Types of Licence

Whether or not you will need to gain a licence to hold your event depends upon the activities you plan to include; however, in most cases a Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice (TEN) will be required. Many venues will already hold a Premises Licence, so you should check this. The Licensing Act 2003 covers entertainment and the sale of alcohol; however you may require more than one licence or permission for your event to go ahead.

Follow the link in the left hand panel for the relevant application forms.

Licensing Act 2003 Explained

If the event includes Regulated Entertainment and/or other licensable activity, including the Sale of Alcohol and the provision of Late Night Refreshment, you will need to obtain either a Premises Licence or submit a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). If the venue does not already have a Premises Licence, the scale of your event will dictate what sort of licence is most suitable.

Regulated Entertainment

Regulated entertainment is defined as:

  • the performance of a play
  • an exhibition of a film
  • an indoor sporting event
  • boxing or wrestling entertainment
  • a performance of live music
  • any playing of recorded music
  • a performance of dance
  • or entertainment of a similar description to live music, recorded music or dance

With some exceptions, these activities will be defined as licensable if you have an audience and the event is not private.

If your event includes any of the above activities, then a Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice (TEN) will be required for your event to take place.

Sale of Alcohol

The sale of alcohol and the provision of late night refreshments (the supply of hot food or hot drink between 23:00 and 05:00) are defined as licensable activities. If alcohol and/or late night refreshments are to be supplied at your event, then a Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice (TEN) will be required. Please contact the Licensing Office of the relevant local authority for guidance on their application process.

Where a Premises Licence is being used, a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) is required to authorise all sales of alcohol at the event. This person must be a Personal Licence holder.

In the case of a TEN, the applicant is responsible for all sales of alcohol at the event.

Late Night Refreshment

Late Night Refreshment is the provision of hot food and drink between the hours of 23:00 and 05:00, made available for sale, or at no charge, to both the general public and staff or contractors.

Premises Licence

Premises Licences are required for licensable events:

  • With a capacity of over 499 people at any one time
  • That will run for an extended period (over 96 hours)

A premises licence is granted in relation to a specific venue, which may be indoor or outdoor. For a Premises Licence to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the responsible authorities and any other interested parties (e.g. local residents or local business owners) that the premises will be run responsibly and in accordance with the licensing objectives. If the actions planned in the Premises Licence application do not satisfy all interested parties the Premises Licence may have conditions applied to it, or it may not be granted at all. Conditions and refusals can in some cases be appealed.

Premises Licence applications are complex and can take months to finalise. This should be taken into account when planning your event. Advice on timescales should be sought from the local authority you are applying to; however, applications should be made a minimum of 6 months prior to the event date.

Temporary Event Notice (TEN)

TENs are most suitable for licensable events:

  • With a capacity of 499 at any one time or fewer
  • That will run for an for no longer than 96 hours

TENs are specifically designed with smaller, low impact events in mind and as such, are relatively simple notifications to make. TENs must be submitted to both the Local Authority and the chief officer of Police (via the Police Licensing office) for the area that the venue is situated. TENs must be submitted no less than ten working days before the event (not including the day of submission or the day of the event). The police are the only body authorised to raise objections to a TEN.

Please note, further limitations apply.

Follow the link in the panel to the left for the current Temporary Event Notice form.

Personal Licence

A Personal Licence enables individuals to supply, or to authorise the supply of alcohol on a premises which is authorised for the supply of alcohol through a Premises Licence.

In the case of a Premises Licence, a Personal Licence holder is required to be named as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) to authorise all sales of alcohol on that Premises.

PRS for Music & PPL Licences

If your event involves the playing of copyrighted music, pre-recorded or being performed live, you will in most cases, also need to obtain licences through both PRS for Music (formerly known as the Performing Rights Society) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL). These licences are a legal requirement and should be obtained prior to the event taking place.
PRS for Music licences the public performance of original musical works however performed (live or otherwise) on behalf of the composers, writers and publishers of music. 
PPL is an entirely separate organisation which licences the public performance of sound recordings on behalf of record companies and the musicians on the recording.

Street Collections Permit

A Street Collections Permit is required to authorise the collection of money or the sale of goods for charitable purposes in a public place. It is an offence to conduct collections without a permit. In London, Street Collections Permits are issued by the Commissioner of Police.