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Welcome to the Tier System

The Government has decided that everything has become too confusing, that people don’t know whether they are coming or going, and that things need to be made simpler so that we can all understand what we’re supposed to be doing at any given time.

Rather than impose a national lockdown like we experienced in March, or continue with specific local lockdowns, the Government has decided to create a tier system consisting of medium, high, and very high tiers together with legislation and guidance to accompany them. The tier system came into force at 00:01 on 14 October.

This article will look at what the rules are for each of the tiers and the differences between them.

Medium (Tier 1)

This is the tier that applies to most of the country and that replicates the status quo prior to the introduction of the tier system. That means:

  • The rule of 6 (e.g. not meeting in groups larger than 6 indoors or outdoors)
  • Restrictions on opening hours for hospitality businesses (e.g. 10pm closure)
  • Restrictions on operation for hospitality businesses (e.g. table service)
  • Most other premises able to stay open
  • Working from home where possible

The medium tier doesn’t introduce any significant changes day-to-day and the situation will be reviewed monthly. The same is not true of the high and very high tiers.

High (Tier 2)

This tier applies to large parts of the north of England. A full list of the areas included can be found in Schedule 2 of the relevant regulations and includes places such as Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and many others.

The key differences between the medium and the high tier are:

  • A ban on mixing with other households or people outside your support bubble anywhere inside, including in private homes. Seeing other households whilst still keeping to groups of no more than 6 outdoors is still possible
  • The ban above also includes hospitality businesses so premises will need to make sure they aren’t accommodating groups that aren’t from one household/a support bubble

Areas given tier 2 status will be reviewed every 14 days with the rules reviewed every 28 days.

Very High (Tier 3)

This tier applies to the worst affected areas and includes Liverpool and other surrounding areas. It is quite likely that other areas will be added to tier 3 in the coming days/weeks.

The key differences between the very high and the high/medium tiers are:

  • pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
  • advising people not to travel into or out of an area if it has been categorised as a very high alert level area. This is part of wider measures to help manage the risk of transmission. You can continue to travel into or out of very high alert level areas if you need to for work, education, to access youth services or because of caring responsibilities.

In addition to these restrictions the Government guidance also suggests they will consider:

  • restrictions preventing the sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality (takeaway and delivery permitted)
  • closing indoor and outdoor entertainment and tourist attractions and venues
  • closing venues such as leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity)
  • closing public buildings, such as libraries and community centres (while ensuring provision remains available for youth clubs and childcare activity and support groups)
  • closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities
  • closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences

In short, the types of restrictions imposed under Tier 3 are not far short of those experienced in March.

If you are a premises that is affected by the new system and would like advise on what the system means for you please contact us for support.

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Local Lockdowns – What Does This Mean for You?

The powers available to implement a local lockdown are contained under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and also under the Public Health Act 1984 in which the government can make new health protection regulations to initiate local lockdowns.

We have seen that Leicester has been subject to a “local lockdown” due to the disproportionate rise in Coronavirus cases in that area. The “local lockdown” restricts movement of people, in particular the restriction of events or gatherings in accordance with Schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020. Leicester has also seen the delay of reopening of their pubs and non-essential retail have been forced to close again as a result of the “local lockdown”.

The above poses practical questions as to the effect of the “local lockdown” has on organisations and, in particular, how your organisation is affected even if you operate beyond the lockdown area. You may need to consider how your operations could be affected by reliance on  suppliers, employees, customers located in these areas or are there areas which if subject to lockdown could expose your organisation to difficulty in operating there and perhaps nationally.

Enforcement available within the “local lockdown” area is the same as that in which we all faced in March, April and May which was in place across the whole country. Insurance considerations are also important and it would be a good time to review any insurance policies you have that may include cover for such disruption or contingencies.

It is likely that the government will seek to implement further “local lockdown” areas depending on where outbreaks occur in the country and we will be keeping a watchful eye on how this will be enforced and the practical issues that will arise as a result of “local lockdowns”.

It is important that you consider within any contingency planning or risk assessments how a “local lockdown” in the current climate may affect your operations and certainly any employees that may not be able to attend in person where usually the easing of the lockdown restrictions would allow this to happen.

If you have any questions or concerns about how this will affect your operations, then please contact us to discuss your options. You can reach the regulatory team by contacting James or Sarah on james@woodswhur.co.uk or sfrow@woodswhur.co.uk or alternatively by calling 0113 234 3055.

