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Action For Music. PELs

09 Aug 02 - 06:27 AM (#762468)
Subject: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

The EFDSS has funded a leaflet to be distibuted at Sidmouth and which has cause a tremendous response from those attending the Festival. You can find out more and join up, on the above website.

09 Aug 02 - 06:30 AM (#762469)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

Latest news

09 Aug 02 - 08:05 AM (#762515)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

Tune is 'Villikins and his Dinah' [or the Yetties 'threshing machine - 'Filing it here fling it there, and if your standing by then you'll all get your share].

Sing It Elsewhwere

Important to us, is to be able to sing

And thought by many, to be very fine thing

But councils officials, who can count up to three

Are making outlaws of you and of me

Sing it here
Sing it there
For the sake of the landlord

Please sing it elsewhere

I bring you news of a terrible fact

Singing in pubs is a criminal act

At the moment you're safe if there's only two

But there's even worse news, in the Parliament due

Sing it here etc

The two in a bar rule is to be taken away

Now, no one will be able to play

Folk songs from England or music from France

Without permission sought well in advance

Sing it here etc

They say you can't sing, "public safety I'm afraid"

It would seem to be fine, if your not paid?
Its only the Minister that quite understands

How the pub is unsafe, when 'money changes hands'

Sing it here etc

And the lads can crowd in, watch their team on TV
Need no, permission or a safe capacity

Can shout all they wish and nothing is wrong
Only, needing permission to burst into song

Sing it here etc

Football supporters with money to burn

Can wake up the neighbours, with no apparent concern

But you and the 'missus', you'd better beware
When you quietly burst into 'Scarborough Fair'

Sing it here etc

I would like you all to write your MP

Its time that they listened to you and to me

I don't know about you but I think this a farce

To hear politicians speak out of their (dispatch box)

Sing it here
Sing it there
For the sake of the landlord

Please sing it elsewhere

09 Aug 02 - 04:01 PM (#762730)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

You can print off leaflets for distribution here. Please help.

10 Aug 02 - 01:17 AM (#762891)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

How Can I Help?

11 Aug 02 - 06:27 PM (#763527)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

Links to all PEL threads

14 Aug 02 - 07:07 PM (#765493)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

The following, in their own words, is the how the Government's (clear) position re sessions and singarounds has evolved (and is still evolving).

The DCMS's Ronnie Bridgett made the following reply to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council on 04/02/02.
It is not planned that the new system will give an exemption to any forms of entertainment. The proposal is that all activities to be held on a Premises Licence (including non-amplified music) would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the licensing authority. The authority could only impose conditions on the Premises Licence which protect public safety and prevent disorder, crime and public nuisance.

Dr Howells in a letter to Michael Portillo 14/03/02
However, under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 a public entertainment licence is not required if music or dancing is performed by less than three performers on licensed premises i.e. the 'two in a bar rule'. The rule is intended to apply to public performances put on by a public house to entertain the public and should not prevent ordinary people singing together or dancing in public houses

The following question from is from Hamish Birchall.
But the Government now proposes that, in addition to the risk assessments employers have a statutory duty to undertake (taking into account all activities in the workplace), 'all activities to be held on a Premises Licence including non-amplified music would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the local authority'.
Do you envisage licensees being required to declare whether or not customers will sing - unamplified - for their own amusement?

And the (03/04/02) reply from Ronnie Bridgett of the DCMS.
We do not anticipate that premises licences would have to include such an element


From Mr Bridgett to Richard Bridge 08/04/02
You ask me to explain how the two responses can be reconciled. In response to the question - will criminal offences be committed by customers who spontaneously break into song, our advice is that we do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of the Bill or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime. Whereas a musical "performance" as defined in the Bill by a single musician undertaken for "reward" (either his own or the organiser's) will be subject to the licensing regime. It is for Parliamentary Counsel to decide how in terms of draft clauses to give effect to that policy.
Accordingly, whenever a group of people in a bar break into spontaneous song, the licensee would have to decide the point (noise level) at which he is at risk of being closed by the police because of "excessive noise" which might be disturbing the public. This is an important point for context and explains why it would not be necessary to bring spontaneous singing (music making) within the licensing regime as adequate public protection would already exist.

