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Thursday, 07 November 2013

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CPL Training argues abolition of personal licences will create huge complexity

Thursday, 07 November 2013

Article Image 07 November 2013

CPL Training, the UK's largest licensed retail training provider, has voiced its opposition to plans to abolish personal license holders. The company has argued that the move will be a retrograde step that will create huge complexity for multi-site operators.

In a submission to the Home Office, which is carrying out a consultation on the plan, the company stated: "Currently we have a coherent, national, qualification-based personal licence system that is well understood, and which creates a minimum standard that applies to all licensed premises. To replace this with the local conditioning of premises licences will hugely increase complexity and cost. If the purpose of the proposed change is to enable the targeting of national training and vetting benchmarks, then in excess of 400 local licensing authorities will have to decide on what basis to divide premises into high and low risk. It will vary from one authority to another; and different types of premises and categories of staff will be caught by the local application of national training and vetting benchmarks. For multiple-site operators this creates huge complexity and cost in terms of managing compliance with a patchwork quilt of local training conditions. And given that blanket premise licence conditions cannot be imposed, any new licensing policy in a given authority’s area would require each and every premises licence to be reviewed in order to impose "targeted training conditions" – at a cost that has not been calculated."

CPL Training argues that moves to cut down Red Tape are to be welcomed but the "Government's proposal to abolish the personal licence is an ill-considered, unwanted reform".

The company's submission said: "It is reminiscent of the proposal to abolish the Security Industry Authority as part of the "bonfire of quangos". In the end the SIA was reprieved after protests from the private security industry that had heavily invested in its provisions. Our sector has heavily invested in the personal licence system. We earnestly hope that investment will not be wasted and the Government will not enact this reform."

CPL Training reported that between the start of 2005 and the first six months of 2013, 574,565 learners have sat and passed the personal licence qualification in England and Wales. Currently between 12,000 and 14,000 learners per quarter sit and pass the APLH qualification – approximately 55,000 per year.

It added: "This is an unprecedented level of training and qualification in licensing law and responsible alcohol retailing that would never have been achieved without a legally mandated, qualification-based personal licence system. We find it incomprehensible that this level of training will be discarded in favour of an uncertain local application of national training and vetting benchmarks through conditioning of licences. This is a retrograde step that takes us back to the situation that preceded the introduction of the NLC in 1992."