Licensing Act 2003 - Club Premises Certificates

Under the Licensing Act 2003, Members' Clubs (e.g. working men's clubs, social clubs) need authorisation to use club premises for relevant activities, including the supply/sale of alcohol and regulated entertainment for members and guests.

Such clubs are generally organisations where members join together for a particular social, sporting or political purpose and then combine to purchase alcohol in bulk for members.

In order to constitute as a qualifying club, you must satisfy the various requirements set out in the Licensing Act 2003 and the authority under which they may supply alcohol and conduct other 'qualifying club activities' from their premises is a club premises certificate issued by the Licensing Authority. The grant of a club premises certificate means that a club is entitled to certain benefits, which include the authority to supply alcohol to its members and sell it to guests without the need for any member or employee to hold a personal licence, and the absence of a requirement to specify a designated premises supervisor. There are also more limited rights of entry for the police and other authorised persons, as the premises are considered private and not generally open to the public.

What is a qualifying club?

To be classified as a qualifying club in relation to a qualifying club activity, a number of general conditions must be met, these are:

  • That under the rules of the club, persons may not be admitted to membership, or be admitted, as candidates for membership, to any of the privileges of membership without an interval of at least two days between their nomination for membership and their admission
  • That under the rules of the club, those becoming members without prior nomination or application may not be admitted to the privileges of membership without an interval of at least two days between their becoming members and their admission
  • That the club is established and conducted in good faith as a club
  • That the club has at least 25 members
  • That alcohol is not supplied to members on the premises otherwise than by or on behalf of the club

To qualify as a club authorised to supply alcohol to its members and guests, additional conditions must be met, these are:

  • The purchase and supply of alcohol by and for the club is managed by a committee made up of elected members of the club all aged over 18 years
  • No arrangements may be made for any person to receive any commission, percentage or similar payment at the expense of the club with reference to purchases of alcohol by the club
  • No arrangements may be made for any person to derive directly or indirectly any monetary benefit from the supply of alcohol to members or guests apart from to benefit the club as a whole or any indirect benefit a person derives by reason of the supply contributing to a general gain for the club as a whole

 How do licensing authorities determine whether a club is established and conducted in good faith?

The licensing authority will look at a number of matters and take those into account. These matters are:

  • Any arrangements restricting the freedom of the club to purchase alcohol
  • Any arrangements where the money or property of the club or any gain arising from the running of the club can be used for purposes otherwise than for the benefit of the club as a whole or for charitable, benevolent or political purposes
  • The arrangements for giving members information about the finances of the club
  • The books of account or any other records kept to ensure accuracy of that information
  • The nature of the premises occupied by the club

What activities does a club premises certificate authorise?

A club premises certificate may authorise the conduct of any of the qualifying club activities, namely:

  • the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of the club to, or to the order of, members of the club
  • the sale by retail of alcohol by or on behalf of the club to a guest of a member of the club for consumption on the premises where the sale takes place
  • the provision of regulated entertainment (where that provision is by or on behalf of a club for members of the club or members of the club and their guests)

However, you will have to specify in the club operating schedule the qualifying club activities to which the application relates.

How to Apply – New application

  • Complete Application form
  • Complete Declaration form
  • Enclose the appropriate fee
  • Enclose a plan of the premises (which must be clear and legible)
  • Enclose a copy of the club rules
  • Unless the application is made online you must send copies of the application, the plan and supporting documents to responsible authorities on the same day that the application is sent to the City Council
  • You are required to advertise your application by displaying a blue notice on the premises for 28 consecutive days and also by advertising it in a newspaper (Newcastle Journal or Chronicle) within 10 working days of making the application.

 How to Apply – Variation Application

  • Complete the application form
  • Enclose the appropriate fee
  • Enclose a plan of the premises (which must be clear and legible)
  • Return the original club premises certificate for amendment
  • Unless the application is made online you must send copies of the application, the plan and supporting documents to responsible authorities on the same day that the application is sent to the City Council
  • You are required to advertise your application by displaying a blue notice on the premises for 28 consecutive days and also by advertising it in a newspaper (Newcastle Journal or Chronicle) within 10 working days of making the application.

How to apply – Minor Variations

Under this procedure the applicant is not required to advertise the variation in a newspaper or copy the application to responsible authorities. A white notice must be displayed at the premises for a period of 10 working days starting on the working day after the minor variation was given to the Licensing Authority.

On receipt of the application the Licensing Authority must decide if the application affects any of the licensing objectives and if so which of the responsible authorities it wishes to consult. Other persons and any responsible authorities have 10 working days to make a representation. Representations are only relevant if they clearly relate to the likely effect on the grant of the variation on the promotion of the licensing objectives. There is no right to a hearing and any representations will be considered by the Licensing Authority. 

A determination must be made by the Licensing Authority within 15 working days starting the next working day after the application has been received. If this is not adhered to then it will be assumed that the application has been refused and the authority must return the fee to the applicant.

If the application is refused there is no appeal against this, however the applicant can resubmit the application through the full variation process.

Will Tacit Apply?

Yes.  This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard by the end of the target completion period which is 28 days (not including possible committee hearing date) from the date of submission of all correct and relevant information.

Email: licensing@newcastle.gov.uk

Need more information?

Application forms and information can be accessed at Gov.uk

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