Club premises certificate
To authorise the supply of alcohol and regulated entertainment in a qualifying club you need a Club Premises Certificate from the council. In a qualifying club there is technically no sale by retail of alcohol (except to guests) as the member owns part of the alcohol stock and the money passing across the bar is merely a mechanism to preserve equity between members where one may consume more than another.
Only ‘qualifying’ clubs may hold club premises certificates. In order to constitute a qualifying club you must also satisfy the various requirements set out in the Licensing Act 2003.
- What is a qualifying club?
Qualifying clubs should not be confused with proprietary clubs, which are clubs run commercially by individuals, partnerships or businesses for profit. These require a premises licence and are not qualifying clubs.
The act sets out five general conditions which a relevant club must meet to be a qualifying club.
- a person may not be given memberships or as a candidate for membership to any membership privileges without an interval of at least two days from their membership application or nomination and their membership being granted
- that club rules state that those becoming members without nomination or application cannot have membership privileges for at least two days between them becoming members and being admitted to the club
- that the club is established and conducted in good faith
- that the club has at least 25 members
- that alcohol is only supplied to members on the premises on behalf or by the club
Additional conditions in relation to the supply of alcohol must be complied with. These conditions are:
- that alcohol purchased for and supplied by the club is done by members of club who are over 18 years of age and are elected to do so by the members
- that no person at the expense of the club receives any commission, percentage or other similar payment in regard to the purchase of alcohol by the club
- that there are no arrangements for anyone to receive a financial benefit from supplying alcohol, apart from any benefit to the club or to any person indirectly from the supply giving a gain from running the club
A club cannot provide facilities authorised by the CPC to the general public in a way that is contrary to the above criteria and must operate in good faith. A club must have Club Rules to demonstrate they comply with the conditions for a qualifying club.
- Entry of guests and members of the general public at a club premises
The Club must ensure that all persons who are supplied alcohol and use the club facilities are members and bona fide guests to demonstrate the club is run as a qualifying club. The clubs position regarding the admittance of members and guests should be outlined within the club rules. The 2003 Act does not prevent visitors to a qualifying club being supplied with alcohol as long as they are ‘guests’ of any member of the club or the club collectively.
Nothing in the 2003 Act prevents the admission of such people as guests without prior notice and there is no mandatory requirement under the 2003 Act for guests to be signed in by a member of the club. However, should this not occur a point may be reached where a club is providing commercial services to the general public in a way that is contrary to its qualifying club status. It is at this point that the club would no longer be conducted in “good faith” and would no longer meet the general conditions for qualifying clubs under the Act.
Under the 2003 Act, the licensing authority must decide when a club has ceased to operate in “good faith” and give the club a notice withdrawing the club premises certificate. The club is entitled to appeal against such a decision to a magistrates’ court.
Should your club wish to provide commercial services to members of the general public on a regular basis it is recommended that the club applies for a premises licence rather than a club certificate. This will give the club the flexibility to hold public events and allow any person access without having to be a member or guest.
Alternatively an individual on behalf of a club may give temporary event notices for one off events open to the general public at the club premises providing the requirements are met. Please refer to relevant guidance packs available on our website for further information.
- How do I apply?
To apply for a club premises certificate the qualifying club must submit an application to the local authority in which the premises is located. The application must provide details of the proposed licensable activities, such as sale of alcohol or live music, and timings. The applicant must consider the impact of the proposed licensable activities and outline the steps they intend to take to promote the four licensing objectives in their operating schedule. The four licensing objectives are:
- The prevention of crime and disorder
- The prevention of public nuisance
- Public Safety
- The protection of Children from Harm
Do I need to advertise my application?
Yes. During the consultation period the applicant must display a notice(s) at the premises applied for providing a brief summary of the application in accordance with the regulations for a period of 28 consecutive days, starting on the day after the day the application is submitted to the licensing authority. The applicant must also publish a notice in a local newspaper on at least one occasion during the period of 10 working days, starting on the day after the day the application is submitted to the licensing authority.
