In September, the Government launched a consultation into whether personal licences should be scrapped and instead allow local authorities to impose training conditions on individual licences.
Now, in a joint letter to Norman Baker MP, the industry groups, which include the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), are asking for personal licences to be retained.
They say that while attempts to reduce red-tape are welcomed, allowing local authorities to apply relevant conditions to licences where appropriate would lead to inconsistency, with companies working across different local authorities challenged to keep track of where training conditions apply. They also believe there would be a risk of increased reviews of licences to impose training conditions, which will lead to extra costs to businesses.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Government intentions to deregulate are very much welcomed. However, the potential for increased regulation at a local level removes any gains.
“Personal licences work well, set a national standard which is supported by local authorities and the police and have many benefits for the industry. There are many other reductions in red tape which industry have proposed, but not this one. Personal Licences are important for the reputation of the industry and should stay as a nationally recognised qualification.”
Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director of the ALMR, said the system of granting personal licences supported professional qualifications and investment in training the sector.
“Removing it would be a retrograde step and a recipe for additional red tape and bureaucracy at a local level as councils set their own requirements for training for different types of business," she said.
In the letter, signed by the heads of 13 trade associations across leisure, hospitality and tourism, the group supports the coherence and qualification-based system behind personal licences, alongside the practical benefits of the criminal check system. The status of the personal licence holder in terms of both position and recognition of personal investment in training is also highlighted, with the group warning against the ‘gold-plating’ of the designated premises supervisor.
The Personal Alcohol Licences: Enabling Targeted, Local Alternatives consultation closes tomorrow.