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Changes to Large Society Lottery Financial Limits – 29 July 2020

On 16 July 2019, the Government published a response to its consultation on whether to increase the amount of money that society lotteries can raise for good causes. This was welcome news to the society lottery sector, as some operators were considering applying for a second operating licence, in accordance with the regulations, to increase a potential fundraising ability by way of a lottery product.

Despite the response to the consultation, there was little action  by the Government immediately to allow this to be confirmed in law by way of a Statutory Instrument. This is largely down to Government time being spent mainly on Brexit and then, more recently, the General Election in December 2019.

On 19 December 2019, in anticipation of the changes to the law regarding the financial limits, the Gambling commission opened a consultation into the changes to the financial limits and also social responsibility changes. This consultation was titled ‘society lottery reform’. The consultation closed on 12 March 2020 and the response was published on 30 April 2020.

The response from the consultation confirmed that the Gambling Commission will amend the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) to come into effect from 29 July 2020.

The amendments to the LCCP include amendments to licence conditions:

  • 11.1.1.2;
  • 11.2.1.2;
  • 11.1.1.5;
  • 11.1.1.6; and
  • Addition of social responsibility code 4.3.3.

These changes stipulate that a lottery promoted in reliance on the licence may not exceed £5 million and the aggregate of the proceeds of lotteries promoted wholly or partly in a calendar year may not exceed £50 million. These changes will come into effect immediately from 29 July 2020, therefore there is a further licence condition setting out the financial limits applicable for 2020 only. This licence condition reads:

2b –  In 2020, the aggregate of the proceeds of lotteries promoted wholly or partly in a calendar year may not exceed £31,311,475”.

This will be welcome news to society lotteries that have been edging closer to the previous limit of £10 million aggregate proceeds in one calendar year and considering its long term lottery strategy. The changes to the financial limits mean an increase of £40 million in a calendar year for aggregate proceeds.

In addition to the “main news” relating to the financial limit increase, the consultation resulted in an addition to social responsibility code 4.3.3.  This social responsibility code states:

1. Licensees must ensure that clear, transparent and easily accessible information is made available to consumers to enable them to make an informed choice prior to participating in a lottery.  This must include, but is not restricted to details of how proceeds are used and the likelihood of winning a prize and how prizes are allocated. 

2. Licensees must take into account the Commission’s guidance on information to lottery players”.

 The Gambling Commission have published a guidance note dated April 2020 that goes into a little more detail regarding how to be transparent and easily accessible for the purposes of meeting this social responsibility code.  It is likely that this guidance will raise further questions to ensure compliance, but it appears to promote transparency, similar to what the Charity Commission requires for registered charities.

Both of the changes mentioned above to the LCCP will be in effect from 29 July 2020 which alongside the ban on credit cards that came into  effect from 14 April 2020, shows that the Gambling Commission are making big changes this year. This is somewhat overshadowed by covid-19 and what operators have had to deal with as a result of this disruption. However, it carries on the line of stricter regulation by the Gambling Commission and an increased focus on protection against gambling harms.

If you would like to discuss the change to the LCCP and how this may affect your operations, then please do not hesitate to contact Sarah Frow (sfrow@woodswhur.co.uk) or Andy Woods (andrew@woodswhur.co.uk), in the lottery and gaming team.

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COVID-19 – Guidance for businesses and the inevitable disruption to come

What’s happened?

The Government have put in place emergency measures as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Almost every business is affected as all individuals have been advised to work from home unless it is absolutely necessary and essential that they leave their home.

What does this mean?

As a result of this, businesses face unprecedented challenges to continue to operate and ensure employee safety whilst remaining the least disruption to ensure commercial consistency. Government advice appears to be updated and rapidly moving and it is important that businesses check this on a daily basis.

There is currently an emergency legislative bill going through the House of Commons that we expect to receive Royal Assent immediately. This, amongst other emergency measures, sets out amendments to the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) regime and protection for commercial tenants as follows:

  • SSP will be paid from day 1 rather than day 4. This will apply retrospectively from 13 March 2020;
  • SSP will be fully reimbursed by the Government to the employer (that employs fewer than 250 employees) for up to two weeks to ensure that individuals are encouraged to stay at home whilst they experience symptoms;
  • Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. The Government have specifically confirmed this is not a rental holiday and tenants are still liable for rent.