Dr Howells on Radio 2's Mike Harding Show. Broadcast 17/07/02.
Kim, if I can just go on to some questions we've had sent in from listeners, very quickly, because I do realise you've got to get off to the house and various other things … Roger Gall has emailed us to say, and I quote, "When you introduce this new licensing system, if pubs don't have an entertainment licence, will sessions and singarounds be banned?"

Yes, I suppose they would be. The landlord would need to get an entertainments licence to cover himself or herself …

But this is not for gain, is it, you were talking about …

Oh, I see, I am sorry, I'm sorry, I thought that you meant it would be professional musicians being paid

No, just sessions and singarounds, people just playing for their own fun.

No, they certainly wouldn't and I'm very keen that we should make sure that that facility is there. There shouldn't be a problem. As long as money isn't changing hands, then there's no reason why they should have to have a licence.

The Secretary of State has later written to Hamish Birchall, to say that the Government intends to regulate: - "commercial performances of music or those for private gain, but not those involving performers singing together for private (sic) amusement


Are we now back then to this music making having to exclude the public, in order for it not to be licensable - in addition to it also being required to be spontaneous and non-rewarded?

Is it not bad enough that the Government are going to replace legislation that maintains that three people singing in a pub, makes the premises unsafe, with so-called deregulatory proposals that now maintain that one person singing in a pub, makes the premises unsafe?

Can I suggest that if some of the folk community were somewhat reassured by the clear statement made by Dr Howells on Mike Harding's programme, that they contact their MP and ask them to try and establish exactly what is now proposed?

Fax your MP

14 Aug 02 - 07:14 PM (#765498)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

Using the above link you can find a Yahoo E mail group that Action for Music have established to enable us to better co-ordinate our efforts.

14 Aug 02 - 07:22 PM (#765508)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: McGrath of Harlow

Arrogant bastards aren't they - one thing struck me reading this was: "It is for Parliamentary Counsel to decide how in terms of draft clauses to give effect to that policy.

Oh no it bloody isn't. It's for Parliament to decide whether they want to accept the daft draft clauses the Parliamentary Counsel sets before them.

And that isn't a quibble, because putting it that way is an insult to Members of Parliament, and it will be a good ideas to bring this insult to their attention when writing letters to MPs.

I cynically expect that some of them are more likely to be concerned at an insult to their dignity and status than by an attack on the rights of their constituents. So we need to play on that.

15 Aug 02 - 02:45 AM (#765650)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

This from uk.muisc.folk

OK - here's Howell's answer. I was probably a bit premature to say the English system will be adopted in Scotland, but my reading of the answer indicates that this must be a strong possibility in the interests of uniformity - it makes little sense to operate two separate systems to (supposedly) achieve the same end. Does the comment about abolishing "permitted hours" apply to England and Wales only?

Letter dated 31/07/02 to Rob Marris MP.

"Thank you for your letter of 15 July in which you asked why the proposed licensing system for England and Wales could not be the same as that currently operating in Scotland.

In general terms the system of licensing in Scotland provides that public entertainment is covered by a licence permitting the sale of alcohol but only within formally permitted hours. A public entertainment license is required for public entertainment which takes place on premises with extended hours. Many licensed properties in Scotland do have extended licensing hours because of the more flexible system operating there. Pubs in Edinburgh generally open later than those in London. However, there is nothing in the licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 which denies the licensing Board the power to restrict or forbid entertainment activities by conditions, either specified in byelaws or attached to licenses. Accordingly the Scottish system does not simply rely on existing health and safety and noise legislation as the Musician's Union has suggested. Indeed, licenses may be refused or revoked on the grounds that a pub has caused undue nuisance of disturbance to local residents.

