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Glasgow City Council

Alcohol Licensing in Scotland

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In Scotland the sale of alcohol is regulated by Licensing Boards under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 (the 2005 Act).  This legislation came into force on 1 September 2009 replacing the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 (the 1976 Act).

What is a Licensing Board?

Each Council in Scotland is required to establish at least one Licensing Board for their area.

The primary purpose of a Licensing Board is to set local policies in relation to the sale of alcohol and to consider applications for Alcohol Licences.

Licensing Boards are made up of elected Councillors from the relevant Council but are independent public bodies separate from the Local Authority.

Each licensing board is required to publish a pdf icon Licensing Policy Statement [5Mb] at least once every three years.

This policy statement sets out how a Licensing Board intends to exercise its statutory functions in line with the Licensing Objectives and its approach to matters such as licensed hours or children's access to licensing premises. The policy will also include the Board's pro-active assessment of over provision in their area.

The overprovision areas, health statistics and licensed premises in Glasgow can be viewed here.  

In Glasgow, the City of Glasgow Licensing Board is responsible for regulating the sale of alcohol.

What are the Licensing Objectives?

The 2005 Act sets out five Licensing Objectives that underpin the licensing system, these are:

  • Preventing crime and disorder;

  • Securing public safety;

  • Preventing public nuisance;

  • Protecting and improving public health; and

  • Protecting children from harm.

Each objective is of equal importance and a Licensing Board must have regard to the objectives in both its policy and decision making.

What types of Alcohol Licences are issued?

There are three types of licence issued under the 2005 Act these are:

Licence Type


Premises Licence to sell alcohol

This is the principle licence issued under the 2005 Act to authorise premises to sell alcohol on a continual basis. Each premises licence has an operating plan attached to the licence setting out exactly how alcohol will be sold on the premises and what other activities will be provided. A layout plan is also attached to the licence showing the current layout of the premises.

How to apply for an Occasional Licence

This type of licence authorises a premises to sell alcohol on a temporary basis for a period of up to 14 days.

Apply for a Personal Licence

A personal licence is required by any individual intending to operate as the designated premises manager of licensed premises in Scotland. The holder of this type of licence can also apply for occasional licences in their own name as well as provide certain forms of training to staff in licensed premises


What is the role of the licensing standards officers (LSOs)?

The 2005 Act requires local authorities to appoint at least one licensing standards officer in their area.

The role of an LSO is to provide the following general functions as defined by the Act:

  • provide persons with information and guidance concerning the operation of this Act in the area;
  • supervising the compliance by licence holders of (i) premises licences, or (ii) occasional licences in respect of premises in the area with the conditions of their licences and other requirements of this Act; and
  • provide mediation services for the purpose of avoiding or resolving disputes or disagreements between (i) licence holders, and (ii) any other persons concerning any matter relating to compliance.

In Glasgow there are four Licensing Standards Officers.

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