Holyrood under fire on training

Scottish Government accused of “pursuing own agenda”

By Dave Hunter

THE Scottish Government has been criticised for “not doing enough” to raise awareness of the August 31 deadline for personal licence holder refresher training.

Licensing lawyer Janet Hood, of Janet Hood Consulting, said Holyrood should have done more to promote the issue as it emerged thousands of PLHs have yet to notify licensing boards of completion of the refresher course.
By law, boards have been required to issue reminders to licence holders who received their personal licence on or before September 1, 2009 that they must complete refresher training by August 31. PLHs who fail to meet this deadline and notify their board by December 1 will have their licence revoked and cannot apply for a new one for five years.
“I don’t think the government thought about the consequences of their actions,” Hood told SLTN. “The thought of a five-year revocation for failing to get a piece of paper is ludicrous.
“I just feel the government has taken too high a horse on this; they’re not interested in what happens to the licensed trade and they’re pursuing their own agenda.”
Hood also criticised the Scottish Government for not issuing more guidance to licensing boards, after it emerged several were not issuing personal licences when the licensee had passed their SCPLH exam before August 2013 – when the training criteria was changed – but are only now applying for their licence.
“They [the Scottish Government] could have offered boards guidance on the pre-August 2013 issue and have declined to do so,” said Hood.
“Yet they do put guidance notes out on a variety of matters, so this is again another instance of the government being happy to see this type of business disrupted.”
A spokeswoman from the Scottish Government said Holyrood “cannot provide legal advice”.
“Licensing is administered at local authority level by licensing boards,” she said.
“We are working closely with licensing boards to ensure that licensees are aware of the need to undergo personal licence refresher training and submit the required details to their board before this year’s deadline.”
The news comes as figures from licensing law journal SLLP show a considerable
number of licence holders are yet to undertake refresher training.
As of the beginning of July the Scottish Borders, for example, had 673 licence holders due to complete their training by August 31. Only 92 informed the board that they had done so.