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A personal licence is granted to an individual and authorises that person to supply alcohol from establishments with a premises licence.

An individual may hold only one personal licence at any one time.

All premises carrying out licensable activities must have a premises licence or club premises certificate. If a premises licence authorises the supply of alcohol it is a requirement that there is a Designated Premises Supervisor, who must be a personal licence holder. Community premises are the exception (see separate guidance).

The licensing of individuals separately from the licensing of premises permits the movement of personal licence holders from one premises to another, allowing greater flexibility.

A Personal Licence is not required for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN).

Recent changes to the 2003 act have been introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015. From 01 April 2015, personal licences are now granted indefinitely with no expiry date. Equally, if you hold an existing personal licence - this remains valid indefinitely and the expiry date should be disregarded. Should you wish to update your licence to remove the expiry date a fee will be charged.

If you move house or job you do not have to move your licence to another local authority. However, you do have to notify the local authority which issued your personal licence of any changes to your name or address. 

Eligibility criteria

Applicants for personal licences must be over 18 years old and will need to obtain an accredited qualification first or be a 'person of prescribed description'.

The aim of the qualification is to ensure that licence holders are aware of licensing law and the wider social responsibilities attached to the sale of alcohol. Personal licence qualification providers are accredited by the Secretary of State.

You will find help and advice on qualifications in the Personal Licence Guidance Notes (see below).

Persons of prescribed description are currently the Master Vintners, persons licensed by the Board of Green Cloth and persons licensed by the University of Cambridge. If you are a person of a prescribed description, you must include evidence of this with your application.

Regulation summary

The powers to regulate and issue licences is contained in the Licensing Act 2003 (external link to the National Archives website). Gov.uk has more information on personal licences.

Application evaluation process

Portsmouth City Council will grant the licence if:

  • the applicant is aged 18 or over
  • they possess a licensing qualification or are a person of a prescribed description
  • no personal licence held by them has been forfeited in the period of five years ending with the day the application was made, and
  • they have not been convicted of any relevant offence or any foreign offence.

Tacit consent will not apply.

Applying for a personal licence

Requirements for an application are:

  1. Completed application form.
  2. Declaration of Convictions.
  3. National Certificate Level II for Personal Licence Holders.
  4. Criminal conviction certificate or a criminal record certificate or the results of a subject search of the police national computer by the National Intelligence Service. A basic check which will contain details of conviction and conditional cautions that are considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. The DBS provides this service if you are living or working in England and Wales. An application for a basic check with DBS can be made through a "Responsible Organisation" who have been registered to submit the check. 
    The results of these disclosures must be issued no earlier than one month before the application is given.
  5. Two photographs which must be:
    (a)  taken against a light background so that the applicant’s features are distinguishable and contrast against the background, 
    (b)  45 millimetres by 35 millimetres, 
    (c)  full face uncovered and without sunglasses and, unless the applicant wears a head covering due to his religious beliefs, without a head covering, 
    (d)  on photographic paper, and 
    (e)  one endorsed on the back by 
         (i)  the chief executive of the licensing justices for the relevant Licensing Authority
         (ii)  a solicitor or notary
         (iii)  a person of standing in the community; or 
         (iv)  an individual with a professional qualification.
  6. Requirement to provide proof that you are entitled to live and work in the UK as set out in the Immigration Act 2016

Apply by:

  • downloading the attached form and sending together with any required supporting documents to the postal address below; or
  • submitting an on-line application and disclosure of convictions.

Email licensing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or post to Portsmouth City Council Licensing service, Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL

Failed application redress or Licence holder redress

Please contact the council in the first instance. Email licensing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or call 023 9283 4607

Consumer complaint

In the event of a complaint, we advise you to make the first contact with the trader - preferably by letter (with proof of delivery).  If that does not work, Advice guide will give you advice. From outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Public Register

Follow the link to View the public register.

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