In addition to the bill, there are a number of schemes that have been set up the Government as a result of the restrictions placed on individuals and businesses because of the coronavirus outbreak. To summarise, these are as follows:

  • Protection of income for employees under the ‘job retention scheme’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This is currently being set up by HMRC and we continue to review any news on this in the near future;
  • Schemes regarding grants and loans for businesses;
  • VAT and income tax deferral for all businesses;
  • Business rates cut for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure businesses or small business rate relief/tapered relief businesses.

The full support for businesses guidance is available on the following Government web page: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-businesses-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

What’s next?

The Government are providing daily updates and also publish emails to any changes to advice online at the gov.uk/coronavirus webpage. Please keep checking this page for any changes to advice for employers and, if you are unsure about something, contact Woods Whur for further assistance. These are unprecedented times and the details in the guidance provided by the Government is changing daily to ensure clarification and avoid confusion.

In the meantime, businesses may wish to review their insurance cover terms and conditions to ascertain whether this disruption is covered under its relevant commercial insurance.

FAQ’s

  • What happens if everyone is working from home and we have to complete our lottery draw on-site?

The lottery must still be operated and run in a fair and open way, in accordance with the licensing conditions and codes of practice. The current restrictions do not waive operators obligations and duties of being a responsible operator in accordance with a licence provided by the Gambling Commission. There has been no announcement as to relaxation of this and therefore if the draw cannot be completed with the relevant people there and in accordance with the games relevant terms and conditions then the draw must be suspended. Communication of this to players and payment must be managed accordingly.

  • What if someone is displaying signs of illness and continues to come into the workplace, can we send them home?

Yes. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 imposes a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to protect employees health and safety. There is guidance issued by the Government specifically for employers and employees and employers should be asking employees that are displaying symptoms to read that guidance as it may affect others in the household (i.e. if someone else within the house is experiencing symptoms then the household should remain in self-isolation for 2 weeks). Please note the Government advises that no employees should be at work if they are able to work from home, without symptoms.

  • How will this affect the Gambling Commission and contact with them?

The Gambling Commission have published a press release and confirm they are now working remotely. The Account manager details you have on your e-services platform will still be the same and, if you need to make contact, you should do so by email or leaving a message on the telephone, which has been in place before the restrictions were put in place.

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Woods Whur and Innpacked

We are delighted that our relationship with Innpacked is going from strength to strength. Our clients are benefiting from our hook up with them and many are already taking advantage of the direct link into their training packages. We have also had some real success with bespoke packages being tailored to our clients needs.

Innpacked is one of the most successful training companies in the UK hospitality industry. Their client base ranges from large multinationals to individual clients who are just beginning their career. The reason for our hook up with them is their ability to provide training that suits our client’s individual needs. They deliver mandatory courses that vary from the Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders, which is required to gain a personal alcohol licence, to the Level 4  Award in Food Safety in Catering. They also design bespoke courses which are written and delivered to our client’s exact requirements, such as employee and management induction courses. Their  main goal is to not only deliver quality training, but training that is relevant and adds value to your business or career.

Please either click on the following link to see their APLH courses:

http://www.innpacked.com/course/aplh/

or for the whole suit of courses on:

http://www.innpacked.com/courses/

or email us direct on:

woodswhur@innpacked.com

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fabric – a rollercoaster ride of a case

Having concluded the successful appeal for fabric in 2015 the operators and myself hoped for a quiet year in 2016. Unfortunately the issues of young people taking recreational drugs at social gatherings and in music-led environments came to a head again this year.

Two further young lives were lost by individuals who were determined to take MDMA as part of their night out. Ultimately this led to the summary review of the premises licence at fabric, the suspension of the premises licence, the revocation of the licence and the eventual reinstatement of the licence after significant time was invested by the operator, the police and the licensing authority in coming to a compromise which all parties were able to sign off – removing the need for a week long appeal at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

The case in itself highlights the huge challenges to the leisure industry and enforcement agencies surrounding issues in the night time economy.

I think the hardest part for me in the whole process was attending the inquest at the Coroner’s Court when the family, friends, staff and medic who tried to save Ryan Brown’s life all gave evidence before the coroner. I had been working on this case for several months by that stage, and had looked after fabric’s licensing affairs for three years. Everything was brought into sharp focus when I saw young men similar to those who socialise with my elder daughters emotionally giving evidence about the loss of their friend. The Coroner highlighted that the evidence had shown a naivety in drug use and she expressed concern that whatever she would say, young people would still run the risks associated with taking recreational drugs. She highlighted the need for better education systems and praised the medical facilities that are available at fabric.

