This guidance is for current licence holders and anyone planning to apply for a new Licence. It explains the changes we are making to our Licensing Services due to the disruption caused to licence holders by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This guidance includes recent changes to the law made by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

Our guidance may change in line with developing Government guidance and legislation.


    Health advice for ALL licence holders

    Everyone has a role to play in limiting the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Licence holders, including taxi and private hire car drivers, are reminded to follow Government advice including advice on isolation if you have symptoms.


    General advice for ALL licence holders

    "Emergency Period"

    The "Emergency Period" is the period which started on Thursday 26 March 2020 and will continue until the Scottish Government says it has stopped. This term is set by the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, which sets out the rules for businesses and the public during the COVID-19 Emergency.

    Reception Services

    Our licensing office is closed to the public but we are operating a service remotely. If, after reading the following guidance, you still need to contact us, then we would prefer that you do that by emailing licensing@falkirk.gov.uk.

    Committee and Board Meetings

    Meetings have now resumed and are being held remotely. Please check the Council website for details of forthcoming meetings: - https://www.falkirk.gov.uk/coins/latestMeetings.asp?sort=1

    Payments

    We can no longer accept payment in cash or by cheque so all fees must be paid by credit or debit card. We will phone you once we have checked that your application is competent for the fee.

    Please note that for Premises Licence annual fee payments, payments can only be made on a Monday and Thursday mornings by phoning 07483 909 172.

    If you are unable to pay by card, please email us licensing@falkirk.gov.uk.

    Taxi and Civic Licences

    We can only accept applications submitted by email. Our email address is licensing@falkirk.gov.uk.

    Renewing Taxi and Civic Licences

    If you have not supplied a valid email address to us previously, we will be contacting you by phone for this information. We can then email you an application form for you to complete and return to us. The application must have with it all supporting documentation if required. If you do not have the facility to scan your documents, then a photograph, as long as the image is clear, is acceptable.

    Application forms and guidance can be downloaded from our Transport licenses section.

    Submitting new Taxi and Civic Licence applications

    Applications should be submitted to us by email. The application must have with it all supporting documentation. If you do not have the facility to scan your documents, then a photograph, as long as the image is clear, is acceptable. Please make sure that your phone number is on the application form.

    You should be aware that it may take some time to review and process your application in the current circumstances.

    All Other types of Licences – submitting applications

    These should be emailed to us to at licensing@falkirk.gov.uk. The application must have with it all supporting documentation. If you do not have the facility to scan your documents, then a photograph, as long as the image is clear, is acceptable.

    You should be aware that it may take some time to review and process your application in the current circumstances.


    FAQs

      Alcohol (Licensing Board)

      What we are doing

      The Licensing Board is keen to assist licensed premises in relation to the use of outdoor drinking areas.

      We are working with our colleagues in other Falkirk Council services such as Development Management, the Roads Authority, the Economic Development Unit and Environmental Health so we can give you advice on what you need to do if you want to use your existing outdoor drinking area, extend your existing outdoor drinking area or apply to have outdoor drinking added to your operating plan.

      We will also work with our external stakeholders such as Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and Forth Valley Health Board.

      We will update this information on a regular basis.

      What you can do

      It would help us to know if you intend to open your outdoor drinking area and how you plan to do this. You will need to take into account whether or not you already have outdoor drinking as an activity in your Operating Plan, whether you will require temporary planning permission, how you will apply social distancing etc. You can email us at licensing@falkirk.gov.uk.

      As this will only be a temporary measure, we feel that a permanent change to your licence will be unnecessary, so we will look to facilitate the additional outdoor drinking under an occasional licence.

      If you do not already have outdoor drinking in your Operating Plan, this does not preclude you from having one as long as this is done in conjunction with the Licensing Board and other relevant services. If you want to add outdoor drinking to your licence permanently, you can apply for a non-minor variation to your Premises Licence and, whilst the variation application is being processed (approximately 3 months), we will look to facilitate the additional outdoor drinking under an occasional licence. If you do not want to add outdoor drinking to your licence permanently, you can apply for an occasional licence.

