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Minister letter to licensing authorities on training and planning Published Date: 15/01/2024

The Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire has written to licensing authorities on the provision of training for licensing practitioners, and the collaboration between local licensing and planning regimes.

In his letter, the Minister wrote:

"As you will undoubtedly appreciate, well considered licensing and planning decisions are vital to ensuring our public spaces can thrive and prosper. These decisions form a crucial part of local endeavours to create safe and welcoming night-time economies. Investing in local economies and public spaces is even more important as we continue the journey of recovery from the unprecedented global pandemic."

"We are all aware that there is more that can be done to make collaboration between the two regimes more effective in order to save problems – and costs – from impacting local resources further down the line. As such, in order to continue to facilitate ongoing discussions, we have further established two small virtual groups with expert stakeholders to enable these conversations to continue."

  • The Minister also commented on other measures the Government will be taking forward:
  • further strengthen the section 182 Guidance that accompanies the Licensing Act 2003 by providing detailed advice on practical ways that local licensing and planning regimes can collaborate;
  • explore how to provide further support for applicants on the importance of early identification of potential difficulties across the two regimes when making a licensing application, including clarification on the agent of change principle and what it means in practical terms for licensing applicants;
  • consider whether the licensing application proforma would benefit from an additional question on potential planning requirements; and
  • continue to explore possible ways of unifying pavement and off-sales licence applications.

On the issue of training, the Minister said:

"We ask that you support this work by ensuring that all relevant local licensing officials have suitable training on matters of licensing and planning, including on the overall regimes and how the two regimes interact. We do not intend to mandate for a minimum standard or mandatory licensing training requirement - all local areas should be able to make their own decisions on what training is most valuable and necessary for their particular local needs, but we do encourage all areas to ensure that their local package is substantive. The Government will continue to support this by disseminating good practice and signposting new and updated training materials produced at a local level."