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Christmas party time

Can we hold our Christmas Party at an unlicensed venue?

Q:  With the festive period soon approaching, we are looking at organising a Christmas party. We will have a meal and entertainment and we usually hold a raffle. This year we are planning to hold the party away from one of our pubs. All the food and drink is free, but the staff will pay for the raffle tickets. The raffle is always popular and all the money raised goes to a local charity. This year some of the prizes will include alcohol, and the venue where we are looking to hold the party does not have a licence. Is this okay?

A:  Yes. As there is no charge for the food and drink during the party you do not need a licence or a Temporary Event Notice.  With regards to the raffle, even though your staff are paying for the chance to win alcohol, by virtue of section 175 of the Licensing it will not be classed as a sale of alcohol as staff will not be attending the party simply because you are holding a raffle. The raffle is incidental to the party.  You must ensure though that the alcohol is in a sealed container and you must also ensure that there is no prize money in the raffle, and all the proceeds go to the charity.  Have a good party!

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