      If you are looking to open an outdoor drinking area on a public area such as a road, pathway or part of a pedestrianised area you must contact the Roads Authority in the first instance.

      It will also be possible to apply for an occasional licence for the sale of alcohol in unlicensed areas. Our policy is that such an application is accompanied by a statement on how you will address the 5 licensing objectives. This is particularly relevant in the current circumstances with the additional requirement around social distancing and track & trace protocols and you should contact our Food Safety team to discuss this. The maximum duration of an occasional licence is 14 days so potentially multiple applications will need to be submitted.

      Application forms and guidance for all types of licences are available to download from our Alcohol licenses section.


      Alcohol - Occasional Licences

      Can I apply for an occasional licence for an event?

      Due to the situation with mass gatherings, indoor events etc you should first contact Food Safety at fs@falkirk.gov.uk. Applications for funerals that meet the Scottish Government guidelines can still be made by emailing us an application to licensing@falkirk.gov.uk.


      Alcohol - Outdoor drinking

      Pubs and restaurants can open outdoor spaces with physical distancing and increased hygiene routines.


      Alcohol - Personal Licences

      I have received a letter from the Licensing Board advising me to undertake training as my licence is due to expire. What should I do?

      If you have already sat your training and received your certificate, follow our Personal Licence guidance.

      Please try to meet the timescales in your letter and submit your renewal application. At the moment we are not in a position to acknowledge your renewal application or to process it.

      If you have not sat your training and you are unable to do so due to the coronavirus outbreak see paragraph below.

      Please note that your personal licence will still be valid.

      My 'refresher training' course was cancelled because of COVID-19, and I can't get a training course before the 5-year deadline. What happens?

      If the Licensing Board is satisfied that the coronavirus outbreak means completion of necessary training cannot be done in line with the normal timescales the Licensing Board can extend the period up to a length of time of their choosing for completion of the necessary training and for the licence holder to provide evidence of having undertaken the training. The Licensing Board can extend the period more than once.

      Please note that your personal licence will still be valid.


      Alcohol - Premises Licences

      Is my Premises Licence affected by COVID-19?

      No. Normally where a licensed premises ceases to be used for the sale of alcohol, the licence ceases to have effect. However, the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 has made a temporary change to this so that premise licences for premises that are closed temporarily as a result of coronavirus will not be classed as ceasing to have effect.

      I have a Premises Licence for a pub or restaurant. Can I open?

      Yes, subject to strict compliance with Scottish Government Guidance and legislation.

      I have a Premises Licence for an off-licence shop. Can I open?

      Yes, subject to strict compliance with Scottish Government Guidance.

      I don't have 'off-sales' in my Premises Licence. Can I sell alcohol to take-away?

      No.

      I have 'off-sales' in my Premises Licence. Can I sell alcohol to take-away?

      Yes, but only where this is sold on the premises for consumption off the premises

      Can I sell food to take-away?

      Yes, but only if you are registered with Falkirk Council's Food & Safety team and were selling food/meals on the premises before the emergency period. If you are unsure, please contact fs@falkirk.gov.uk.

      During the emergency period you can sell food for take-away or delivery even if your Premises Licence does not cover this ie it is not in your Operating Plan. If you want to keep selling take-away food after the emergency period, you will be required to apply to the Licensing Board to vary your Premises Licence.

      Can I do home-delivery of alcohol?

      If you hold a premises licence and sell alcohol on the internet or make home deliveries of alcohol from your premises, the Board expects this to be included as an activity in your Operating Plan and for the sales and subsequent deliveries to comply with the relevant provisions of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

      If your premises are licensed for off sales, you can deliver alcohol, but you must make sure that the delivery is properly recorded with records kept by the store and by the person who is making the delivery of alcohol.

      Challenge 25 should also be implemented at the point of handover of the alcohol.

