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The role of the DPS

Selling alcohol without a licensed DPS could lead to a jail sentence

As you are no doubt aware, there must be a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) for all premises selling alcohol. Notwithstanding the legal obligation with regard to appointing a DPS, the importance of the role can sometimes be overlooked, and an ill-considered appointment can potentially put your entire business as risk. With this in mind, here are some tips to remember when considering the appointment of a DPS and key points as to their role at the premises.

It is a mandatory condition on the premises licence that no supply of alcohol may be made under the premises licence –

  • at a time when there is no DPS in respect of the premises licence, or
  • at a time when the DPS does not hold a personal licence or his or her personal licence is suspended.

If you do sell alcohol without a DPS who holds a valid personal licence, you run the risk of receiving a criminal conviction, an unlimited fine and/or six months in prison. Additionally, breaches of the mandatory conditions may result in a review of your premises licence that could result in further sanctions such as suspension or revocation of that licence.

Make a considered appointment. It is critical to your business to carefully consider the person you appoint to be your DPS. The premise licence holder must nominate this person. The DPS will be the primary contact at the premises and must be in day-to-day control of the premises (even though he or she may be absent from time to time). Remember this will include being the primary contact not just for your customers, but also the Police and Council Officers. Consider whether you have trust in them and whether they are suitable as the primary contact at the premises. Do they know the licensing objectives and the conditions of the licence? How would they deal with drunk or disorderly customers?

Due to the high level of responsibility involved, a person must formally give their written consent to undertaking the role of the DPS. The police may object to the appointment of a DPS if they feel that it will be to the detriment of the crime and disorder licensing objective.

Remember the DPS must notify the licensing authority from where they obtained their personal licence of any change of name or address.

A premises can only have one DPS but it may have numerous personal licence holders. It is advisable that you have at least another member of staff with a valid personal licence, so that in the event that your DPS leaves suddenly, a quick variation of DPS can be made.

Watch out for problems at the premises, regularly review the performance of your DPS and speak with your customers directly. The personal licence of your DPS could be at risk if he or she allows disorderly conduct or criminal activity on the premises such as controlled drug activity. This could result in the Responsible Authorities seeking to replace the DPS and/or forfeiture of their personal licence and could also result in a review of your premises licence which could put the licence at risk and consequently your business.

Remember, the DPS acts as a representative of your business and an ill-advised appointment could potentially damage your business. Therefore it is important to not only appoint a DPS but appoint a suitable one.

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