Posted on

One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back

Luke and I were chatting this week about topics for today’s newsletter and the fact it was impossible to write about what the likelihood was of licensed premises opening up after 2nd December when this lock down ends. We decided it was too speculative to try and second guess what is going to happen. A further lockdown, return to the previous tier system, new tiers–who knows really. As a result of our chat, and the decision to wait until we had some understanding of what is to happen, it made me realise how impossible it is for the trade to plan. We know for certain that nightclubs will not be able to reopen, I can’t see how the government will change their position and we have to wonder whether some of the late night venues will now ever reopen.

We are now approaching the busiest time of the year for restaurants and bars. The next 5 weeks usually generate the business which provides the revenues to get through the fallow months of January and February. Without these 5 weeks of bumper returns, many operators could fail–from small independents right up to the largest of multiple operators. What do you order in to sell? I saw one of my clients posting this week as they were disposing of beer stocks going out of date in this lockdown. It is a complete mess that is for sure and the lack of certainty for planning is shambolic. We represent significant National Casino and Bingo operators and we have seen ever-changing schedules of who is open, who is on furlough, who we should deal with. It is taking a huge amount of effort for lots of these operators to change their style of operation to match what they can do, and have to do to provide a COVID safe environment.

2021 will be Andy and my 30th year as qualified solicitors specializing in the Leisure and Gambling sector. We have seen huge challenges in that time but we are both confident that as we pull out of this pandemic we will see the leisure and gambling sector show new buds of growth. Some, but not all, will come through the hardest of times. It is those who had viable, successful business which don’t survive who you feel the most sorry for.

What we are seeing is fresh challenges every day. The industry looks at bringing in innovative new ways to create a safe environment, and then people behave in such a way that it puts their licence in jeopardy. When we came out of lockdown I was in one of my client’s premises and was shown how the QR code worked. Scan it on your phone, up pops a menu, you order and pay without leaving your seat, and your drinks are delivered to you at your table. Wow, I was so impressed and the operator told me how they were able to go cashless in their premises and control the number of staff they needed so much more accurately. Good for the operator, good for the customer–win win. But, one step forwards, two steps back…every time something good comes forward, people begin to behave to frustrate the system. I had a meeting with the police and council licensing officers in Leeds. Great to see them, in a socially distanced environment with our masks on. It was at this meeting that they explained the new pitfalls of the QR system and remote ordering. People have been ordering drinks through these app-based systems for different tables or even adults have been ordering on their credit/debit cards from home for their kids in licensed premises. This brings about a whole new set of issues over assessing the age of people as they have their drinks delivered. Training of staff to ensure that challenge 21/25 is still taking place when alcohol is delivered to the table is now even more vital. It also brings about monitoring what people are drinking, how much people are consuming and how quickly, if they aren’t ordering their own drinks. Strong management right through all staff is going to be critical and I cant thank the officers enough for bringing this to my attention.

Luke and I have also been discussing Cumulative Impact Policies over the last few days as we delivered a session at the IOL virtual conference, on where they sit post pandemic. What is for sure is that every single CIP has been developed on data which is now fatally flawed and out of date. Lots of licensing authorities will be coming up to reviewing their policies, which they have to do at least every three years. Lets hope this is an open and honest process and we look carefully at what the landscape looks like now as opposed to when the policy was derived. We are making applications at the moment in CIP areas and trying to explain to committees why a fresh approach needs to be taken. Fortunately we have, for the most part, seen sense prevail and a good pragmatic approach being taken.

We are hoping for better news for the bar, leisure and gambling sectors as we approach the release from lockdown, whatever the government plan we will be hear to help and advise all of our clients.

Posted on

Regulatory Seminar 2019

Many thanks to those attendees that took part in the regulatory seminar on 25 September 2019, we hope you had an enjoyable time.

Any of our clients who could not make the event and would like to receive the slides for the topics, then please do contact us. For information, the topics covered were as followed:

  • Fire Safety – Post Grenfell
  • Entertainment/Alcohol Licensing – What’s new?
  • Coroners inquests – what’s in it for me?
  • Sentencing and what does it really mean?
  • Regulatory smorgasbord – topical round up of cases, developments and issues to watch out for
  • Insurers – what can they make you and what can they not make you do?!

