Licence Types

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Blog As personal licensing soars in the UK. We ask, is now the time for automation?

We hear on a regular basis that public houses and clubs are closing across the UK with a myriad of reasons. This is a very distressing time for all those parties involved and can lead in many cases to the loss of their homes, income and could end in bankruptcy. With this backdrop, you would expect a reduction in the overall alcohol licensing activities. However, this is not generally the case and in fact, the number of Personal Licences has increased by 5% in the 12 months to March 18 to 700,000 for England and Wales.

We can attribute this to the licensing Act 2003 that established a single integrated scheme for licensing premises in England and Wales, which are used for the sale or supply of alcohol, to provide regulated entertainment, or to provide late night refreshments. When I leased my first pub, there was, in essence, a single licence granted to “The Landlord” that covered both the person and the premises. Training for the Landlord was not compulsory but advised and each licencing authority had different rules and requirements.

Today we have two licenses, Premises and Personal. Premises, as the name implies, relates to the licensable activities that take place in a building or location. Personal relates to some of the people that work there. Each Premises has a responsible individual called the “Designated Premises Supervisor” (DPS) who must have a Personal License. Staff who work for the DPS or business owner can be granted the right to work on the DPS’s licence with their written permission, but this relies on the DPS training the staff, however, they both would be liable for any fines and potential prosecution on any transgressions.

So why is there a 5% increase in the number of personal licences being granted to 700,000 in the last 12 months to March 18, that Nikkie Sutton’s editorial in “The Morning Advertiser” highlight’s? In part, the increase is down to more people working within alcohol sales who need training and a recognised industry qualification. This has been helped by the cost of training being achievable and employers ensuring their staff understand the law and the four licencing objectives.

The magnitude of the challenges that the licensing authorities are facing is immense, as any licensing officer will confirm, the number of Alcohol & Entertainment related licensing activities is huge and growing. Surprisingly in most authorities, this is still basically a paper-based process.

With an ever-increasing number of online savvy applicants, many councils are looking at ways to engage with individuals to remove the need to fill in and post a paper application, reduce the number of errors in submissions and to automate the back-end process. So making more effective use of Licensing Officers time, improving data collection, provide cross-referencing and linking information between Premises, Personal licenses and Temporary Event Notices (TEN)

Filling in forms that are downloaded from the Government or the Licensing Authorities website, having access to a printer (and in some cases a pen), then having to purchase an envelope(s) and stamp(s) can be challenging for these groups of workers that work unsocial hours and may not have a full command of English, not to mention the applications journey to and within the authority and waste in the envelope.

The solution is very simple, allow the applicants to complete them online, check and validate the data and formats and then submit to all interested parties.

Although a simple solution, traditionally the design and development of bespoke software applications were time-consuming, costly and could be difficult to integrate with other council systems and payment platforms, however, today it’s a lot simpler and very cost-effective. Here at Rocktime, we have completed the core development with our packaged solution, Verso. Verso is a “Software as a Service” (SAAS) online application that provides licensing form automation and integration with other systems and platforms

verso offers the following features:

  • Secure online portal for form selection and completion
  • Prompting and support for the applicant throughout the form, negating the need to continually review and cross-reference the forms notes
  • Fully configurable
  • Questions and data collection for each form
  • Drop down selections for conformity
  • Lookup tables for postcodes
  • Document and information uploads
  • Configurable workflow with milestones and data flagging
  • Communication and dissemination of information to multiple interested parties
  • Application / Process tracking
  • Online payment
  • Outputs with data merging for printing or emailing
  • Reporting for internal use and FOI requests
  • Automated renewal notices

Once the verso platform has been installed and customised for your council requirements, adding additional forms and workflows are straightforward and come with a low incremental cost.

verso from Rocktime is being used at a number of councils, providing a valuable contribution to the accuracy of the forms completion, reduces the time taken to review and crosscheck, automates dissemination and printing providing much-needed support to the licensing officers.

verso for Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing

  • Personal Licencing
  • Premises Licencing
  • Temporary Events Notices

Other verso configurations

  • Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
  • Market Trading
  • Garden and Bulk Waste
  • Gambling
  • Food Licensing
  • Taxi and Private Hire
  • Bespoke Licensing

Thanks for reading, I hope that it has been of interest. If you would like to know more about verso and what licensing automation can do for you, please drop me an email.

The solution is very simple, allow the applicants to complete them online, check and validate the data and formats and then submit to all interested parties.
Mark HusbandBusiness Development Manager - Public Sector
As personal licensing soars in the UK. We ask, is now the time for automation?

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