The proceedings before the Licensing Authority and in the run up to the appeal again stressed the difficult circumstances that operators have in keeping drugs away from their venues. I represent bars, hotel operators, restaurants and venues more traditionally associated with the late night sector. None of these types of premises are immune from people taking drugs within them. I am constantly surprised at where drug taking now takes place and by huge challenges for operators and enforcement officers alike.

The fabric case has re-emphasised the need for operators to never stand still. One of the key offers which has been put in place by fabric moving forward is a “Target Hardening Programme”. This will see significantly different types of searching and management of the front door of the premises in an attempt to make it harder for individuals to take drugs into the premises. The difficulty is that searching cannot be intimate and it is so easy for tablets and small amounts of powdered MDMA to be smuggled in intimate places.

The more I am involved in cases such as this, the more I am of the view that enlightened enforcement protocols, which include education rather than just prohibition, are the way forward. As the coroner emphasised, nothing she was going to say would stop young people who believe they are invincible.

The statistics which Professor Measham has shared with us during these proceedings all push in that direction. There are significant issues with creating environments where naïve drug users are prepared to risk taking all of their drugs in one go – the consequences being potentially fatal when individuals “Double Drop”.

One of the key issues that has come about during the fabric case is the potential loss of the cultural and late night entertainment sector in major cities.

There is a need to invest significant sums in opening and maintaining premises such as fabric. They clearly serve a huge, loyal market. I have never been involved in a case before where a review managed to engender 872 positive representations in the review. This then led to 160,000 people signing a petition to save fabric. Many thousands of people then contributed over £300,000 to create a fighting fund to give fabric an opportunity to fight the revocation and re-open. The press coverage and reporting of the case has been at a level that I’ve never seen before and this is not purely because of the premises themselves but also the fact that people are awakening to the possibility that summary reviews could be used to remove other premises in a similar fashion.

I formed a view very early in these proceedings that a summary review was a blunt tool used to deal with the issues at the premises. If you read the preamble to the Violent Crime Reduction Act (the legislation that brought in summary reviews to the Licensing Act 2003) and all of the guidance documents since, you will see that this mechanism was brought in primarily to deal with premises associated with serious violent crime and weapons at premises.

Some months on we are in a position I genuinely believe we could have reached without the need for the premises to have closed for 4 months and this could have saved huge amounts of money on all sides, and the potential financial ruin of the business.

There have been instances during this period where I have been asked to advise police forces as to whether a summary review should be launched in certain circumstances. I have been slow to advise their commencement in a particular case which was associated with violence during football matches. We managed to set up a level of communication between the operator and the police, where everything was achieved by way of a minor variation rather than going down significantly costly litigation. It is still my advice that taking the foot off the gas and making a careful, considered approach can be significantly beneficial to all parties.

This is not written with criticism of the police in mind, in the circumstances of the fabric case. I accept entirely that the pressures in place are considerable when young people have lost their lives at licensed premises and there is a belief that the operator could do more to manage out drugs in their premises. However, as was borne out in the significant discussions with Islington Council and the police in the run up to the appeal in fabric, with a will on the part of all parties, a sensible conclusion can be reached which promotes the licensing objectives and hopefully allows the late night industry to flourish.

 

 

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Shisha Smoking – a “hot topic”

The increasing popularity of shisha smoking in recent years has led local authorities to consider the various powers at their disposal to address the activity. For councils such as Westminster, the issue might be said to be “smoking hot” at the moment, with the authority looking at measures to control it and seemingly set on a course to reduce the harm it perceives it to cause.

Westminster issued its draft strategy, “Reducing the Harm of Shisha” in December 2015, citing a British Heart Foundation study from 2012, which showed a 210% increase in the number of premises in the UK offering shisha over the five years to then from 2007. Westminster says that its document is aimed at enabling people to make informed choices, to help businesses operate in a sustainable and responsible way, and to protect and enhance the amenity of every neighbourhood within its area of responsibility.

Consultation on the document closed on the 12 February this year, with the final strategy due to be published this spring: it has yet to appear, and enquiries of the council this week revealed that publication has now been deferred until spring 2017, for undisclosed reasons. Nevertheless, the council has confirmed that the issue of shisha smoking is still very much in its spotlight.

Responsibility for public health shifted to local authorities from 1 April 2013 and in addition they have powers under licensing, planning and environmental protection legislation at their disposal.

