Licensing news

London Mayoral response to the Recommendations of the London Night Time Commission released

Following publication of the London Night Time Commission report, 'Think Night' London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, has responded to the report's recommendations.

The London Night Time Commission had been tasked to develop and report on the mayor's ambitious vision for enhancing and promoting London as a 24 hour city- their focus being on the period between 6pm and 6am. Their report 'Think Night' sought to examine and make recommendations that took into account all stakeholders in London, including the night time economy, residents and workers. The 80 page report, delivered earlier this year, made ten recommendations.

These were:

  • Putting the night at the heart of all London policy making
  • Production of 'night time guidance' for London's boroughs
  • Establish a 'night time data observatory'
  • Annually publishing a report on London at night
  • Establishing a night time enterprise zone fund, with a 'pathfinder zone to be established in 2020
  • Researching the case for later opening hours across London
  • Establishing a new partnership across London to co-ordinate issues such as crime, safety and making London more welcoming
  • Production of guidance to help stakeholders create welcoming, safe and vibrant public spaces at night
  • Establishing a late night transport working group
  • Extending the remit of London & Partners to promote London's night time offer to Londoners.

The mayor's response to the above recommendations has been to embrace them. In particular the Mayor's own research had identified that councils and other stakeholders needed to have guidance to support their works and develop holistic strategies for the Mayor's night time vision. It was also recognized that whilst there is data available in relation to the night time economy (such as a dramatic 51% reduction in night time offences involving alcohol between 2010 and 2017), there was no central hub to collate and contextualize it. This will then feed into the annual reporting recommended in the findings of the commission.

Another major finding was that 92% of councils believe that night time economic activity could be used to help in arresting the high street's current decline. This will, in turn attract younger start-ups and provide employment, skills and opportunities. £75,000 has been made available for a night time enterprise zone, with London Boroughs and key delivery partners being able to apply through the GLA website.

One key idea is to look to encourage shopping and leisure premises to open later and therefore meet the demands of the non 9-5 working lives of significant numbers of Londoners. The Mayor is looking to commission research on the effect that such a change would have on communities. This links into the Mayor's commitment to ensure that stakeholders in London's night time economy take a joined-up approach to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Londoner's and visitors, along with looking to develop more thriving night time public realm and public transport network.

Conclusions

The report and responses from the Mayor provide further encouraging signs that the importance of the night time economy is finally being fully recognized, rather than being paid lip-service too. However, the proof will come when we understand whether there is enthusiasm within London Boroughs to reflect these proposals in their planning and licensing policies. Ultimately, the proposed changes are likely to cause concerns from resident groups, police and health authorities who are on the front-line when it comes to having to deal with the effects of an expanding night time economy. Balancing the economic and social benefits of encouraging later night leisure are retail with the rights of residents may prove to be a particularly stern examination of the real likelihood of change.

That being said, the report and the Mayor's responses provide a useful guide to other metropolitan areas outside the capital as to how the night time economy can be proactively engaged with and cultural benefits of a thriving night time economy embraced as an essential part to the development of any city or town. It is hoped that this model of stakeholder working can be embraced to help shape towns and cities across the UK.

Every now and then, when an application is made, an officer will consider that administrative errors made in the application process invalidates it. This could be for a mistake on a notice, or a notice torn down overnight or something in the application form that is either missing or wrong. However, do not immediately despair!

Often experienced licensing officers will contact an applicant as soon as a 'problem' is identified and will make a suggestion as to how it can be remedied. Sometimes, it is as simple that confirming what is meant on an application where there is clearly an administrative error and having the error confirmed in writing. Sometimes, it might require a notice or other document to be amended.

However, if an officer chooses to reject an application, there may be the opportunity to ask for that rejection to be reconsidered. As a matter of good public law and with case law on the subject to confirm the position, an application should not be rejected for a defect where there is no prejudice likely to arise from the error. This means that if you can show that the mistake is unlikely to cause anyone to either misunderstand the application or not be able to object to it, for instance, then there should be no reason why it could not proceed.

On dealing with officers, it is worth remembering that they are not trying to trip you up, they are simply doing their jobs. Recognising that they are ultimately there to help and facilitate the proper administration of licensing applications, and treating them with courtesy and professionalism- even if you cannot agree a course of action at the end of the day, can only do you and your application good in the long-run!

Gambling news:

It is a condition of your Operating Licence that certain events (Key Events) are notified to the Gambling Commission within five working days of the event or as soon as possible. Failure to do so is serious matter and a breach of your Operating Licence. Such a failure may lead to your operating licence being reviewed.

You and your compliance team should be familiar with the Key Events and always be asking "is this a key event?".

Key Events are reported via the Gambling Commission online portal eServices -. If you are unable to log onto the portal then you should not delay the report and instead email key.events@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

It is not possible to list every single possible Key Event is notified to the Gambling Commission, however, the most common Key Events are as follows:

  • Going into administration or equivalent
  • A change in shareholder (3% or over)
  • Any other type of investment
  • Taking a loan from any person not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority
  • Receiving third party services for other than for full value
  • Any change in key personnel
  • Any change to the structure or organisation
  • Any material change in banking arrangements
  • Any breach of a covenant given to a bank or other lender
  • Any default in making repayment of whole or part of a loan on its due date
  • Any court judgments (in whatever jurisdiction) against you or your business
  • Any qualification to an auditors’ report
  • Any unplanned change of auditor
  • Any change in arrangements for the protection of customer funds
  • Any deficit on reconciliation of a customer funds bank account
  • Any change in arrangements through which you accept payment from customers
  • Grant/withdrawal/refusal of any application for a gambling licence from a regulator in another jurisdiction
  • Any investigation by a professional, statutory, regulatory or government body (in whatever jurisdiction) into your activities
  • Any report from a professional, statutory or other regulatory or government body (in whatever jurisdiction) of the outcome of a compliance assessment
  • Any high priority referral to your Board by a third party (such as an auditor) about your provision of facilities for gambling
  • Any disciplinary sanction, including dismissal, against the holder of a personal licence
  • Any material litigation (in whatever jurisdiction) against you
  • Submission of a suspicious activity report (SAR) to the NCA
  • Any breach of your information security that adversely affects the confidentiality of customer data or prevents customers from accessing their accounts for longer than 24 hours
  • Any change of your alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider
  • Any change of trading on website domains (including mobile sites or mobile device applications) or broadcast media through which you provide gambling facilities
  • The outcome of a dispute referred to an ADR provider
  • If any group company, which is not a Commission licensee, advertises remote gambling facilities to those residing in a jurisdiction in or to which it has not previously advertised
  • Where a gaming system fault has resulted in under or overpayments to a player.
  • Any change in the structure or the operation of your business
  • Any change in your managerial responsibilities or governance arrangements
  • Any report from an auditor expressing concerns about shortcomings in your management control or oversight relating to the provision of gambling facilities
  • Where you know or suspect that there has been interference with an event in Great Britain on which bets have been placed (from anywhere)
  • Where you know or suspect that there has been interference with an event taking place outside Great Britain on which bets have been placed in Great Britain

You should refer to the Gambling Commission's Local Conditions and Code of Practice for further information.