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Carry on drinking while boss is away

20 July 2006

Latest Government guidance on the Licensing Act allows personal licence holders to be absent from their premises while alcohol is being served.

The most recent advice confirms that personal licence holders can put other members of staff in charge when they're not there.

However, the Government has still left it to the law courts to decide how often and how long licence holders can be away from their businesses.

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said licensees should follow the four points laid out in the Government's guidance to convince the courts that they've followed the correct procedure.

He urges members to keep written proof when they authorise employees to oversee the sale of alcohol when the personal licence holder is away.

"You need to keep something on file to prove you have done the job properly and to keep out of trouble," he said.

Couchman added that the new advice would be a huge relief to small, family-owned businesses which - unlike many large hotels - have only one personal licence holder.

Government Guidance

  • The person or persons authorised to sell alcohol must be clearly identified.

  • The authorisation must specify what may be carried out by the person being authorised.

  • There must be an overt act of authorisation, such as a specific oral or written statement given to the individuals being authorised.

  • There must be sensible arrangements to allow the licence holder to monitor the activities of the individual authorised on a regular basis.

By Angela Frewin

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