Failure to comply with refresher deadlines could spell disaster for many trade businesses
THERE’S no penalty for completing personal licence holder refresher training early, but the consequences for those who fail to comply in time could be disastrous.
That was the message from training companies contacted by SLTN last week after it emerged there was widespread confusion over deadlines for the first ‘batch’ of personal licence holders.
As licensing lawyer Jack Cummins pointed out in the October 3 issue of SLTN, operators who gained their personal licence during the ‘transition’ to the 2005 Act (ie before September 1, 2009) must treat September 1, 2009 as the date on which their licence was issued.
This means refresher training must be completed before September 1, 2014 (ie by August 31, 2014) and evidence of this submitted to their relevant licensing board no later than December 1, 2014.
Training companies said it’s vital operators in this position act now to plan and book refresher courses.
Louise Ramsay, owner of DG Training, advised operators to complete training “as soon as possible” to “avoid the rush” in the run-up to September 1, 2014.
“You will not be penalised for completing the training early,” she said.
“If personal licence holders fail to comply with these training requirements then their personal licence must be revoked by the licensing board. If a personal licence is revoked, it is five years before that person can make an application for another one.
“All licensed premises must have a named premises manager who is a personal licence holder – without this no alcohol can be sold, which could have enormous consequences for any business selling alcohol.
The consequences for those who miss their training deadline could be disastrous.
“Therefore, it is essential that the importance of refresher training within the initial five year period is not disregarded.”
Linda Bowie, development and learning co-ordinator at Alcohol Focus Scotland, stressed that “the law is quite clear” about the penalties for those who fail to complete refresher training in time.
“While there is no penalty for completing training early, the consequences for doing it late could be disastrous,” she said.
“Personal licence holders who completed their original training before September 2009 should be aware that there is likely to be a last minute rush to complete refresher training before September 1, 2014 and places on courses may be limited.”
The perils of failing to complete refresher training – and submit evidence to the relevant board – in time were underlined by the BII.
“If a personal licence is revoked, this can have serious repercussions for your business,” said Alice Cardwell-Hodges, international development director at BII.
“You will be unable to authorise the sale of alcohol, apply for occasional licences, be the named premises manager, train staff, apply again for a personal licence until a period of five years has passed and appeal.
“If you are currently the named premises manager on a premises licence and your licence is revoked, your name will be taken off the premises licence. This means the premises has to stop selling alcohol immediately until such times as another personal licence holder can be named.”
Paul Chase, director and head of UK compliance at CPL Training, advised operators to start planning refresher training courses now.
“Get the refresher course done well in advance of the five year deadline date so as to avoid missing the deadline,” he said. “Courses will get booked up in the middle of next year so err on the side of caution.”
In addition to the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (Refresher) qualification, operators are being reminded to ensure that all staff who serve or sell alcohol have completed the minimum mandatory two hours of training before they begin work.
And the operators who invest in staff training beyond the minimum requirement stand to reap the rewards, according to Mike Wroe, director of business development at Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance.
“Every piece of research into staff retention and motivation shows that staff training, and the opportunity for progression, are bigger factors in hanging on to good employees than wages,” said Wroe.
“Staff need to feel valued and rewarded, and ongoing training beyond the minimum legal limit is one of the most cost-effective ways to do this.”
His views were echoed by Kate Tetley at People 1st, who said the return on investment in staff training is “well-recognised” by the sector.
“Investment in staff training brings rewards in terms of retaining staff, better productivity and increased customer satisfaction,” she said.
Michelle Hazlewood, partner at John Gaunt & Partners, said training has helped raise standards.
“The benefit of strict training requirements imposed … on licensees and operators in Scotland is that the leisure industry has become more professional and is regarded by many young people as a career, not just simply a job until they determine a career they wish to pursue,” she said.
Gayle Johnstone, licensed trade account manager at Tennent’s Training Academy, agreed, saying the operators who go the “extra mile” and invest in staff training beyond the minimum requirement stand to “sustain and really grow their business levels”.
“Next year Scotland will be welcoming the world during the Commonwealth Games, and we feel that this is a prime time to show the world how fantastic our hospitality and service industry really is,” she said.
“Plan your training now to make sure your business and staff are prepared to shine!”