We intend to abolish permitted hours and the new hours, up to twenty-four hours a day, will be tailored to specific premises. The norm would be that most premises would be open later than now. It would therefore be inappropriate to adopt the Scottish system which is based on national permitted hours. We think our approach is more flexible.

All public houses will need permission to sell alcohol. When an application for a premises license is made the applicant will be able to obtain permission for public entertainment on his premises and the sale of alcohol simultaneously. It would cost no more to obtain both permissions than to obtain one. There would be no deterrent in the system to providing live music at the venue but because it would be necessary to disclose details of the activities to take place at the premises, the licensing authority would be able to make sensible decisions about the necessary and proportionate conditions to be attached to the licence to protect local residents and the wider community.

Dr. Kim Howells MP"
Tim Willets

15 Aug 02 - 08:04 AM (#765760)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

On the Scottish question, here is my reply to Howells' letter to Rob Marris MP (sent to Mr Marris on 8 August). You might want to circulate this:

Dear Rob
I have been passed a copy of Kim Howells' letter to you concerning the question of whether the Scottish licensing regime, as it applies to live music in pubs and bars, could not be adopted in England and Wales (letter dated 31 July 2002, ref CO2/09176/02941/DC). I am sorry to say that on a number of important points the Minister's reply is misleading:

1) He wrongly implies that the Musicians' Union believes the Scottish licensing regime relies simply on existing health, safety and noise legislation where live music is provided. This is not the case: the Union recognises that in Scotland, PELs, and therefore additional safety/noise controls, apply in premises where music or music and dancing is the main business, and in bars or restaurants after 11pm.

2) Regardless of the notional powers available to licensing Boards, it remains the case that a typical pub or restaurant in Scotland can host live bands up to 11pm without a PEL, and that the safety or noise risks arising from the entertainment are regulated by UK-wide health, safety and noise legislation. The licensee is not usually required to notify the licensing authority about the provision of live music on the point of his/her liquor licence application or at any other time.
Jack Cummins, one of Scotland's leading licensing lawyers and editor of Scottish Licensing Law and Practice, has helpfully provided clarification: Jack Cummins email to Hamish Birchall, 03 August 2002
"Where application is made for an entertainment licence (eg a nightclub) then the various forms of entertainment, including types of musical entertainment, will form part of the application. But yes - for other premises I think there's an assumption that there will often (but not always of course) be some sort of music… some Boards operate a byelaw system requiring their consent for music and other entertainment (the byelaw consent is a conditon of the licence). This has been held in a landmark case to be unlawful, but there are - I think - 2 out of the 56 Boards which persist. Technically, it would be lawful for a Board to insert a condition prohibiting music, but in practice this never happens."

3) The Minister says that in Scotland 'licences may be refused or revoked on the grounds that a pub has caused undue nuisance or disturbance to local residents'. This tends to imply that this power does not exist in England and Wales which, of course, would be untrue.

Since the Licensing Act came into force in 1964, under s 20 (a) 'any person' may apply for revocation of a liquor licence in England and Wales on the same grounds, i.e. that the liquor-licensed premises causes nuisance problems for local residents. The police generally use this power, but it is also frequently used by residents' associations and even individuals.
Since December 2001 the police in England and Wales have also acquired the power to close noisy pubs immediately for up to 24 hours (Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, amended the Licensing Act 1964).

4) It does not follow that simply because the Government is proposing to abolish permitted hours this renders the Scottish comparison inappropriate. Under the proposed new regime for England and Wales local residents' views will be taken into account when the local authority determines the operating conditions of licence applications (which include opening times). Then, as now, premises staying open late are likely to be subject to additional controls - as they are in Scotland. But up to the point where the additional controls apply the Scottish example suggests that local authorities do not need additional powers to regulate noise nuisance.

