One of the mandatory licence conditions under the new liquor licensing regime is the requirement to ensure that staff selling alcohol, or serving alcohol for consumption on the premises, receive appropriate training. Regulations for the training of staff in licensed premises have now been published, and will come into force on 1st February 2008. The arrangements are designed to ensure that all staff are trained to a sufficient standard for them to carry out their responsibilities and duties under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, but without placing an unreasonably heavy demand on the resources of the licensed trade.
The Licensing (Training of Staff) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 provide that any person selling or serving alcohol for consumption on the premises, other than a person who holds a personal licence, must have received at least two hours of training, either from a personal licence holder, or from someone accredited to carry out this training by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
These Regulations are based on the recommendations of the Training Advisory Group set up in May 2006 by the then Scottish Executive, with a remit to consider and develop the detail of training requirements under the Act, based on the national training framework developed by the National Licensing Forum. Licensing Boards, the main licensed trade associations and awarding bodies in Scotland were represented on the Group.
The Regulations set out the content of such training, which has to cover:
- Legal matters such as the basis of the requirement for the training of staff under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, and the legal definition of "alcohol" in the Act (i.e. spirits, wine, beer, cider or any other fermented, distilled or spirituous liquor), and the functions of Licensing Standards Officers, including their powers of entry.
- Information on the licensing objectives under the Act, which are the prevention of crime and disorder; securing public safety; preventing public nuisance; the protection and improvement of public health, and protecting children from harm.
- Operational matters including the nature of an operating plan and its place in the licensing system, the different types of premises licence conditions, information on licensed hours, what constitutes an unlicensed sale, and the special provision for clubs under the Act.
- Practical issues about proof of age under the Act and the Sale of Alcohol to Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Regulations 2007, and offences under the Act, particularly those involving persons under the age of 18, the issue of test purchasing of alcohol under the Act whereby a child or young person may be authorised to buy or attempt to buy alcohol by the chief constable, for the purpose of determining whether an offence of selling alcoholic liquor to a person under 18 is being committed.
- Guidance as to best practice regarding standards of service and refusing service, and good practice in managing conflict; and
- Information about sensible drinking limits for males and females recommended by the British Medical Association, and about units of alcohol and the relationship between units and the strength of different alcoholic drinks.
The full text of the Licensing (Training of Staff) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 is available from the website of the Office of Public Sector Information here.