Who's Who In Alcohol Licensing?

Licensing Authority

The Local Authority (local council) licensing department.


This is the person applying for the alcohol licence. They will become the premises licence holder if granted the licence.

Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS)

Every premises licence that authorises the supply (sale) of alcohol must specify a DPS. This will normally be the person who has been given day to day responsibility for running the premises by the premises licence holder. The DPS must have a personal licence and be available to contact although does not need to be in the premises at all times.

No DPS named on the licence = No Alcohol Sales.


It is common for an applicant to have someone present their application to the licensing sub-committee hearing. In a lot of cases this is a solicitor or another licensing expert.

Licensing Manager

This is usually the head of the licensing department and is a neutral party during the licensing sub-committee hearings.

Council's Solicitor

This person is employed by the council and gives legal advice to the licensing sub-committee when required.

Licensing Sub-Committee

This panel is made up of three councillors with one acting as Chair. The Chair ensures the hearing follows correct procedure and the sub-committee makes the final decision on whether or not the licence application will be granted, revoked or suspended. The panel can also add conditions to a licence where appropriate.

Types of License

Personal License

The supply (sale) of alcohol may not be made under a premises licence unless there is a DPS in respect of the premises named on the licence who must hold a personal licence. A personal licence means that the individual can supply (sell) or authorise the supply (sale) of alcohol from the premises. The individual must hold the Award for Personal Licence Holders qualification.

Premises License

A premises licence authorises the use of any premises (which is defined in the 2003 Act as a vehicle, vessel or moveable structure or any place or a part of any premises) for licensable activities defined in section 1 of the 2003 Act (the sale by retail of alcohol; the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to, or to the order of, a member of the club; the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment). A premises can have more than one premises licence.

Club Premises Certificate

Clubs are organisations where members have joined together for particular social, sporting or political purposes. They may then combine to buy alcohol in bulk as members of the organisation to supply in the club.

Types of Premises

Licensed Premises

Any place supplying (selling) alcohol to the general public must have a premises licence and is called a licensed premises. This could be a supermarket, convenience store, café, restaurant, pub or club.


This is a shop supplying (selling) alcohol for people to take away and consume elsewhere. This could be a supermarket or convenience store.

On-Licenced Premise

This is a premise supplying (selling) alcohol for people to drink on / in the premises. This could be a pub, club or restaurant.

Licensing Terms

Licensing Sub-Committee Hearing

This is when the licensing sub-committee meets to consider the evidence and decide whether or not grant or revoke licences.

Licence Variations (Minor or Full)

This is when an existing premise applies to the licensing authority to vary or change the way that it operates. A minor variation could be a minor change in hours of sale or layout of the premises such as moving the bar. A major or full variation would be changing the nature of the business for instance from a restaurant to a pub or making major renovations to the premises.

Representation (Relevant)

The guidance issued by the Government states that representations must not be “frivolous”, “vexatious” or “repetitious”. For example, an application is vexatious if it relates to disputes between rival businesses or frivolous if the application lacks seriousness or is particularly trivial. A “repetitious” application for a review is one that is identical or very similar to a previous application for a review which has already been determined.