5) The fact the licence fees are to be set centrally, and there will be no premium for live music, may help encourage its provision in bars, pubs etc – but only if fees are low. The Government rather naively imagine this alone removes the deterrent. Unfortunately, it is the abysmal record of excessive local authority PEL conditions where live music is being considered that will continue to deter applicants. One of my agents told me today that in order to put on two bands in a shopping centre recently the local council produced a 15-page risk assessment to be complied with which included such gems as 'when loading/unloading the bands will take care not to run over pedestrians'.

The Government says it will address the tendency to over-regulate through 'guidance' provided by the Secretary of State.

6) Irrespective of the entertainment licensing process, it is already the case that employers have a statutory duty to make risk assessments of all activities in the workplace, and that local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure public safety in workplaces (like pubs) where activities include 'entertainment', 'practice or presentation of the arts'.
Furthermore, environmental health officers (EHOs) have the power to order activities to stop immediately if there is an imminent public safety risk, and/or to require improvements to be made to remove the risk. A trained EHO could readily tell whether an amplified sound system, whether for CDs or bands, is likely to cause problems for local residents. The cost of EHO inspections is, supposedly, covered by business rates. In short, local authorities do not need a licensing regime to make sensible decisions about 'necessary and proportionate conditions' that might apply to incidental live music in a pub or restaurant.

On the question of safety risks, apparently it is the Government's view that live televised sport in pubs is less of a risk of overcrowding and noise than, say, a professional guitarist performing unamplified in a restaurant. That alone explains Kim Howells' recent statement in the Commons (22 July, in response to Siobhain McDonagh) that live television in pubs will remain exempt from licensing as public entertainment
. Personally I find it hard to understand a Government that believes the English and Welsh public will rebel en masse against allowing live music in pubs that finishes at a reasonable hour, subject to proportionate controls already available irrespective of PELs, but will embrace without demur the proposal for pubs to open 24/7. For the moment, however, this seems to be Government's position.

Many thanks for taking the trouble to write to the Minister, and please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions on this issue.
Yours sincerely
Hamish Birchall
MU adviser – PEL reform

21 Aug 02 - 11:18 AM (#769108)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

I tried to contact the Entertainment Licensing Section on 16 August 2002. They were all out. I was informed by another section that they were all at a meeting. The following letter from Hamish Birchall will explain.

Dear Roger
I have learned that the day-long outing at the DCMS last Friday involved 8 civil servants working for the Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing branch: 4 from the Bill Team and 4 from the Policy Team. Andrew Cunningham did not attend; nor did any MPs. The event was organised by Six Continents (a multinational hotel and pub chain company) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). The civil servants were taken to a cinema complex, a hotel, a restaurant and 2 or 3 pubs, including an 'All Bar One'. Issues discussed included children's certificates, PELs, and live TV.

I think the DCMS would simply argue that it was an important fact-finding exercise. For the licensed trade it represents a lobbying coup. The event seems to have been planned some time ago, at least before July 17. I think it was partly a reaction to the highly successful campaign by Stuart Neame, boss of Shepherd Neame brewery, to 'Kill the Bill'. He and Tim Martin, boss of Wetherspoons, are fiercely opposed to the Government's licensing reform proposals. They fear increased local authority control, and the possible loss of rural trade if more city-centre pubs can open late (country pubs may not be able to exploit the potential for later opening because the staffing costs would outweigh the potential profits).

But the big brewers are desperate for reform and are now very worried by the success of Shepherd Neame/Wetherspoons very public opposition to the new licensing Bill. I think that this week's Publican magazine (one of two licensed trade papers, the other being the Morning Advertiser), will publish a poll showing that landlords are now 2:1 against the transfer of liquor licensing to local authorities, whereas in previous years they had been more or less in favour.

