Summer can be one of the most rewarding times of the year for operators. Rising temperatures often equate to busy beer gardens and customers venturing out in the evenings rather than staying warm and cosy at home. Whilst these will ultimately lead to a rise in profits, they can also cause a potential threat to your premises as many licensed premises become victims of their own success if volumes of customers are not managed effectively, both inside your premises and in external areas. Here are our tips for avoiding a review of your licence if you find that you are suddenly on the radar of the Authorities or local residents:
- First and foremost, it is important to listen to any concerns raised by the Authorities or residents and co-operate with them as much as possible. Whilst it may be inconvenient to take the time to organise or attend meetings, it is worth giving some thought to the cause of any incidents or issues raised by the Authorities or local residents;
- Be proactive and make regular contact with your local residents and Police or Environmental Health Officers. Being forewarned of any issues means being forearmed and if you have the opportunity to put measures into place before things escalate you have a better chance of maintaining a good relationship with those who may be inclined to raise issues;
- If matters do escalate and you find that you are the subject of residential complaints or enforcement from the Authorities, be mindful that they could apply for a review of your premises licence which could result in conditions being added, permitted hours being curtailed or, as a worst case, suspension or revocation of your premises licence. If you find yourself at this stage, it is worth considering whether you could agree an action plan with all of those involved. This may include electing to make an application to add conditions to your licence however, you should bear in mind that a Licensing Sub-Committee should only impose conditions which are appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives. Therefore if you do offer conditions, ensure that they only go so far as is appropriate and do not make your business untenable in the long run;
- Consider staff training and whether this needs to be refreshed. Sometimes problems arise because new staff are not aware of relevant policies and procedures and existing staff can forget over time, particularly if issues are not reported to premises immediately.
Being subject to enforcement action or residential complaints can be stressful and time consuming, but investing some time and considering the points above can go some way to avoiding more serious consequences in the long run.