Whether or not you could make it on 25 September 2019, anyone who has a question  on particular topics we discussed or that are of interest in the regulatory field please let us know.  We are hoping to do a webinar in the near future to deal with some other topical issues. So please get in touch with your problems, thoughts and suggestions that you may have

We hope you can join us at the next seminar/conference and we look forward to hearing from you in respect of the suggestions for further events.

Posted on

Woods Whur Gambling Seminar – 8 May 2018 – Hippodrome Casino, Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7JH

We would like to pass on our thanks to Simon Thomas for letting us use the auditorium in the Hippodrome Casino and also to our external speakers, Philip Kolvin QC, Ben Haden from the Gambling Commission and Kerry Simpkin from Westminster Council.

We had a fantastic mixed audience from all parts of the gambling industry – online, traditional land based betting and casino operators, bingo operators, the Lotteries sector – a broad spectrum of clients and also representatives of a number of licensing authorities.

Philip Kolvin opened up our conference and gave a fantastic presentation on risk.  A significant number of delegates commented during the break how thought-provoking this was. Philip was followed by Andy who dealt with review of recent cases and issues. There are some significant cases of note in Gambling Law as the Regulator has definitely sharpened its focus of dealing with problem operators.

James Thompson, the Head of our Regulatory team then looked at the significant issues of the sentencing guidelines changing on prosecutions for regulatory breaches, and also some very topical issues in relation to data protection and the changes in legislation. Big thanks to James who had to leave home in Newcastle at 3.30 in the morning so as to get to London to deliver his presentation.

Anna Mathias gave the audience her lotteries update which came with perfect timing, as she has just been appointed to the Board of the Lotteries Commission for Great Britain.  The lotteries operators in the audience found her update particularly interesting and pertinent to their sector.  We are very proud that she now sits on the Board of such an important and worthwhile organisation.

In the second half of the conference we had Ben Haden from the Gambling Commission who gave a very interesting insight into the national policy being promoted by the Gambling Commission in 2018. Some interesting changes of focus can be seen in his presentation as the direction of travel for the GC starts to change.

After Ben gave us the national picture, Kerry Simpkin highlighted the Gambling perspective from Westminster Council, explaining what their Licensing Authority expects to see in terms of risk assessment and how their new statement of licensing policy is going from 60 to 353 pages.

Andy and Anna brought the conference to a close with a compliance, regulation and challenges presentation.  This gave the audience a good understanding of some of the regulatory impacts that are challenging  and will further challenge the gambling sector.

We thoroughly enjoyed the day and in particular, the questions and issues raised by delegates in my wrap up session.

If you would like a copy of any of the materials used at the conference, please email, who will be happy to assist.

If there are any questions from those who attended the seminar or those who unfortunately could not attend, then Andy, Anna, James and myself would be delighted to deal with those direct enquiries.

Paddy Whur

Posted on

Changes to the Licence conditions and codes of practice – April 2018

In this article, Andy Woods looks at the new version of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (“LCCP”) and, in particular, highlights some of the key changes.

In many ways the LCCP should be the heartbeat of any gambling business and should form the basis of policies and procedures implemented by all gambling operators.  The Gambling Commission (“GC”) defines the LCCP as setting out “the requirements you must meet in order to hold your operating licence and your personal licence.  It is a very important part of running your business…”

It is a general requirement of the LCCP that all operators keep themselves up to date with any changes to legislation and to the LCCP and it is extremely important that operators understand that the LCCP is a changing document and updates and that amendments are made regularly, to take into account developments and innovations in the industry and to set out the most effective way of promoting the licensing objectives, in particular, promoting social responsible gambling.

The LCCP is not a “one size fits all” document, as there are sector specific sections and, if at all possible, the GC will make it clear what it expects operators to achieve in certain policies and procedures but allows them to write their own policies and procedures to deal with its requirements.  What is relevant to a Mayfair Casino dealing with high stake customers may not be relevant to an operator who only trades one betting shop.  However, the general principles that both will have to abide by remain the same.

