Club premises certificate

The Licensing Act 2003 recognised that volunteer and social clubs gives rise to different issues in licensing law to those that arise in commercially run places that sell alcohol direct to the public.

These clubs are generally organisations where members join together for a particular social, sporting or political purpose and then combine to purchase alcohol in bulk for members of the club. Access by the public to the club is restricted and alcohol is sold other than for profit

The grant of a club premises certificate means that a club is entitled to certain benefits, which include the authority to supply alcohol to its members and sell it to guests without the need for any member or employee to hold a personal licence, and the absence of a requirement to specify a designated premises' supervisor. There are more limited rights of entry for the police and other authorised persons, as the premises are considered private and not generally open to the public.

How do I apply?

You submit an application to the Licensing Department. With the application form you need to attach all relevant documentation. Copies of the application and accompanying documentation must also be sent to the Responsible Authorities on the same day the application is submitted to us. Applications must also be advertised to allow other persons to be able to make representations to the Licensing Department.

Fill in our request a licensing application form and select our 'club premises certificate' form required to complete your application.

Qualifying clubs

To be classed as a qualifying club to be able to sell and supply alcohol and conduct qualifying activities a number of conditions must be met:

  • Under the rules of the club, persons may not be admitted to membership, or be admitted, as candidates for membership, to any of the privileges of membership without an interval of at least two days between their nomination for membership and their admission
  • That under the rules of the club, those becoming members without prior nomination or application may not be admitted to the privileges of membership without an interval of at least two days between their becoming members and their admission
  • That the club is established and conducted in good faith as a club
  • That the club has at least 25 members
  • That alcohol is not supplied to members on the premises otherwise than by or on behalf of the club

To qualify as a club authorised to supply alcohol to its members and guests theses additional conditions must be met:

  • The purchase and supply of alcohol by and for the club is managed by a committee made up of elected members of the club all aged over 18 years
  • No arrangements may be made for any person to receive any commission, percentage or similar payment at the expense of the club with reference to purchases of alcohol by the club
  • No arrangements may be made for any person to derive directly or indirectly any monetary benefit from the supply of alcohol to members or guests apart from to benefit the club as a whole or any indirect benefit a person derives by reason of the supply contributing to a general gain for the club as a whole

Qualifying activities

A Club Premises Certificate may authorise the conduct of the following qualifying activities:

  • The supply of alcohol by or on behalf of the club to, or to the order of, members of the club 
  • The sale by retail of alcohol by or on behalf of the club to a guest of a member of the club for consumption on the premises where the sale takes place
  • The provision of regulated entertainment (where that provision is by or on behalf of a club for members of the club or members of the club and their guests)

However, you will have to specify in the club operating schedule the qualifying activities to which the application relates.

When applying for a Club Premises Certificate, you need to submit:

  • a plan of the building
  • an Operating Schedule (a brief description of how the premises will be operated safely)
  • the correct fee.

The process following the advertisement

Where all the requirements relating to the application have been met, and no relevant representations are made, the Licensing Department must grant the certificate in accordance with the application, subject only to any conditions which are consistent with the club operating schedule and any mandatory conditions.

If relevant representations are received, the Licensing Department must convene a hearing (unless parties agree that this is unnecessary), to consider the representations and, having regard to them, take one of a number of possible steps according  to what it considers necessary for the promotion of the licensing objectives. This may result in:

  • the rejection of the application
  • the exclusion of a qualifying club activity or;
  • granting of the certificate, subject to mandatory conditions or conditions which are consistent with the club operating schedule, modified to such extent as are considered necessary for the promotion of one or more of the licensing objectives.

The club operating schedule

The operating schedule is part of the information you must include which accompanies your application. The operating schedule sets out how the club premises are proposed to operate when licensable activities. The operating schedule must include the following information:

  • the qualifying club activities to which the application relates
  • the proposed hours of those activities and any other times during which it is proposed that the premises are to be open to the public
  • the duration of the licence (if it is to have a fixed term)
  • where the relevant qualifying club activities include the supply of alcohol, whether the supplies are for consumption on and/or off premises
  • the steps which it is proposed to take to promote the licensing objectives

If your application for a Club Certificate is granted the operating schedule will be incorporated in to the Certificate itself as it sets out the permitted activities and any limitations on those activities.

Club premises plans

A plan of the club premises will need to be submitted with every application for a Club Premises Certificate. The plan will need to be drawn in standard scale where one millimetre represents 100 millimetres, unless you have previously agreed with the Licensing Department that another scale is acceptable. You will need to describe any areas which you intend to provide for people to consume alcohol that you intend to supply under the general description of the premises.  The plan must be outlined in red where the licensable activities are to take place.

The plan can also to show:

  • the boundary of the building, if relevant, any external and internal walls of the building and, if different, the perimeter of the premises
  • points of access and exits from the premises, and the location of escape routes
  • fixed structures (including furniture) or similar objects temporarily in a fixed location (but not furniture) which mat impact on exits or escape routes
  • the location and height of any stage or raised area relative to the floor
  • any steps, elevators or lifts
  • any rooms containing public conveniences
  • the location and type of any fire safety and other safety equipment, including, if applicable marine safety equipment
  • the location of a kitchen, if any, on the premises
  • where the premise is to be used for more than one licensable activity, the area within the premises used for each activity

How long does a club premises certificate last?

Unless otherwise requested in your application your Club Premises Certificate will have no time limit and will continue to have effect unless it is withdrawn by the Licensing Department following an application for the review of the Certificate, if the club ceases to be a qualifying club or it lapses on surrender by the club.

Once a Premises Certificate has been granted you are required to pay the annual fee. The Policed Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 made amendments to the Licensing Act 2003 to give the Licensing Department the power to suspend a Premises Certificate if the annual fee is not paid when due. If the Licensing Department issues you with a suspension notice for none payment of the annual fee the suspension will remain in place until the fee is paid meaning you will not be able to conduct licensable activities on the premises. 

Could I apply for a premises licence instead of a club premises certificate?

It is for the club to determine whether the activities it wishes to undertake would be better served by a Premises Licence. In some circumstances a qualifying club may decide that it wishes to have both types of authorisation.

Will we be able to sell or supply alcohol to under 18's in the club?

Under the Licensing Act 2003 a club will commit an offence if alcohol is supplied by it, or on its behalf, to a member of the club who is under 18, or to the order of a member of a club, to a person who is under 18. Also, a person (e.g. a member of or employee at the club) will commit an offence if he supplies alcohol to a member of a club who is under 18, or to the order of a member of a club, to a person who is under 18.

Will door supervisors have to be licensed by the security industry authority?

No. If a qualifying club under the authorisation of a club premises certificate decides to have door supervisors for a particular event there is no mandatory condition in the Licensing Act 2003 that states they will have to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority.

Last Updated on Wednesday, May 8, 2024