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The Licensing Act 2003 states that if you plan to serve alcohol on licensed premises (excluding clubs licensed under Club Premises Certificates), then you must have a designated premises supervisor (DPS) appointed.  In order to become a DPS, you must have a personal licence.  This is the same for all premises, so applies in exactly the same way to pubs, restaurants, cafes, event spaces, off licences, hair salons and absolutely any licensed venue that wishes to conduct the sale of alcohol on/off the premises (excluding clubs).

So, what is a personal licence, and why do I need one?

If you want to provide your customers with alcoholic drinks on your premises (or to take off the premises) in any way, or to have your staff serve alcohol, you or someone on your staff need to be appointed DPS, and all sales need to be authorised by a personal licence holder.

A personal licence permits the holder to authorise others (e.g. other staff) to sell or supply alcohol on any licensed premises. The licence is intended to ensure the professional and legal sale of alcohol by businesses. Section 135 of the Licensing Act 2003 provides that a personal licence on a premises where they are authorising sales must, when prompted by a constable or authorised officer (usually the Police), produce their personal licence.  Failure to do this could result in a personal fine of up to £500.  So once you have it, and when you are using it, make sure you carry it.

How do I obtain a personal licence?

By law, before applying for a personal licence, you must first have obtained a relevant licencing qualification, for example the HABC Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) which we offer. The course is designed to ensure that as a personal licence holder you would be aware of and understand licensing law, and the responsibilities involved with the sale of alcohol.

The topics covered by this course include:

  • The Licensing Act 2003
  • Premises Licenses and Club Premises Certificates
  • Licensing Objectives
  • Powers of Enforcement and Offences
  • Temporary Events Notices (TENs)
  • Responsibility in Alcohol Retailing

You will also need to disclose any relevant criminal convictions to your local council to allow them to assess your suitability as a licensee with a basic criminal disclosure form.

Where can I do my personal licence training course?

Mincoffs Training is fully accredited by Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance and can offer training courses from our training centre in Jesmond, Newcastle, and at venues in Sunderland, Durham and Teesside.

At Mincoffs we offer regular HABC Level 2 APLH courses at our training centre and, subject to numbers, we can provide training at your premises. The full day training course is £120 + VAT, including course materials, a sandwich lunch, refreshments and exam. A free re-sit of the exam is available if required.

For an additional £125 plus VAT and the application fee of £37, we can also apply for your personal licence (please note: this fee does not include a criminal record check). If you notify us in advance of the training, we can complete the forms when you attend your training course.

All of our training courses are delivered by Training Consultant Tim Robson, a former Licensing Sergeant in Durham Constabulary.

Find out more:

To find out more about the Mincoffs Training Advanced Personal Licence Holder training courses, or any of our other training courses for licensed trade professionals please contact Matt Foster, Partner and Head of Licensing and Gaming at Mincoffs on 0191 212 8031 or email

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