Westminster’s Draft Strategy proposes a three-pronged approach to the issue, as follows:

  • To educate people about the harm associated with shisha;
  • To regulate the activity; and
  • To lobby and form partnerships with other authorities and organisations such as the UK Healthy Cities Network and the Smokefree Alliance.

This approach, the council believes, will increase its effectiveness and ability to improve health outcomes and reduce nuisance.

Shisha involves smoking tobacco or herbal smoking products through a water pipe or hookah. Historically most prevalent in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia, the activity has in recent years gained popularity in Europe and North America. Although traditionally carried on by members of the aforementioned ethnic groups, it has become popular with students and other young people from all ethnic backgrounds in recent years. It is instructive to note that shisha smoking is banned in public places in some countries such as Pakistan, with other Middle Eastern and Asian countries considering similar restrictions.

Shisha bars are found across the UK and, whilst they tend to be concentrated in cities such as Manchester and Birmingham and in other boroughs of London, such as Brent and Tower Hamlets, Westminster has seen an increase in the number of premises within its area offering shisha smoking, to a total of some 132 businesses at the end of 2015, with the number continuing to grow. In Westminster, the greatest concentration of such premises is around the Edgware Road Stress Area, although some are also found in the Queensway Stress Area, the West End Stress Area and elsewhere throughout the borough.

In the consultation paper, the council points to the fact that many of those who smoke shisha are unaware of its health impact, often wrongly believing that because the smoke is inhaled through a water pipe that is “safer” than traditional cigarette smoking. Studies looking at the long term health effects of shisha smoking are few and far between but, says the council, there is an increasing amount of evidence which suggests the health effects of shisha smoking are similar to, or worse than, those of cigarette smoke. It also points to health and safety issues arising from sharing water pipe mouth pieces and the fire risk associated with burning charcoal. In addition, the consultation paper highlights the possible amenity impacts of shisha smoking caused by noise and fumes and crime associated with the activity in terms of illicit tobacco and the evasion of excise duty.

The council is engaged in various smoking cessation campaigns, including some that target shisha smoking specifically, particularly amongst students. It is also in the course of drawing up guidance for businesses on the range of regulatory requirements associated with shisha smoking that need to be met, and on good practice to address health and amenity concerns.

Turning to the regulation of the activity, Westminster’s Consultation Paper highlights the wide range of powers that the council has at its disposal to control shisha smoking. These include:

  • Smokefree Legislation – The Health Act 2006 bans smoking in “substantially enclosed premises”, imposing various rules concerning the structures in which smoking can and cannot take place. Such matters are also governed by the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974.
  • Highways Law – The Council’s Highways Department has various powers to prevent shisha smoking obstructing the pavement and to require tables and chairs on the pavement to be licensed.
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990 – This gives the council various powers to curb statutory nuisance arising from fumes or noise. Such matters are also covered by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
  • The Licensing Act 2003 – Although public health is not currently a licensing objective under this legislation, many in the sector expect it to be introduced as one shortly. This notwithstanding, there may nevertheless be conditions on premises licences as matters stand, which serve to limit to shisha smoking by, for example, preventing the use of outside areas after a certain time, or limiting the number of patrons allowed in outside areas. Should premises be found to be causing a public nuisance through shisha smoking activity, the council has powers to add such conditions to the licence upon a licence review.
  • Planning Legislation – The council has powers to tackle shisha smoking by alleging that, by offering it as an activity, premises have unlawfully changed planning use.

I am currently involved in a case in Westminster where the council, having attempted to use tables and chairs legislation to control shisha smoking at a set of premises, is now using the planning legislation and alleging that the shisha smoking at the premises amounts to an unlawful change of planning use from A3 (restaurant) to a mixed A3 and sui generis use. An application was made for a Certificate of Lawfulness on the basis that the shisha smoking at the premises is merely ancillary to the restaurant use. However, this was turned down flat by the authority, without any opportunity being given to lodge additional evidence. That decision has been duly appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, and a decision on that appeal is awaited early next year.

