STATES MEMBERS BRIEFING
JHA views on the proposed Draft Liquor Licensing (Jersey) Law 201- (P.103/2017)
1. We don’t believe the Licensing Authority is diverse enough. With seven States Members, it will be too politically motivated. We want to see more diversity on the panel, including police officers, health professionals and JHA members representing the industry.
2. There is no definition of categories, which is a fundamental part of reform because the current system is complex, out of date and acts as a barrier to investment. We suggest a simple ‘on-licence’ and ‘off-licence’ system, as exists in the UK.
3. We want a simple system which doesn’t oblige applicants to hire lawyers to represent them. The application process should be more ‘user-friendly’ and consultative, involving the parish and licensing police. We recommend a court-free application approval process followed by a 12-month period of observation. If the applicant reneged on their obligations, that would be the time for court.
4. We recommend that all licensed managers must hold a licence and go through a formal certification process in order to gain this licence. We recommend that during times of absence, a licensed manager can pass responsibility through a digital system to another employee with a valid licence. This would remove unnecessary paperwork for the parishes and update responsible manager information instantly. This certification process could replace the current licensed manager process of going to court. It would give confidence to the licensing police that the people responsible were trained and educated in the business and should a manager violate the laws, points could be put on this licence like a driving licence or removed entirely. The JHA would support and possibly deliver the formal training classes for these licences. We believe that anyone who holds the responsibility of a licensed venue’s associated manager should have formal certification and responsible alcohol sales training.
4. We support the removal of the Jurats from the licensing process, not least because they could also judge on a licensee in a criminal case.
5. We support greater consultation at the parish level.
6. We believe the proposed law failed to adequately simplify what has become a very complicated process. Currently, the process could involve the Bailiff’s Chambers, Trading Standards, the Licensing Bench, parishes, the police, HSSD, Customs, Fire, Planning, and
Treasury. We appreciate that different agencies have to be involved but the process must be more user-friendly. We support the digitisation of the licensing process, including licence renewal (which could be done automatically if the terms of the licence have not changed) and policing. In 2018, we think the police should have a digital record of an establishment’s licences, rather than having to inspect what is printed over the door and displayed on the wall. We believe this is compatible with aims of the States’ eGov project.
7. We would like to see clarity on the annual entertainment permit (P.49), which is issued by the Bailiff’s Chambers and not covered in P.54. There is also the need for a licence under the Places of Refreshment (Jersey) Law 1967, which is administered by Trading Standards. Again, this is not covered by P.54. There needs to be a much simpler system in place.
8. The JHA is concerned at the lack of detail about fees. How will our members be charged? We want equality between the off-trade and the on-trade. How is it fair that an off-trade licensee like Waitrose can offer special offers on alcohol but an on-trade licensee cannot? The current disparity encourages ‘pre-loading’ and drinking at home. The JHA supports a vibrant and well-policed night-time economy.
9. There is no mention of training in P.54. The JHA supports certified training for licensed owners and managers (including stand-in managers) and is keen to work with the States to implement it.
10. We support the increased frequency of licence application hearings
11. We believe that the Licencing Police should have more formal decision-making powers over a licence application; rather than an advisory role.
12. The law fails to address the disparity between fees. Why, for instance, does a hotel pay more for an alcohol licence than a nightclub, when the latter sells far more drinks?