      The Licensing Board expects premises to make application to have their licence varied to include internet sales and/or home delivery of alcohol.

      My Designated Premises Manager (DPM) has left. What should I do?

      In the first instance you should email us at licensing@falkirk.gov.uk to let us know. In normal circumstances, the premises licence holder has 7 days to notify the Licensing Board. The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 allows additional time for this – you now have 28 days and you have up to 3 months from the date of the loss of the DPM to make an application to substitute a new designated premises manager.

      Are there any changes to transferring a Premises Licence?

      Yes, if you are applying for the transfer and you are not the current licence holder.

      Normally such applications have to be made within 28 days of the occurrence of certain events. These events are listed in the application form (available from the Premises Licence page).

      Now, there is the discretion for Licensing Boards to be able to accept applications for the transfer of premises licences after the 28-day deadline. This discretion is available where the Licensing Board considers it appropriate in respect of the coronavirus outbreak.

      A premises licence continues to have effect when a late transfer application is accepted by the Licensing Board. The licence ceases to have effect if that application is ultimately refused.

      No, not if you are applying for the transfer and you are the current licence holder.


      Taxi and Private Hire Car Drivers

      I've made a new application. What happens next?

      You will be contacted by the Licensing Section and invited to attend the Municipal Buildings. This is for three purposes:

      1. Taxi Knowledge test
      2. ID badge
      3. Right to Work in the UK interview

      On arrival at the Municipal Buildings you will be met by a Licensing Officer at the appointed time who will take your photograph for the purposes of making an ID badge should your application be granted.

      The Licensing Officer will conduct a Right to Work Interview with you prior to the commencement of the test. For the Right to Work Interview you should have your original Right to Work Interview documents with you. Before coming to your appointment, you should have emailed copies of those documents to the Licensing Section.

      You will need to temporarily hand over any mobile phone/electronic device to the Licensing Officer for the duration of the Taxi Knowledge Test. The test will last for 1 hour. Only one applicant will sit the test at any one time. This process has been risk assessed to ensure the health and safety of both you and staff.

      I have reached an age where I am required to have a Medical. What do I do?

      If you are due to have a medical because you have reached a certain age, you will need to complete a medical condition self-declaration which will be sent to you.

      What should I do to keep myself and my passengers safe?

      You should follow the health advice on the Scottish Government website:

      This states:

      • People with a new persistent cough or high temperature should stay at home.
      • Do not drive your vehicle if you have the symptoms.
      • Where possible, ask all passengers to sit in the back of your vehicle.
      • Keep your vehicle clean to reduce the impact of the virus.
      • Regularly clean surfaces, such as card payment devices, steering wheels, handbrake, and door handles, with normal cleaning products. (As a minimum: at the beginning, middle and end of a shift).
      • Carry a box of tissues and use tissues to catch coughs and sneezes.
      • Dispose of used tissues in the bin as soon as possible.
      • Wash hands frequently with soap and water (you can keep a bottle of water and a bar of soap in your vehicle) or use a sanitizer gel - do this for at least 20 seconds. Sanitizer gel should be a minimum 60% alcohol.

      Can I fit a Screen/Partition to my Taxi/Private Hire Car?

      If you want to fit a protective screen to your licensed car you must email the Licensing Section saying that you have done this or have plans to do this. You must also confirm in the email that the screen/ partition has been safely and securely fitted so that it is not a danger to occupants. In addition, you must provide evidence from your insurance provider that they are aware of this change and that the insurance cover remains unaffected. You are not required to vary your licence.

      I can't get a new ID badge because the Licensing Office is closed. What happens?

      When you apply to renew your licence, we will use your existing photograph, and this will be sent to you with your licence. If you have lost your ID badge, please email us at licensing@falkirk.gov.uk and we will issue you with a new one. Payment for the new ID badge can only be paid by card over the phone. Remember to include your phone number in your email.


      Taxi and Private Hire Car Operators

      I've renewed my insurance since lockdown. What should I do?