In what I believe to be a robust case, the arguments advanced included the following:

  • Shisha smoking is demonstrably a very small part of the business’s turnover (being approximately 5%);
  • There is no specifically designated shisha area at the premises;
  • The number of customers partaking of shisha is very low;
  • The number of menu items represented by the shisha activity at the premises is very low when compared to the number of food and drink items on offer;
  • The appearance and presentation of the premises remain very much those of a restaurant;
  • The shisha smoking at the premises isn’t leading to any intensification of their use; and
  • Shisha smoking at the premises has never given rise to any complaints, whether they be about noise, fumes or anything else.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this appeal will be and also what Westminster’s final shisha strategy document looks like when it finally comes out. I know that there is considerable concern amongst the business community in Westminster, with an increasing number of outlets offering shisha or wishing to do so. We will update you on the outcome of the appeal and on Westminster’s strategy in future editions of this newsletter. In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns, please contact one of the team.

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Woods Whur Gambling Seminar and Networking Event

We were all delighted with our first gambling seminar and networking event, held at the iconic Hippodrome Casino Theatre on Monday 6 June 2016. Eighty delegates from a broad spectrum of gambling operators and regulators attended. We should like to thank Rob Burkitt from the Gambling Commission, Kerry Simpkin from Westminster City Council and Sheila Roberts from London Borough of Newham Council for preparing and delivering such interesting presentations.

Please see the link below to the biographies of the speakers, the agenda for the day and each of the presentations.

Agenda

Biographies

Presentation

There were some very interesting discussion points raised as a result of the subject matters covered.

Andy Woods highlighted the change in focus from the early years following the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005 to the present day, and this was confirmed by Rob Burkitt in his presentation. There is clearly a move towards placing the onus on the gambling industry to modernise and to improve self-regulation, compliance and best practice.

Andy also emphasised that there is a greater focus on regulatory control and that the Gambling Commission are using more of their enforcement powers than they had previously.

Andrew Woods presents at the Woods Whur Gambling Seminar and Networking Event
Andrew Woods presents at the Woods Whur Gambling Seminar and Networking Event

One of the key issues raised was the closer control and monitoring of personal licence holders. Andy stressed that, after the introduction of the Gambling Act, enforcement and control had focussed on operating licence reviews. However, the industry needs to be aware that there will be more interaction with personal licence holders moving forward.

Rob Burkitt from the Gambling Commission touched on this too, and highlighted the Gambling Commission’s position on Personal Management Licences (PMLs).

Rob Burkitt from the Gambling Commission
Rob Burkitt from the Gambling Commission

He pinpointed the following:-

Para 4.3 of the Gambling Commission’s Statement of Principles (please click on the link http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/pdf/statement-of-principles-for-licensing-and-regulation.pdf)

The Commission expects those occupying senior positions, whether or not they hold Personal Management Licences, to uphold the licensing objectives and to ensure the compliance of operators with the LCCP.

In particular, the Commission expects operators to:

  • organise and control their affairs responsibly and effectively
  • have adequate systems and controls to keep gambling fair and safe
  • conduct their businesses with integrity
  • act with due care, skill and diligence
  • maintain adequate financial resources
  • have due regard to the interested customers and treat them fairly
  • have due regard to the information needs of customers and communicate with them in a way that is clear, not misleading, and allows them to make an informed judgement about whether to gamble
  • manage conflicts of interest fairly
  • disclose to the commission anything which the commission would reasonably expect to know
  • work with the commission in an open and co-operative way

Anna Mathias’s Update on Current Developments and her Lotteries Update were particularly well received by delegates, as we learnt from the feedback received, and there were interesting discussion points raised in relation to the increase in the control and regulation of money laundering and the processing of cash transactions.

Sheila Roberts from London Borough of Newham
Sheila Roberts from London Borough of Newham

Kerry Simpkin’s presentation was thought-provoking and centred around the work that Westminster Council have been doing surrounding the potential areas of impact on vulnerable people by the activities of gambling premises. The fact that local authorities are potentially going to have greater control of the issue of premises licences was emphasised also in Sheila Roberts’s presentation about the challenges posed to a regulator in such a diverse Borough as Newham.

Kerry Simpkin from Westminster City Council
Kerry Simpkin from Westminster City Council

Clearly, local authorities’ statements of licensing principles and special consideration areas are going to be key when the powers are full understood by councils. Paddy Whur commented on the political dynamic at hearings before licensing sub-committees under the Gambling Act. He stressed that it will be very interesting to see how close these special consideration areas come to cumulative impact policies in licensing policies created under the Licensing Act 2003.

Anna also raised the issue of dementia training which is, again, something which is going to become far more topical in the coming years. Andy Woods pointed out to the operators in the room that the enhanced requirements placed on them will mean that the training of staff is going to be critically important in the future.