The Government is anxious to keep the licensed trade on side: remember the annual £12 billion of VAT and duty derived from £30 billion a year of alcohol sales. It is clear that the cultural implications of PEL reform are still considered of secondary importance, in spite of the transfer of licensing from the Home Office to the DCMS last year. I have written an email letter to Baroness Blackstone, the Government's arts minister in the Lords drawing this to her attention. She is keen on access to and participation in the arts.

Earlier this week I also learned that the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has just been invited by the DCMS to participate in the A&E Bill consultations. It was not part of the original group. I therefore asked Andrew Cunningham whether he would consider admitting another latecomer: EFDSS. He said no. I have copied his email to Phil Wilson and Brenda Godrich of EFDSS. It is still possible, however, that EFDSS may be able to participate via the Arts Council and I will be discussing this with the ACE licensing working party today.

I hope this information is useful.

21 Aug 02 - 02:58 PM (#769225)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

Again from Hamish

Here is a copy of my email sent yesterday (20 August) to Baroness Blackstone:

Dear Baroness Blackstone
Is it possible we could meet at the earliest opportunity to discuss the direction of the Government's proposed licensing reforms?

It seems to me that the cultural implications of licensing reform are not being given due weight, particularly in the fundamentally important area of public access to and participation in live music in small local venues. Arguably this is just where the Government should be most focussed: the DCMS only recently published its strategic priorities for 2003/6, one of which is 'building communities'. Key objectives include

 broaden access for all to a rich and varied cultural and sporting life
 ensure that everyone has the opportunity to develop talent and to achieve excellence in the areas of culture
 increase by 500,000 by 2004 the numbers of people experiencing the arts

And yet the Government is proposing that under the new licensing regime even a regular folk night in a rural pub, where just one performer sang completely unamplified, the licensee would be committing a criminal offence - unless he/she is licensed explicitly for this activity by the local authority.

However, live television in the same premises is to remain exempt from this licensing regime whose rationale is, purportedly, to ensure public safety, control noise, and prevent crime and disorder.

Such an approach undermines Government cultural policy which stresses increased access and inclusion. In Scotland, Ireland and other continental countries the provision of some live music is assumed when the equivalent of a liquor licence is granted to such premises.

English professional musicians (particularly folk and jazz performers) consistently report more gigs, better pay and more respect for the profession in other European countries. In Scotland all workplaces, including pubs, are regulated by exactly the same public safety and noise legislation that applies in England and Wales. Additional controls via PELs apply after 11pm, but if ancillary to the main business the provision of live music does not require a PEL in a typical bar or restaurant. The Government has yet to provide a satisfactory explanation why that cannot happen here.

Last Friday (16 August) 8 members of the DCMS alcohol and entertainment licensing team were taken out for the day by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and Six Continents (a multinational hotel and pub chain company). Callers to the DCMS were informed that the team was 'at a meeting'. The DCMS team were taken to a cinema complex, a restaurant, a hotel, and 3 pubs. This was, no doubt, a useful and worthwhile exercise for the DCMS, and was clearly a lobbying coup for the licensed trade.

If the Government really takes music seriously, however, should not the Department for Culture be a little more proactive in familiarising themselves with the nature and extent of live music in bars, pubs and other 'grassroots' venues?

Perhaps then the MU argument that the Government's proposed all-embracing licensing regime is disproportionate would be taken seriously. The Musicians Union and the Arts Council, who are also represented at the DCMS licensing Bill consultation could organise something along similar lines to the BBPA/Six Continents excursion, although it will be difficult at this late stage in the consultation process.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Hamish Birchall
MU adviser - PEL reform

22 Aug 02 - 02:39 PM (#769750)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

A brewer's view of the proposed reforms.

23 Aug 02 - 01:35 PM (#770311)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: BanjoRay

Shambles, what do you think of Shepherd-Neame's viewpoint? Much of it sounds right to me, although the brewery's profits must figure largely in their calculations.