      You should advise us by email to licensing@falkirk.gov.uk attaching a copy of the new policy. Please remember to include your licence number in your email.

      My vehicle is due a Hackney Test. Is there a change to the usual procedure?

      Yes.

      Fleet Services is currently closed, and no taxi tests are taking place at the testing station. All taxi and private hire vehicles will need to hold a current and valid MOT to operate and, in these exceptional circumstances, taxi and private hire car operators can obtain their DVSA MOT certificate from an external provider.

      The hackney element of the test has been temporarily replaced with a self-declaration checklist that will be sent to every operator when their taxi test date has expired. The completed checklist must be returned to the Licensing section. If there are no issues, then a temporary sticker will be issued to the operator who should apply the sticker over the expired test date on the back plate. Full instructions will accompany stickers issued.

      Please note that it is the responsibility of operators to check with their insurance provider in light of the temporary change in testing arrangements to make sure that their cover remains in force and they can operate as normal.


      Gambling

      I have a Licence for a Bingo Premises, a Betting Shop or Amusement Arcade. Can I open?

      Yes, subject to strict compliance with Scottish Government Guidance.


      Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

      Can I still let tenants stay in my HMO?

      Yes.

      Can I evict tenants who have Coronavirus?

      No. Even before the current emergency, a Landlord could only evict a tenant with an order from the "Housing and Property Chamber" of the "First Tier Tribunal". This still applies.

      Can tenants stay in my house even if the tenants are not keeping up the rent?

      Yes. Even before the current emergency, a Landlord could only evict a tenant with an order from the "Housing and Property Chamber" of the "First Tier Tribunal". This still applies. The rules about this have been changed by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. You should speak to your Letting Agent or take independent legal advice.

      Can I cut off services like electricity and water if the tenants are not keeping up the rent?

      No. This is against the law and the Police could charge you with an offence.

      See the Scottish Government's Guidance for Private Landlords for more FAQs.


      Late Hours Catering (Take-away food shops)

      I have a Late Hours Catering Licence. Can I open to sell food?

      Yes, but you must follow 'social distancing' rules both inside your shop and outside it.

      If you don't:

      • you can be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £10,000
      • the Police can issue on-the-spot fines of £60
      • the Council might issue a Prohibition Notice or revoke or suspend your Licence

      You must take all reasonable measures to ensure that:

      1. a distance of two metres is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between two members of the same household, or a Carer and the person assisted by the Carer)
      2. the premises only admit people in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
      3. a distance of two metres is maintained between any person waiting to enter the premises (except between two members of the same household, or a Carer and the person assisted by the Carer).

      See Regulation 4(3) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.


      Markets

      I have a Market Operator's Licence. Can I open?

      Yes, subject to strict compliance with Scottish Government Guidance.


      Parades and Marches (Outdoor mass gatherings)

      Will mass gatherings be permitted to take place outside?

      It is expected that public mass gatherings will not be permitted for some time – they are included in Phase 4 of the Scottish Government route map and will be subject to public health advice at that time.

      See Regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.


      Public Entertainment including Funfairs

      As of 24 August 2020, Funfairs can operate subject to Scottish Government Guidance.

      As of 24 August 2020, certain outdoor live events (involving open space or organised seating) with physical distancing and restricted numbers, subject to Scottish Government Guidance.


      Street Traders

      I have a Street Trader's Licence or a Pedlar's Certificate. Can I work?

      Yes, subject to strict compliance with Scottish Government Guidance.


      Tattooing and Skin Piercing

      As of 22 July 2020, Tattooing and Skin Piercing premises can reopen subject to enhanced hygiene measures and Scottish Government Guidance.


      Window Cleaners

      I have a Window Cleaner's Licence. Can I work?

      Yes, if you follow this Guidance:

      1. you have no coronavirus symptoms
      2. you keep at least two metres from anyone on the Premises you are working on
      3. you only work outside.