01 January 2006

Charity Fundraising - changes to licensing rules


Chris Priestley
Partner | UK

Further provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 (the ‘‘Act’) came into force on 24 November 2005. The Act replaces existing licensing systems and charity fundraisers must be sure to comply with the new regulations as a wide range of activities now require a licence.   There is now a unified system for regulating entertainment which, together with the sale and supply of alcohol and the provision of late night refreshments, are described under the Act as ‘licensable activities’.

What types of entertainment require a licence?

Types of entertainment that require a licence include: performances of plays; exhibitions of films; indoor sporting events; boxing and wrestling matches (whether indoors or outdoors); performances of live music (whatever size the venue), playing recorded music and performances of dance. 

Events only require licences if they take place in the presence of an audience for the purpose of entertaining them.  Events, including charitable events which involve licensable activities and are open to the public require licences whether or not the audience pays for the entertainment. Events which are not open to the public and where no charge is made (except solely to cover costs) and guests are not required to give any money to charity will not require licences.  Church halls, village halls and schools will require Premises Licences to hold events but will not be charged licence fees provided that they do not serve alcohol.  Qualifying members’ clubs can hold events under Club Premises Certificates; these are cheaper than standard Premises Licences. 

Exempt entertainment events

The Act contains exemptions for certain events which do not require a licence including morris dancing, films forming part of an exhibition in museums or art galleries, music incidental to something not considered in itself to be regulated entertainment, live television and radio broadcasts and acts of religious worship.

Temporary event notices

A premises user can hold small-scale events involving regulated activities provided that a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) has been submitted to the licensing authority and police at least 10 working days in advance.   An event held under a TEN must last no longer than 96 hours and no more than 499 people may be involved at any one time. TENs can be given

for any premises, even those already licensed for other purposes.   There are annual limits to the number of TENs an individual may submit and the number of TENs that may be submitted in respect of an individual location.  £21 must be submitted with each TEN.

Applying for a licence

Application forms are available from licensing authorities (usually the local authority responsible for the area in which an event will take place) and on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website. The form includes an ‘operating schedule’ in which an applicant must set out details of the licensable activities that will take place, the venue, the time of day the events will be held, the areas where alcohol will be sold and details of the individual who has a personal licence for the sale of alcohol. Applications for premises licences must be advertised both at the premises and in a local newspaper.

Further information

Guidance on the operation of the new licensing system, including details of fee levels, can be found on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website at:            

http://www.culture.gov.uk/alcohol_and_entertainment/licensin g_act_2003         

Chris Priestley Partner | London

Category: Article