23 Aug 02 - 03:32 PM (#770394)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

It is somewhat ironic to have chains like Witherspoons, who provide no live music in their pubs as allies, and that Shepherd Neame's objections do not concentrate on the entertainment aspect.

The starting point is the present cost of the liquor licence. It is £30, set and paid to the Courts.

95% of premises just pay this. Some of these can provide live music that is currently exempt from the PEL requirement.

Only 5% have PELs but not all of these premises provide live music, as the PEL is a necessary requirement for late opening hours. All late night dancing clubs with only pre-recorded music will have PELs.

So the current revenue, paid to the local authority, from all PELs is only coming from 5% of liquor licensed premises.

The fee for this ranges from £150 to thousands of pounds, dependent on capacity and which local authority.

The Government propose to combine the two elements together, to set and charge the same fee, even on premises that still do not wish to provide live music. It is difficult to give precise figures from the White Paper but it will mean a considerable increase for all premises.

There will be a personal licence costing between £180 and £ 225, valid for 10 years.

The premises licence (including the optional entertainment element), costing between £100 and £500, will be valid for the life of the business.

And an annual charge will additionally have to be paid of between £50 to £150.

The White Paper warns that. "This means that even if the proposed streamlined and simplified system reduces costs, it may prove necessary to increase the fees from their present level".

So you can see.

So for a licensee that did not and does not provide any live music or need any extended opening, what they paid £30 for, they will now be paying considerably more, with no resulting benefit.

It could be argued that the liquor licence has been too low and I have no real objection to an increase, but I do expect that all premises would be made safe for entertainment on receipt of this vast amount of money.

The industry has argued that to make all premises safe for entertainment would cost too much!

So we will have a situation where local authorities will claim that one person singing (on a regular basis) without official permission obtained well in advance, will automatically make these liquor licensed premises unsafe.

24 Aug 02 - 02:42 PM (#770849)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

Earlier this week I also learned that the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has just been invited by the DCMS to participate in the A&E Bill consultations. It was not part of the original group. I therefore asked Andrew Cunningham whether he would consider admitting another latecomer: EFDSS. He said no. I have copied his email to Phil Wilson and Brenda Godrich of EFDSS. It is still possible, however, that EFDSS may be able to participate via the Arts Council and I will be discussing this with the ACE licensing working party today.

EFDSS have written to the Government, directly asking to be part of the current consultations.

27 Aug 02 - 07:33 AM (#772231)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

This from The English Folk Dance and Song Society

Hello Roger

Thanks for forwarding this. If people such as Sally leave it to the EFDSS to represent them and we are not in the discussion we are not able to represent them so please circulate my letter and urge everyone to write on their own behalf to Andrew Cunningham. Perhaps that way he will start to understand our point of view.

all the best Phil

This is the letter from EFDSS to the DCMS. 23/08/02

Dear Andrew

I am disappointed at your unwillingness to include the EFDSS and it's rather substantial constituency in Licensing legislation consultation processes.

Unfortunately legislation these days is generally written with only commercial issues in mind. Civil servants can be blinkered at times and may be unaware of the people that they may be impacting through their legislation. This point is clearly demonstrated by the existing legislation which is universally agreed to be unsatisfactory.

It is important that we do all that we can to get it right this time.

In a world where social change moves at an ever increasing pace traditional culture provides a valuable anchor for society.

In many parts of the world governments fully appreciate their traditional culture recognising the important role it plays in providing identity and building social values and cohesion. They also understand that if people have a sense of their own traditional culture they able to recognise and appreciate other cultural backgrounds. It is a necessary ingredient to building harmony and mutual respect in ever increasingly multicultural societies.

Unfortunately this is not the case in England. The invaluable contribution made by our traditions to our rich cultural heritage is under threat as never before.

All over the country local authority officers are using this legislation to prevent ordinary people from keeping our precious traditional culture alive.It is clear from the public debate to date and statements from the DCMS that these local authorities are not operating within the spirit of the legislation.

People are hurting all over the country.

