Being a Personal Licence Holder in the events industry

Since 2012 I am a Personal Licence Holder. Having such a licence means that I can “make sales of alcohol or authorise the sale of alcohol under a Premises Licence granted under the Licensing Act 2003 throughout England and Wales”. At least, that’s what it says on my licence.

You need a licence when you want to sell alcohol, or authorise the sale of alcohol, at licensed premises. Licensed premises, such as bars, restaurants, events and festivals, need a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS). And to become one of those you need to be a Personal Licence Holder. So you can work behind the bar without being a Personal Licence Holder but in order for you to become a DPS you need the Licence.

Once you have your licence you have it for as long as you want. Unless you do something stupid (i.e. criminal record) and the authorities revoke your licence. When I got my licence I lived in Elmbridge Borough, Surrey. Nowadays I live in Brighton. My licence travels with me, like a drivers licence. I just need to let Elmbridge Council know that my address has changed.

What it takes to get it

In order to get you Personal Licence you need to go on a one-day course. At the end of the day you have an exam. When you pass the exam you will receive the Award for Personal Licence Holders. With that piece of paper you go to your local council and they will give you your licence.

When I did the course I was the only one not working in a pub or club. I just wanted to have it. Once you sign up for this one-day course, the organisation (there are several organisations who offer this course) will mail you an information booklet. A bit like a study guide with all the relevant information. Read this book, and make notes, before you attend the course! After all, you are paying for this course and you don’t want to fail it. It’s not rocket science and with a bit of preparation you will pass the exam.

What you will learn

I booked my course with CPL Training but there are several other organisations that offer this course as well. My trainer that day was amazing. She really explained the subjects in detail, made it relevant and fun. During the day she explained subjects such as:

  • Role and legal responsibilities of the Personal Licence Holder
  • The Licensing objectives
  • Temporary Event Notices and Premises Licences
  • Your responsibility and ABV (i.e. alcohol measures)
  • Role of authorities, such as police
  • Role of a Designated Premises Supervisor

At the end of the day you have an exam with 40 questions of which you only need to answer 28 correct. You can fail, apparently. It was the third time for the girl who sat next to me. I assume her boss paid for her to attend this course. Don't be like her...

I really enjoyed the course and learned something new. If you want to work in events you might want to consider applying for a Personal Licence as well.

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