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Un-named DPS

When do I need to name who the DPS will be?

Q: I am applying for a new premises licence for a restaurant, but I do not yet know the name of my DPS, as I am planning to employ a new Manager for this site. I could name one of my existing Managers in the application, but it seems pointless as this person clearly won’t be the DPS when the restaurant opens. What do you think I should do?

A: Licensing Authorities’ practice about this point varies around the country, and the issue has not yet been tested in the Higher Courts. On a strict interpretation, you need to name a DPS in your licence application if you are proposing to sell alcohol, but I agree this rather defeats the point if there is no possibility of this person actually being the Manager when the premises opens. From the authorities’ and residents’ perspective, however, they may wish to know the identity of, or indeed meet the person who will actually be ‘on the ground’ when the premises opens. I would suggest before you issue your application speaking to the licensing authority to discover their particular stance, and if they require a named DPS (whoever that may be) then to include it in the application, varying the name to the final DPS before the premises opens. If the licensing authority takes a more practical view and allows you not to name a DPS in the application you, as the applicant for this premises licence can still be proactive with the authorities and residents in explaining what you propose to do and alleviating any concerns. You will of course have to make a variation to add your DPS before the premises opens to allow you to sell alcohol.

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