Anna Mathias presenting at the Woods Whur Gambling Seminar and Networking Event
Anna Mathias presenting at the Woods Whur Gambling Seminar and Networking Event

We were delighted with the interaction with the audience and the feedback we have received since the event. If there are any specific questions that those who attended, or who have received the slides, wish to be answered, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Some of the feedback received:

“I thought that the seminar itself was very good and clearly well put together and delivered.” Operator

“I wanted to commend you all on a fantastic and worthwhile event.” Gamcare

“Fantastic event. Great content and ran to timings. Just the right amount of information.” Consultant

“Really useful to be able to attend such a wide ranging seminar. Looking forward to next year.” Local Authority

Paddy Whur presents Woods Whur Gambling Seminar and Networking Event
Paddy Whur presents at the Woods Whur Gambling Seminar and Networking Event

Paddy@woodswhur.co.uk

Andrew@woodswhur.co.uk

Anna@woodswhur.co.uk

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Woods Whur and Innpacked strategic relationship

We are delighted that our relationship with Innpacked is going from strength to strength. Our clients are benefiting from our hook up with them and many are already taking advantage of the direct link into their training packages. We have also had some real success with bespoke packages being tailored to our clients needs.

Innpacked is one of the most successful training companies in the UK hospitality industry. Their client base ranges from large multinationals to individual clients who are just beginning their career. The reason for our hook up with them is their ability to provide training that suits our client’s individual needs. They deliver mandatory courses that vary from the Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders, which is required to gain a personal alcohol licence, to the Level 4  Award in Food Safety in Catering. They also design bespoke courses which are written and delivered to our client’s exact requirements, such as employee and management induction courses. Their  main goal is to not only deliver quality training, but training that is relevant and adds value to your business or career.

Please either click on the following link to see their APLH courses:

http://www.innpacked.com/course/aplh/

or for the whole suit of courses on:

http://www.innpacked.com/courses/

or email us direct on:

woodswhur@innpacked.com

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Whose Premise Licence is it? Make Sure the Actions of your Door Staff do not put your Licence in Jeopardy

I have attended a Police meeting this week with a long standing trouble free operator.

The Police were uncomfortable with some instances which have come to light of the way in which people had been ejected from or refused entry to the licensed premises. The techniques for removal/ejection were called into question and we were shown some video footage from the Council’s CCTV system.

The Police thought that there was a need for some refresher training for the door staff and also a reintegration of management and door staff to work together. It reminded me of instances that I have dealt with previously where staff working behind the bar had been comfortable to sell alcohol to people without I.D checking believing this had already taken place at the door by the door supervisors.

The management controls in the premises will determine whether there will subsequently be a review of the Premises Licence. The Premises Licence attaches to the premises and is in the owner/operator’s control. If door supervisors are seen to be behaving in a way which compromises any of the four licensing objectives there could be a review of the Premises Licence. Clearly if the Premises Licence is put into potential jeopardy as a result of this action then there could be serious ramifications for the owner/operator.

It is therefore very important that the owner/operator does not allow a door team to be the tail that wags the dog. Good quality door companies will provide a senior door man who understands potential issues that could be created at the premises as well as the continuity of door staff. One of the issues that arose in our Police interview was that the premises was located on the corner of two roads and some of the ejections could lead to people being thrown on to the carriageway of the road and therefore causing potential issues to their safety.

These live issues should be risk assessed for every venue and door teams should be constantly looking at what management controls are needed. Drug use in toilets is another significant risk to licensed premises and door supervisors (and/or toilet supervisors) have to be vigilant that a significant number of people carrying drugs with them are looking for a “soft” place to be able to take them. I was once involved in a pub premises licence review which had difficulties with their toilets. When the Premises Licence was reviewed the issue surrounded the gentlemen’s toilets and in particularly one cubicle. The DPS told us they had tried to put sloping surface blocks on the window ledge which had been removed and admitted they had given up at that point and not looked for any other ways to deal with the issues…not a good response.

One enlightened operator who we acted for asked all of their senior management to do the SIA door training course and all of their door supervisors to do the NCPLH course. We then had a training day where the management and the door supervisors integrated with role play in live scenarios so that both understood the issues that the other had to deal with at the premises.

This has brought back into sharp focus my view that I have always had that training is imperative and that any external agencies employed at licensed premises – for example door supervisors – do not put the long term life of the business in jeopardy by bringing the Premises Licence in for review.