The EFDSS is very well placed to provide objective and sensible input to the consultation process. We are a charity and a highly respected organisation. We are committed to finding mutually beneficial solutions rather than merely create stumbling blocks.

I implore you to reconsider your decision.

Yours faithfully Phil Wilson Strategic Director English Folk Dance and Song Society.

13 Sep 02 - 02:38 PM (#783230)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

News of some action, this weekend.

14 Oct 02 - 08:51 PM (#803166)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

Please note that this article states that the officer quoted here, sits on the sub committee that is now drawing up the new Bill.

From Morning Advertiser (26/09/02),

Council wants local discretion' to recover £2.5m costs of overseeing licensing Camden to lobby for fees leeway

Camden Council is to lobby the Government for "leeway" in charging licensees to process liquor licence applications when licensing is transferred to it after reform. The council will see the number of licences it oversees leap from 300 to 1,500 after reform and believes its running costs may rise from £500,000 a year to £2.5m. It wants "local discretion" to be able to recover its costs in fees.

PELs cost an average of £1,000 to £1,200 in Camden but two or three premises pay £20,000 a year - it has been suggested by trade leaders the licence fee will be a maximum of £300 after reform.

"It can't be a blanket fee if we are to recover our costs," said Trish O'Flynn, Camden licensing and safety manager.
The council also believes that it will need two or three years for the job to be transferred to it smoothly - the Government wants a one year transition period.
O'Flynn, who sits on the subgroups drawing up the licensing bill, said: "If the money isn't there the whole system is going to seize up with people waiting inordinate amounts of time for their licences to be processed.

"The London boroughs, in particular, are arguing for a higher fee, because our running costs are that much higher. I know the industry is pushing for the lowest fee level. But if there's no leeway there, then ultimately, it's the licensees that will suffer because their licenses won't be processed."

O'Flynn thinks that boroughs like Camden, with an "articulate population very interested in licensing" might see many more reviews of licensed premises requested by residents than a rural authority, which could add substantially to Camden's costs.
On the issue of the transition period, she said a 12-months period meant the council would have to be issuing 25 licences a week. "We're suggesting a two or three year transition period."
Camden's lobbying campaign will also argue for greater sovereignty for local authority policy. "We Want to look beyond individual premises to the cumulative impact of premises. Government policy is that there should be less discretion for local authorities than now."
Currently, applicants for contested PELs in Camden can expect to wait all average of six months for a decision. "That's why we would like to see the transition staged over two or three years, so you get them arriving 50 at a time or something. It'd be very difficult to process [1,500] all at once."

O'Flynn believes a number of local authorities will not be as prepared for reform as Camden. "Everybody needs to understand the complexities of the situation. We're planning ahead - it worries me that not every borough is doing that."

Camden Council is to push ahead with a cheaper "unplugged PEL licence" as part of its new "Night in Night Out" licensing policy. The licence is aimed at pubs which want to showcase acoustic, folk and jazz performances. It would cost just 25% of the normal PEL fee.
The licence requires less paperwork and limits premises to a 100 capacity and a midningy terminal our.
Camden licensing and safety manager Trish O'Flynn said "It's a regular music and dancing licence but with a condition that says there's no amplification whatsoever of any part of the performance. The licence conditions relating to noise will be simpler for licensee and for the officers who are enforcing it."

Pictured above is Billy Bragg, who has campaigned for a relaxation on rules governing live music in pubs.

Pub promo laws unlikey
British Beer Pub Association guidelines on pub promotions such as happy hours and drinking games are unlikely to be included in a new licensing bill- despite pressure within the industry from the Portman Group. The alcohol watchdog had originally   expressed a preference for reform to incorporate such a code. . But the Portman Group last week published it own tougher code of practice, finally agreed to leave the issue to the BPPA, 'this is somebody else's territory, and, although there were suggest ions that we should get involved, in the end we felt this was adequately being dealt with," said Portman Group Director Jean Coussins.
BBPA communications director Mark Hastings commented 'we shall be revisiting the guidelines after   about a year to see if, they need strengthening, but we're not asking for them to be in a new act as the police already have considerable new powers, including the ability to close a pub for 24 hours."