The latest LCCP came into effect on 4 April 2018 and there are particular changes relating to Society Lotteries and the regulatory data that is to be provided to the Gambling Commission.  These were the two matters that the Gambling Commission consulted on in 2017.  There have also been minor changes to the social responsibility code provisions 3.5.3 and 3.5.4 and an update to the reference for the online portal for information at 15.3.1.

  1. The requirement to report the number of Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”) on regulatory returns has been removed and the information on discounted relationships will be collected through the key events reporting mechanism (via the eService Portal on the GC website). This change to the LCCP requires discounted relationships to be reported alongside information on SARs as key events.
  2. Information about game faults which result in over- or under-payment to customers needs to be reported as a key event.
  3. The existing requirement to report group advertising to a new jurisdiction has been widened to include a new requirement to report where there has been sustained/meaningful generation of the 3%/10% threshold being passed for the wider group.
  4. The definition of “low frequency lottery” has been updated to include those lotteries offered by local authorities.
  5. A new social responsibility code provision has been added to require operators to publish the proportion of lottery proceeds returned to the purposes of the society or local authority.

I am sure that some of the above points will come up at our seminar at The Hippodrome Casino on 8 May 2018.  There are still a few places available and if you would like to come please contact

If you have any questions in the meantime on the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Posted on

Terrible atrocities in the UK have a bearing on licensed premises

Andy Woods and I were walking to Clerkenwell for meetings on the day after the Grenfell Tower fire. It hit us both pretty dramatically as we were walking through central London to think that, only four miles away from where we were, the terrible scenes at the Tower were unfolding. It’s very easy to take for granted, when walking around London, what might be happening outside your own sphere of activity. This feeling was underlined the following day, when I noticed the anti-tank blocks that had been placed on Waterloo Bridge, as I was walking over to Waterloo Station.

It was only when we were having a meeting with one of our most significant clients, fabric, that Andy and I started to realise the huge impact that the fire and terrorist activities were having on licensed premises. The guys at fabric were telling me that they have had 24 hour, 7 days a week security at the premises ever since the Bali bombing, and are acutely conscious that they provide a potential target for the ongoing terrorist threat. This is not something that operators of mine and Andy have had to deal with until relatively recently. It brought this into sharp focus when I looked at the operating manual for fabric and saw the security measures that have been put in place, not just for trading nights, but to ensure that the premises are maintained as a safe environment.

I was then talking to the managing director of Arc Inspirations, Martin Wolstencroft, and he was telling me of the profound effect the Manchester bomb had had on their staff. Their Banyan premises are very close to the site of the Arena bombing and the immediate aftermath was felt first hand by their fantastic staff. Martin and Anni were on the way over to give their staff the support they needed after dealing with circumstances they would have never envisaged having to deal with until that night. I know that Anna’s clients at the Manchester235 Casino also helped many of the walking wounded who ended up at their premises as they fled that attack. Continue reading Terrible atrocities in the UK have a bearing on licensed premises

Posted on

Are personal licences fit for purpose?

The good old days of the Transfer Sessions at the Magistrates’ Court…12 protection orders, 8 transfers, 2 new grants, a section 20 consent for structural alterations and 3 final orders…then off for a nice fat lunch on Greek Street.

The fitness and propriety test to hold a justices licence…let me see if I can remember? The marvellous 5 minutes of coaching with your client as to who you could not sell alcohol to. Try and get listed 4th or 5th so your client could listen to the same questions over and over again to hone their answers. “Not to serve to children or known prostitutes and police officers in uniform.” You will do….licence granted.

What happened if your client wasn’t proficient in English? Easily sorted (and this happened in Leeds)…if I am smiling at you when I ask you the question the answer is yes…if I am frowning at you then the answer is no. Perfect, licence granted for a new Italian restaurant.

In truth it was all a bit of slapstick but not really a test of the fitness and propriety to hold a licence.

What’s this they say…the Licensing Act. Let us split the licensing system in two and have a premises licence and a portable personal licence. Interesting, and should have been a huge improvement. Notice SHOULD.

