3.1 The Commission is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It is governed by a board of Commissioners appointed by the Secretary of State. The Commission is publicly funded, although its funding is derived in the main from licence fees that holders of operating and personal licences are required to pay, rather than coming from the Exchequer.
3.2 In common with licensing authorities, the Commission has a statutory duty to pursue and have regard to the licensing objectives as set out in s.1 of the Act, and to permit gambling so far as it thinks is reasonably consistent with them.
3.3 The Commission is required to publish and consult on a Statement of Principles for Licensing and Regulation which sets out how the Commission approaches its regulatory and other functions under the Act.
For the purposes of this guidance, the Commission has the following principle statutory functions:
3.5 The Commission also has a duty to advise the Secretary of State on gambling and its regulation. To ensure that the Commission is well placed to provide such advice, it monitors developments in gambling in Great Britain and in other jurisdictions. It works closely with a range of regulatory partners, including licensing authorities, and with stakeholders including the industry itself, faith and community groups, and others with concerns about gambling, government departments and bodies working in the field of gambling research and problem gambling.
3.6 The Commission works jointly with its regulatory partners to pursue the licensing objectives. The Commission’s approach is one of partnership building and collaboration through proactive engagement, regular up to date advice and support such as quick guides and the LA Bulletin as well as intelligence sharing.
3.7 The Commission draws on the intelligence and insights of its regulatory partners, in particular licensing authorities, who may well be better positioned to identify emerging risks to the licensing objectives, or instances of illegality which can start at a local level. By working closely together we are able to prevent such risks growing into a more widespread problem and to ensure that both Commission and licensing authority resources are used efficiently.
3.8 Since the Act was introduced a great deal of collective experience and insight has been developed, enabling licensing authorities and the Commission to discharge their separate, but sometimes overlapping, functions both more effectively and more efficiently. This ongoing collaboration is vital in ensuring that compliant operators understand the requirements of the regulatory framework and that where non-compliance and illegality occur, appropriate sanctions are applied to deter others and uphold the licensing objectives. Case studies available in the LA toolkit provide examples of successful multi-agency initiatives undertaken by the Commission and its regulatory partners.
3.9 In addition to the Commission’s LA bulletin that provides a summary of the key issues affecting licensing authorities, we also provide support and guidance on specific issues at forums and training events. We have a number of field-based staff and have set up the Local Authority Liaison Unit which assists licensing authorities with a range of queries.
3.10 In addition to individual licensing authority liaison, the Commission aims to meet regularly with representatives of licensing authorities such as the Local Government Association (LGA), the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), the Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators (SOLAR), and the Institute of Licensing (IoL). These meetings provide opportunities to discuss issues of concern, emerging trends and this guidance.
3.11 Further information about the Commission can be found on our website. Documentation from the Commission’s website which is particularly pertinent to licensing authorities is identified through links within this guidance.
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