.45pm
Thursday 9am until 4.45pm
Friday 9am until 4.15pm
Saturday - CLOSED
Sunday - CLOSED

To download our application forms you will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.



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