September 2013 – Liquor training courses The Personal Licence (Training)(Scotland) Regulations 2013 (“the 2013 Regulations”)

Author: Brian
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The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 makes provision for the issue of “personal licences” to individuals so that they are permitted to supervise or authorise the sale of alcohol. The 2013 Regulations make new provision about the training that has to be undertaken by personal licence holders. They come into force on 8th October 2013.


Something is said about these new provisions at the end of his Note.  But what is said needs to be seen in its proper context. So much of this Note is taken up with the general background to personal licences.


It has to be said that there is a somewhat bewildering array of inter-connecting “Regulations” involved here. Most of these are at least mentioned below.


The general background


Anyone 18 or over may apply for a personal licence to a Licensing Board (usually it will be to the Licensing Board for the area where they are “ordinarily resident”).


When the Licensing Board receive an application, they give notice of it  to the chief constable. He must, within 21 days, respond by giving the Licensing Board either:


  • a notice stating that (as far as the chief constable is aware) the applicant has not been convicted of any relevant offence, or
  • a notice specifying any convictions of the applicant for any such offence.


The chief constable may include in the notice a recommendation that the application be refused (if he has proper reasons for making that recommendation).


Unless the Board has received notice from the chief constable as to relevant convictions, the Board must grant the application if all of the following are satisfied:

  • the applicant is 18 or over;
  • the applicant does not already hold a personal licence;
  • that no personal licence held by the applicant has been revoked within the last five years;
  • that they have received from the chief constable a notice saying the applicant has not been convicted of any relevant offence;
  • that the notice from the chief constable does not include any recommendation that the application be refused;
  • the applicant has signed the application; and
  • the applicant possesses a “licensing qualification”: something more is said about this particular requirement under a separate heading below.


If the chief constable gives notice of any relevant conviction this does not mean no licence will be granted. But it does mean that the Board will have to have a hearing to decide the matter. (Provision is also made to cover the case where, between the making of a personal licence application and the determination of the application, the applicant is convicted of a relevant offence.)


In general a personal licence lasts for 10 years from the date it is issued and may be extended for a further period of 10 years if a personal licence renewal application is granted. The Licensing Board must give three months’ notice to the licence holder that the licence will cease to have effect on the expiry date unless renewed.


Applicant must possess a licensing qualification


  • As mentioned above, one of the pre-conditions for the issue of a personal licence is that the applicant possesses a licensing qualification.


  • A “licensing qualification” means (In terms of section 91 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Licensing Qualification (Scotland) Regulations 2007) a qualification which has been accredited by Scottish Ministers. Broadly speaking this means a course accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (“the SQA”).




  • This is what the SQA has to say about licensing qualifications:


“Anyone applying to a local authority to become a Personal Licence Holder must have achieved a relevant qualification and SQA’s Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders satisfies this requirement.


In addition, Personal Licence Holders must provide evidence to their licensing board of undertaking refresher training within five years of their licence being issued …”


  • The 2013 Regulations (with which this Note is ultimately concerned) covers the question of the refresher training referred to here.


  • Other matters are also covered in the Personal Licence (Scotland) Regulations 2007. In particular, these regulations also set out the form for a personal licence and for applications for the grant and renewal of such a licence.


Staff training


  • This is covered by the Licensing (Training of Staff) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 which provide that any person selling or serving alcohol in licensed premises must have received at least 2 hours’ training either from a personal licence holder or a person holding a recognised qualification. The training has to cover the matters specified in a Schedule to the Regulations.


  • The SQA website comments:


“All staff who sell or serve alcohol in either on or off-sales businesses must undergo two hours mandatory training. SQA’s Scottish Certificate for Safe Sale and Service of Alcohol is a reliable method of ensuring that all employees receive their compulsory training on alcohol licensing legislation before they start work.”


The 2013 Regulations


After all that we turn to the Regulations.


  • Broadly speaking they cover the refresher training which a licence holder needs to undertake every five years. In particular, they prescribe how evidence of compliance with the training requirements is to be demonstrated and submitted by the personal licence holder and makes provision for those requirements to be provided electronically.


  • The evidence of compliance with the training requirements to be undertaken by a personal licence holder must:


consist of the original or copy of the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (Refresher) at SCQF 1 Level 6; and


be accompanied by the personal licence holder’s (i) full name; (ii) address; (iii) date of birth; and (iv) licence number.


  • The reference to the “licence number” means the licence number contained in the personal licence issued under the Personal Licence (Scotland) Regulations 2007.


  • The reference to “writing” includes “electronic communication” which is defined as meaning “a communication transmitted (whether from one person to another, from one device to another or from a person to a device or vice versa) either:


by means of an electronic communications network; or


by other means but while in an electronic form.”

Note: This material is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by us. You should not rely upon it in making any decisions or taking or refraining from taking any action. If you would like us to advise you on any of the matters covered in this material, please contact Paul Neilly:   


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