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GOV.UK Licensing Update - Service Extension Confirmed Published Date: 02/07/2024

The Institute of Licensing, along with NALEO, the LGA and other Government Departments, have been actively involved in discussions with the Government Digital Service (GDS) over the future of the licensing system of forms.

Members might be aware that the GDS announced in January 2023 that they “will be extending the existing GOV.UK licensing service for 2 years until the end of March 2025.”

The IoL is acutely aware of the significant impact the withdrawal of the licensing system of forms will have on licensing authorities, licensed trade and private sector acting for the licensed trade.

Through the active engagement by the IoL and other organisations, we are pleased to share the following update (released on 2 July 2024):

“The Cabinet Office is extending the existing GOV.UK Licensing service until the end of March 2026, with GDS continuing to support the service on a best endeavours basis.

“The Cabinet Office is conducting a review on the position on GOV.UK Licensing Service and will explore options as to what will happen at the end of March 2026. The team will continue to work with the Local Government Association and other government departments on the future approach to Licensing. We will keep users regularly updated throughout the process.”

We can also report that a spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has confirmed that the New Burdens Doctrine would apply to the withdrawal of the of the online licensing service, saying:

“Local authorities would suffer a decrease in applications and therefore revenue due to the of the online licensing service.

“The New Burdens Doctrine applies to reductions in existing levels or rates of government grant or subsidies to local government generally which are paid directly or indirectly to local authorities, except where activity by authorities is expected to reduce in proportion, in which case this should be made clear to them.”

Whilst this update and GDS confirmation of the continuation of the licensing system until March 2026 will be welcomed, the IoL and other organisations will continue to actively engage with the GDS on long term future and options for the licensing system.

It is the IoL’s position that a single, central and national system is the preferred option and we will continue to canvass the relevant government departments and national decision makers on this.