How to comply with alcohol licence regulations

If you’re running venues that serve alcohol, you’ll need to comply with alcohol licence regulations. And this can apply to all kinds of sites including pubs and bars, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, takeaways, supermarkets and even village and community halls. Alcohol licensing is just one of the areas we look into in our Expert guide to hospitality compliance.

The reasons are obvious: the sale of alcohol is only permitted to people aged 18 and over in the UK and so we must serve responsibly. Also, the consumption of alcohol often leads to alteration in people’s behaviour and as venue operators, we have a duty to keep our guests and staff safe from undesirable, disruptive and the potentially dangerous actions of others. 

So, businesses who want to sell or supply alcohol in the UK must have authorisation from a licensing authority – usually our local council. 

What kind of UK alcohol licence do you need?

Hospitality operators in the UK firstly have to obtain a premises licence from their local authority if they plan to sell or supply alcohol on a permanent basis. How much alcohol licence for premises costs depends on the type of business and size of venue, but you can read more about fees under the Licensing Act 2003

In addition to a premises licence, you will also need to ensure you have a designated premises supervisor who holds a UK personal licence. 

What is a Personal Licence Holder?

So, what is a personal licence holder? Well, a personal licence allows the holder to sell alcohol on behalf of any business that has a premises licence. It’s designed to make sure that anyone running a venue selling or supplying alcohol will do so in a professional way. 

Hospitality venues serving alcohol must have a least one employee with a Personal Licence Holder qualification.  Applicants must be over 18 years of age, hold an accredited qualification and must not have had their licence revoked in the last five years. 

How can you get a personal licence qualification?

As we mentioned earlier, you can apply for a personal licence through any of the accredited awarding bodies. However, your employees will need to do a preparatory course and pass an exam before being awarded the qualification. 

There are a range of personal licence courses around, but the majority only provide the preparatory training. This means that employers will still have to apply and pay for an exam date for each candidate to sit an external exam to get their certificate. It’s been this way for years and is a normal part of the routine. Nevertheless, it adds red tape to any business process and takes key employees away from the business, using up their valuable time. 

Until now… 

Flow Learning now offers a 100% online personal licence course and qualification 

Thankfully, this routine obligation is about to become a breeze as Flow Learning by MAPAL has updated Personal Licence Holder course to include the exam too! Flow has been training staff on the theme of alcohol licensing for years but can now take care of the entire process for you, from start to finish

What’s more, you can also buy courses in bulk to save you the hassle of applying for each one individually – a win-win when you have multiple venues and a high turnover of staff. Just apply for them once and then use them whenever the need arises. 

Flow’s PLH course also takes a completely new approach to what has always been a rather dry subject. Our scenario-based videos put the message across in a more engaging way, improving learning retention and helping your team put their learnings into practice. 

Your team will learn everything they need to know to get their certificate: the laws surrounding the sale of alcohol, drug awareness, social responsibility, the use of promotions for alcohol, and drink driving. And all this through our mobile-first employee app, MAPAL One.  

The course and exam are done entirely online and prepares learners for the following qualifications: 

  • Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) – England and Wales. 

  • Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (SPLH) 

  • Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (SCPLH) – refresher course 

Do other employees need to do a course on alcohol licensing?

You are not required to have a personal licence to be employed in a pub or bar. Having said that, it’s a good idea to ensure all staff serving alcohol are also aware of their responsibilities and how to handle conflictive situations and incidents at your venue. 

At Flow, we offer two short and engaging learning modules for the rest of your teams, depending on whether your venues are based in England and Wales, or in the Republic of Ireland: 

  • Key responsibilities laid out in licensing legislation in each region 

  • Recognising and responding to alcohol abuse 

  • Identifying and managing underage drinkers and conflict situations 

These are narrative video learning resources where learners can practise making the right decisions to make when serving alcohol within English and Welsh legislation. It will help them understand their responsibilities, to apply the right checks on alcohol sale and consumption, best practice for service and when to refuse it, ways of deterring drug use in your venues, awareness on drink spiking, etc. 

Getting an alcohol licence is an obligatory procedure for hospitality venues serving alcohol. It’s also vital that your entire team are aware of their responsibilities. And guaranteeing this is so much easier to do that when they can access everything from the palm of their hand. Ask us if you’d like to know more about Flow’s extensive range of learning resources.