It was a golden opportunity but in real terms has not delivered what it could have done.

The system:

Applying for a new licence, if you are 18+, have no relevant convictions and have passed an accredited course then you get a licence. No discretion, the authority has to grant the licence. This then gives you the ability to become a designated premises supervisor and authorise the sale of alcohol.

On the whole this is a system that works well for a properly resourced operator, but issues are increasing with the unscrupulous operator, often in the off trade.

A recent example involved a new premise licence application I have been made aware of for a shop. It was suggested that a personal licence course was taken at the DPS’ house, the exam was passed and the fee was paid. The applicant was told that their personal licence would be sorted out with the Licensing Authority.

It was suggested that the course and exam had been carried out by an accredited trainer from an accredited company. The awarding body has been contacted and they conducted a site visit at the registered office of the training company. They were notified that they had delivered the course because ‘the operator was desperate’. He was then asked if he held any files on attendees for the courses he ran, he said he had none and does not keep them.

The awarding body is now conducting a full investigation and there is a strong likelihood that the organisation will now lose its accreditation.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have come across a situation like this and I have some real concerns about the number of false certificates being issued to allow a personal licence to be granted. I had a very similar example to this when I was representing the London Borough of Newham on a Licensing Act appeal against a revocation. In this case the DPS and Premises Licence Holder had such a poor grasp of English that the Judge found a real inability to promote the Licensing Objectives and we found that the personal licence had been granted after a training certificate had been provided suggesting the DPS had passed the exam in his first language with the aid of a translator. Again, it transpired that the qualification had been fraudulently acquired and the training centre lost its accreditation.

We have just received information about another fraudulent case. During a licence enforcement visit/compliance check at some problem premises it became apparent that the premises licence holder and DPS understood very little English, if any. All conversations were through a relative and when he was asked to explain the conditions on his premises licence and where he got his training from for his personal licence he could not answer. The enforcement officers then telephoned the training provider shown on his certificate and expressed a view regarding his serous lack of English, and his inability to read English and asked in those circumstances how did he complete the course and exam. The answer given was that he had an interpreter present to help him with the course and the examination, which is classed as a ‘reasonable adjustment’.

The awarding body was contacted to ask the question about the use of interpreters during the courses and examinations and they confirmed that this is not allowed and pointed to their codes of practice.

This appears to be happening far too often and the results are only coming to light when problems are exhibited at premises. Maybe we haven’t moved any further on with the Personal Licence regime than the old days of smiling and frowning when asking questions of your lovely Italian chef client, who, by the way is still knocking out fantastic authentic Italian food and a lovely glass of red 20 years later!

Posted on

Compliance Training – Luxury or Necessity?

The obvious answer is, of course, a necessity but invariably, in my experience, many operators at best pay lip service to this type of training and at worst ignore it entirely.

Having worked in the service and hospitality industry all of my adult life and been a multiple site operator I understand why compliance training tends to take a back seat to mandatory training such as personal licences but for so many reasons it shouldn’t.

The situation is not helped by government guidance which is a little vague to say the least. For instance regarding Food Hygiene training the Food Standards Agency advice is:

Food business operators are required by law, to ensure that food handlers receive appropriate supervision and instruction/training in food hygiene in line with their work activity and should enable them to handle food safely.

In the UK, food handlers don't have to hold a food hygiene certificate to prepare or sell food, although many food businesses will prefer that they do. The necessary skills may be obtained through on-the-job training, self-study or relevant prior experience.

UK food hygiene certificates don't have an expiry date. It is left to the discretion of the food business operator or environmental health officer to decide whether a refresher course is needed. This may be a result of changes to legislation or technological developments in food hygiene.

Not exactly the most assertive advice and certainly not written in a manner that would indicate the serious consequences that can ensue if staff are not trained properly and something goes wrong. These are:

For an individual

Maximum: when tried on a formal charge (indictment):

  • Unlimited fine and /or 2 years’ custody when tried summarily

For offences under The General Food Regulations:

The maximum when tried summarily is an unlimited fine and/or 6 months’ custody

For an Organisation.