15 Oct 02 - 08:22 AM (#803449)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: Snuffy

The idea of a less onerous "unplugged PEL" might be a possible solution on a national basis.

If something like this could be included in the basic drinks licence at little or no extra cost then small-time and informal music-making would not be threatened, while large-scale promoters would still have to pay realistic amounts to cover the work involved.

Should we start pressing to have a provison like this put in the Bill?

WassaiL! V

15 Oct 02 - 09:07 AM (#803471)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

A word of warning, under current legislation, Camden's proposed fee for their limited licence, is still considerably more tham what many councils charge for the full PEL.

I would still question what concern to safety or the public's interest is being made by such an event, that is not presented by TV sports in pubs, or other activities that are not considered licensable.

But they are at least recognising (or being forced to recognise)the principle that all music making is not a noise concern. One that the Government have still not accepted.

Snuffy it says a lot about how low our expectations have become when 99% of bad news is overlooked in order to try and find some crumbs of comfort. *Smiles* It was for that reason I did think about not putting that bit in.

The reform is being sold as cheaper, when an (this officer) part of an important lobby which sits on the committee wording the Bill, is trying to increase these charges and return the level of charge back to the local authority.

A committee that EFDSS has been refused a place or a say on.

15 Oct 02 - 07:19 PM (#803938)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: Snuffy

You misunderstand me, Roger - I specifically stated "at little or no extra cost" I'm not saying we should accept Camden's proposals "as is", but that the principle of an exemption for small, unamplified events should be built into the legislation - a more sensible version of the "2-in-a bar" exemption to take account of the current situation.

If one of the hardline councils is conceding the principle, that is an opening we can start driving wedges in. We ought to be able to come up with a better defintion of what to exempt and how, and use Camden as an example of an authority that recognises not all music can be tarred with the same brush.

16 Oct 02 - 02:43 AM (#804176)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

I take your point and I agree. Camdens' proposal and recognition of a distiction between the risks for amplified and non- amplified music making (one that even my council have made, is under the current PEL system.

There is no official suggestion that this distinction even exists, and none that this should form any part of the new legislation.

This officer has been pushed to indroduce the limited PEL locally and I suspect that there are many other more pressing concerns (as demonstrated above) for them to take this distiction to the committee that is forming the new Bill.

We can certainly hold Camden up to the authority which is trying to make this distinction (now) but also as an influential player and a lobby who wish to increase and regain control over fee levels, under the new legislation. Which of the two do you think they will pursue with most vigour?

The details of their proposed limited PEL can be found here.

17 Oct 02 - 02:23 AM (#805116)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

The House of Common's Early Day Motion is now at 212 MP's names.

fax your MP

17 Oct 02 - 02:26 AM (#805117)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

Err?... Fax your MP

17 Oct 02 - 11:55 AM (#805423)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

The details on Camden's site are not there yet. I sent off for the Licensing Policy and received the following.

The attached outlines the principles but the detailed proposals for the "unplugged" licence are in development and will be sent for approval to our Licensing Subcommittee on 21.11.02. The report will be posted on the website a few days in advance.

Many thanks

Trish O'Flynn
Licensing and Safety manager
London Borough of Camden

DD: 020-7974-2076
Fax: 020-7974-5940
Email: Trish.O'

17 Oct 02 - 01:35 PM (#805518)
Subject: RE: Action For Music. PELs
From: The Shambles

O'Flynn believes a number of local authorities will not be as prepared for reform as Camden. "Everybody needs to understand the complexities of the situation. We're planning ahead - it worries me that not every borough is doing that."

What worries me is exactly what those local authorities that are planning ahead, are planning.