Who can make a representation?
Anyone can make a representation in respect of an application for a club premises certificate. Any representation must clearly state how an application may impact on the promotion of one or more of the four licensing objectives. A representation can be made in favour of, or against, an application.
The public can see details of applications by viewing details of the application on the council’s website, viewing the public notices at the premises, or by viewing the one off notice in a local newspaper such as the Basingstoke Gazette or Observer. Representations must be received in writing (which can include email) by the end of the 28 day public consultation period. This date will be printed on any of the above advertising options. Any representations received after the 28 days will not be considered. The applicant may offer to make amendments to their application to the satisfaction of persons making a representation in which case the representation can be withdrawn.
How long will my application take to be decided?
If at the end of the 28 consultation period no objections are received from the responsible authorities or other persons, the club certificate will be issued in line with the application. Where relevant objections are received and not subsequently withdrawn, the application will be referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee for decision within 21 days.
- The prevention of crime and disorder
- How do I make a change to my club premises certificate?
A minor variation is usually excepted when it is assessed that the change to the licence will have little or no impact on the licensing objectives. Once the applicant has submitted the application, the Licensing Authority will consult for 10 working days with the Responsible Authorities and any interested parties. During this time the applicant must display a white public notice at their premises to advertise the minor variation. Both the application and fee can be submitted online, with a copy of the club premises certificate and any supporting documentation, such as new plans.
It is expected that the minor variations process will be used for changes such as:
- small changes to the structure or layout of a premises;
- the addition of authorisation for late night refreshment or regulated entertainment (such as live music, performance of plays or film exhibitions);
- small changes to licensing hours (but see below on changes that relate to alcohol);
- revisions, removals and additions of conditions (this could include the removal or amendment of out of date, irrelevant or unenforceable conditions, or the addition of volunteered conditions).
The minor variations process cannot be used to:
- add the retail or supply of alcohol to a certificate
- extend licensing hours for the sale or supply of alcohol at any time between 11pm and 7am;
- increase the amount of time on any day during which alcohol may be sold by retail or supplied;
- extend the period for which the licence or certificate has effect;
- transfer the certificate from one premises to another, or vary substantially the premises to which it relates
- add the sale by retail or supply of alcohol as an activity authorised by a certificate
A full variation is for when a substantial change to the club premises certificate. In all cases the overall test is whether the proposed variation could impact adversely on any of the four licensing objectives. Variations to increase the amount of time during which alcohol may be sold or supplied from a premises are excluded from the minor variations process and must be treated as full variations in all cases.
The full variation process is similar to an application for a new club premises certificate, there is a 28 day consultation period and there has to be an advert in the local newspaper and a public notice on blue paper. The fee for the application is based on the non-domestic rateable value of the premises and can be submitted online with the application form.
- What happens at the licensing sub-committee hearing?
Any person making a representation will be invited to attend the hearing and speak about their representation to the sub-committee. The sub-committee will consider all representations whether the person making the representation attends or not, and will determine the application at the hearing or within 5 working days, and provide a written decision notice. The committee may only consider relevant matters and must consider each application on its individual merits and not compare to other licensed premises in the borough. If someone wishes to appeal against a council’s licensing decision, they will have the right to do so to the Magistrates’ court.
- What if I require further advice?
The licensing team are able to offer guidance and advice on completing application forms, but are not able to complete your application for you. We can offer example wording for your operating schedule which has been recommended by the Police and Trading Standards, and also guidance on how to complete the form itself. It is recommended your contact the Police Licensing Officer and Trading Standards in the first instance to seek their advice on your proposed activities.
If you require detailed advice on your application it is recommended that you seek independent advice from a Licensing Solicitor or Licensing Consultant.
Should you require a meeting with a licensing officer once you have completed your application form, please contact the licensing team by phone or email to make an appointment. Officers have busy diaries to please ensure you have allowed sufficient time for submitting your application within your desired timescale.