Maximum: when tried on a formal charge (indictment):

·         Unlimited fine

 When tried summarily the penalty is an unlimited fine and the offence range is £100 fine – £3 million fine.

These are only the possible legal punishments for breaching food hygiene laws and don’t take into account the long term damage to your business from the ensuing publicity that follows a prosecution.

Food hygiene prosecutions range from breaches found during inspections by a licensed food safety officer (from the local authority in which your business is located) to investigation after a complaint for poisoning or allergic reaction. Allergic reaction is now a common headline and does not just happen to small takeaways. Jamie's Italian - Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant chain - was fined £8,500 after one branch served wheat pasta to a woman who had told three members of staff that she had a wheat allergy. She was violently sick after visiting the restaurant and suffered a massive allergic reaction.

First Aid is also an area of legislation that is at times a little unclear as to what is required of the operator.

HSE Guidance:

How many first-aiders are needed?

The findings of an employer's first-aid needs assessment will help them decide how many first-aiders are required. There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers and all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace should be taken into account.

Who is an appointed person?

When an employer's first-aid needs assessment indicates that a first-aider is unnecessary, the minimum requirement is to appoint a person to take charge of first-aid arrangements. The roles of this appointed person include looking after the first-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. They can also provide emergency cover, within their role and competence, where a first-aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances (annual leave does not count).

Do appointed persons need to undertake first-aid training?

To fulfil their role, appointed persons do not need first-aid training. However, emergency first-aid training courses are available.

Once again the government guidance doesn’t exactly indicate the issues that can arise for a business if staff don’t know what to do in an emergency.

These are only two examples of Health and safety legislation that affect the hospitality trade but others including fire safety follow the same basic ethos of self assessment by safety audit. This means the responsibility is yours to ensure that your staff and customers are safe. Not only from a commercial business perspective but I would suggest that purely from a moral point of view these responsibilities should be taken seriously. The people they are designed to protect are your Mum, Dad, wife, husband or child.

Training is the best means of ensuring that you steer clear of any breaches of HS legislation and the swingeing fines and possible imprisonment and more importantly you don’t have to live with a potential injury or worse on your conscience because you tried to save a couple of pennies.

The Importance of Compliance Training – Protecting Your Company

Compliance Training is essential to ensuring your employees are educated on the laws, regulations and your internal company policies within your business.

The importance of compliance training cannot be overstated, however, since adherence to all applicable laws and regulations that concern your business is absolutely vital.

In more recent years companies have started recognising the importance of compliance training and have started addressing the issue by creating training plans to cover this.

To talk to someone who can give you practical advice on what is appropriate for your business in relation to compliance training, please give the Innpacked Team a call on 08000 786056.

Please see our next dates in the Leeds area for Personal Licence courses:

Course ID Date of Course Course Area Company ID Course Status
36890 20/04/2017 Leeds Innpacked Available
36891 18/05/2017 Leeds Innpacked Available
36892 22/06/2017 Leeds Innpacked Available
36893 20/07/2017 Leeds Innpacked Available
36894 17/08/2017 Leeds Innpacked Available
36895 21/09/2017 Leeds Innpacked Available
36896 19/10/2017 Leeds Innpacked Available
36897 16/11/2017 Leeds Innpacked Available
36898 21/12/2017 Leeds Innpacked Available


Posted on

Woods Whur & Innpacked

We are delighted that our relationship with Innpacked is still going strong. Our clients are benefiting from our hook up with them and many are 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.

Latest dates for Leeds APLH courses are as follows:

  • 20 April 2017
  • 18 May 2017
  • 22 June 2017

If you need to book anyone on these courses during the summer months please contact or you can call her on 0800 078 6056.

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

or for the whole suit of courses on:

Posted on

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.

Latest dates for Leeds NCPLH courses are as follows:

  Course ID 

  Date of Course 

  Course Area 

  Company ID 

  Course Status 
















If you need to book anyone on these courses during the summer months please contact or you can call her on 0800 078 6056.

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

or for the whole suit of courses on:

or email us direct on: