17 May 2013
Alcohol law changes will affect Special Licences
Local authorities are going to need longer to process Special Licence applications under alcohol law changes that come into effect next month.
The Gore District Council's Licensing Inspector Frances Shepherd said changes to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 mean that from 18 June all applications for a Special Licence must be lodged at least 20 working days before the event.
Special Licences are required for the sale of alcohol at special occasions. They are often used to licence one-off events where no licence is currently held, and sometimes to extend the hours and/or area of a licenced premises.
Agencies have 15 days to respond
Mrs Shepherd said the Council must now also send a copy of the application to the Medical Officer of Health as well as the police, and they have 15 working days to respond.
If the full 15 days are used, this leaves only five days for Council staff to receive, consider and process the application.
"Up until now, the Council has been able to issue Special Licences within a week or two of an application being received. Generally, applications received in less than 20 days of the event have been able to be accommodated but this may be much more difficult under the new rules."
Plan early to apply for a licence
Mrs Shepherd urged anyone requiring a Special Licence to ensure their application was lodged at least 20 days before the start of their event. Even earlier would assist with the timely processing of applications.
Special Licence application forms and the details required have not changed. However, the Medical Officer of Health will be particularly interested in provisions around host responsibility so it will be important for the applicant to clearly set out the controls and arrangements they will have in place, she said.
"Council staff are happy to assist by providing information, signage and host responsibility policies."