13.1 Shared regulation depends on effective partnerships and collaboration. The exchange of information between the Commission and licensing authorities is an important aspect of that and to the benefit of both. Licensing authorities play a particular role in sharing information about gambling activity at a local level, which is important for the Commission’s overarching view of gambling activity, not least because that enables the Commission to identify risks and feed information and intelligence back to licensing authorities. It also enables the Commission to fulfil its duty to advise the Secretary of State about the incidence of gambling and the manner in which it is conducted.
13.2 The Commission has access to a wide pool of intelligence which it is able to make available to licensing authorities upon request, to support them in carrying out their regulatory responsibilities under the Act. The Commission understands the importance of this in avoiding the risk of duplication or over-regulation and in maximising the efficient use of resources. In a similar manner, the Commission will draw upon the intelligence and insights of its regulatory partners to resolve specific issues. There have been a number of instances where there has been successful joint working to address concerns linked to a particular operator.
13.3 S.29 of the Act entitles the Commission to seek information from licensing authorities, and places an obligation on authorities to comply with its information requests, providing the information is:
13.4 The Act requires licensing authorities to maintain data on premises licences. As part of the application process for a premises licence, applicants will forward notice of the application to the Commission, and licensing authorities should subsequently notify the Commission of the outcome of each application, whether it is granted or refused. The Act also requires licensing authorities to notify the Commission of other matters such as when a licence has lapsed or been surrendered, and the cancellation of certain permits and registrations. Under s.29 of the Act, the Commission has identified further information requirements that it is necessary for licensing authorities to provide, which form part of the licensing authority return.
13.5 It is important that the Commission’s national data set for premises licences is accurate, as it is used for conducting national compliance work. Accuracy also reduces the need for the Commission to request ad hoc information on particular premises from licensing authorities, which is time consuming and resource intensive. The Commission will ask licensing authorities to periodically review the premises register to ensure it is up-to-date.
13.6 The Commission may make observations and representations on the suitability of the applicant for a premises licence or any other aspect of the application. In such cases, the Commission and licensing authority will discuss matters pertaining to the application and the appropriate action to take. More information on the Commission’s role as a responsible authority and its involvement in individual premises licence applications is given in Part 8 of this guidance.
13.7 If, during the course of considering a premises licence application, or at any other time, the licensing authority receives information that causes it to question the suitability of the applicant to hold an operating licence, these concerns should be brought to the attention of the Commission without delay.
13.8 All licensing authorities are required to submit returns to the Commission on an annual basis, providing information on licensed gambling activity and details of compliance and regulatory work undertaken. This includes details of permits and notices issued, premises inspections conducted, and reasons for and outcome of licence reviews. The fees that are charged by licensing authorities are intended to cover the costs of administration which includes the costs of collecting, maintaining and providing data.
13.9 The annual return is included in the Single Data List that has been issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The List is a catalogue of all the data sets that local government must submit in any given year to central government and such organisations as the Commission.
13.10 The returns are an important source of information and can assist both the Commission and licensing authorities in improving their work as risk-based regulators. The returns provide the Commission with details of licensing authority compliance and regulatory work. The Commission analyses and publishes a licensing authority statistics report each year which helps identify risks and prioritise work.
13.11 The Commission will minimise the burden imposed on licensing authorities by keeping its data requests to an absolute minimum. The data requirements will be kept under review to ensure that any data requests have a clear and valid regulatory purpose.
13.12 It is essential that licensing authorities ensure that all returns are completed and submitted to the Commission in a timely manner. The Commission would expect the licensing authority to notify it in the event that it is unable to meet a submission deadline. Failure on behalf of a licensing authority to submit the required information could lead to the escalation of the matter with senior personnel in the licensing authority including the Head of Service and Chief Executive.
Premises licences and provisional statements
Licensing authority has granted / rejected an application for a premises licence or provisional statement
A premises licence has lapsed
Licensing authority has granted or rejected an application to reinstate a premises licence
Licensing authority has granted or rejected an application to transfer or vary a premises licence
A review of a premises licence has been completed and a decision made
A hearing is to be held where the Commission has made a representation
A premises licence has been surrendered / revoked
A club permit application has been granted / rejected
Small society lottery registration
Licensing authority registers a society to operate small lotteries
Licensing authority cancels a society's registration to operate small lotteries
Where a society has exceeded the permitted proceeds for small lotteries
Issue of permits and temporary permissions
Licensing authority returns
Inspections and reviews
13.13 Licensing authorities are also required to maintain the following information (Schedule 11, Part 5, para 44 of the Gambling Act 2005):
13.14 There is a range of statutory application forms and notices that licensing authorities are required to use as part of their gambling licensing responsibilities. A summary list of these can be found in Appendix E.
13.15 Licensing authorities provide advice to those who make enquiries to them, about the legal responsibilities involved in providing premises or holding permits for gambling, whether or not they currently hold a licence or a permit.
13.16 Licensing authorities should feel free to signpost enquiries relating to operating or personal licences to the Commission.
13.17 The Commission is required under s.106 of the Act to maintain a register of operating licence holders and make this publicly available. Where a licensing authority needs to check if an applicant for a premises licence holds an operating licence, verification can be found on the register.
13.18 The Commission will inform the relevant licensing authorities of any changes to operating licences that may have an impact on the status of related premises licences. Licensing authorities will be periodically advised where an operator is no longer licensed.
13.19 In order to make the system of shared regulation as effective and efficient as possible, the Commission notifies licensing authorities of complaints and intelligence received regarding non-compliance and illegality in their geographical area which is primarily of a localised nature. These are referred to as Local Authority Compliance Events (LACE). The responsibility for the LACE referral is then discharged from the Commission to the licensing authority. Licensing authorities are requested to advise the Commission of what, if any, action is taken.
13.20 The complaints that instigate the LACE referrals come from a variety of sources including licensed operators and members of the public. A number of them are received anonymously via the Commission’s intelligence line.
13.21 The Commission makes other information available to licensing authorities through a range of sources including the LA Bulletin, training events and forums. Further details are set out in Part 3 at paragraphs 3.6 onwards.
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