The Act sets out two categories of organisations and individuals (“responsible authorities” and “interested parties”) which may make representations in respect of an application having regard to the licensing objectives.
Responsible authorities are public bodies that must be notified of applications and that are entitled to make representations to the licensing authority in relation to applications for, and in relation to, premises licences.
Section 157 of the Act identifies the bodies that are to be treated as responsible authorities. They are:
a. a licensing authority in England and Wales in whose area the premises is wholly/partly situated;
b. the Gambling Commission;
c. the Chief Officer of Police for the area in which the premises is wholly or partially situated;
d. the fire and rescue authority for the same area;
e. the local planning authority;
f. an authority which has functions in relation to pollution to the environment or harm to human health;
g. anybody, designated in writing by the licensing authority as competent to advise about the protection of children from harm;
h. HM Revenue & Customs; and
i. any other person prescribed in regulations by the Secretary of State.
Also, in relation to a vessel, but no other premises, responsible authorities will also include navigation authorities within the meaning of section 221(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 that would include:
j. the Environment Agency;
k. the British Waterways Board; and
l. the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
The Act contains a similar list of responsible authorities to that contained within the Licensing Act 2003, despite the lack of the corresponding licensing objective of public safety. The result the Act aims to achieve through the inclusion of a wide range of responsible authorities is one where all relevant regulatory bodies and organisations are made aware of the applications for gambling premises licences or other permissions. In many instances comments that responsible authorities make will be relevant to the licensing authority’s determination.
Equally, in some cases, representations may not relate to matters that lead to the licensing authority refusing a premises licence. However, a policy of wide dissemination of applications allows responsible authorities to take action under their own legislation and enforcement powers, even if there is no direct role for them in the gambling licence process. The Act contains no obligation on responsible authorities to respond to applications for premises licences if they do not wish to do so.
To accept a representation from an interested party, the licensing authority must take the view that the person:
a. lives sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by the authorised activities; or
b. has business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities; or
c. represents persons in either of these two groups.