Are you planning a small, one-off event at a venue that does not hold a full licence such as a school, village hall or outdoor space? Also planning to sell alcohol or have late night entertainment?
Then you’ll need to obtain permission from the local authority by applying for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN).
It’s essential to obtain a TEN for all ‘licensable activity’ that is not on your venue’s licence – if you don’t get one, then you can be fined, sent to prison for up to six months, or both!
What is licensable activity?
Licensable activity includes the sale or supply of alcohol, the provision of late night hot food and drink (between 11pm-5am), opening a venue outside of its licensed hours, and the provision of ‘regulated entertainment’.
Regulated entertainment is defined as any of the following activities that take place in the presence of an audience:
- Recorded music i.e. Disco or DJ (between 11pm and 8am)
- Karaoke (between 11pm and 8am)
- Unamplified live music (between 11pm and 8am)
- Amplified live music (between 11pm and 8am)
- Play or dance performance (between 11pm and 8am)
- Indoor sporting event (between 11pm and 8am)
- Film screening
- Boxing, wrestling or martial arts
- Adult entertainment
Important note: A Temporary Event Notice covers you for gatherings of up to 499 people, for a duration of no longer than seven days. If your event does not meet this criteria you will need to apply for either a premises licence or a club premises certificate.
Who can apply for a Temporary Event Notice?
Any individual aged over 18 can apply for a TEN and you can obtain up to five TENs per year. If you already have a personal licence to sell alcohol, you can be given up to 50 TENs a year.
A TEN can cover a single event up to seven days in duration (168 hours). If you’re organising separate but consecutive events, each must have its own TEN and there must be at least a 24 hour gap between them.
Your ability to obtain a TEN will also depend on the popularity of the venue for events such as yours, because a single premises may only have up to 15 TENs applied for in one year (and the total length of the events must not exceed 21 days).
TENs must be submitted at least 10 working days prior to the start of the event.
A ‘late’ TEN can be submitted in exceptional circumstances, such as a forced last-minute change of venue. However, it must still provide at least five working days notice, not including the day of the event.
Applications for late TENs are limited to two per year, or five per year for personal licence holders.
What does the local authority consider when deciding whether or not to grant a TEN?
The local authority is actually not the decision making body when it comes to approving TENs. Only the police and Environmental Health have the power to object and they must do this within three working days of receiving the application.
They can only object if they think your event could:
- Lead to crime and disorder
- Cause a public nuisance
- Be a threat to public safety
- Put children at risk of harm
What happens if objections are made?
If an objection notice is submitted the TEN will go to a hearing that will take place within seven working days (unless all parties agree that a hearing isn’t needed).
At the hearing, the licensing committee will either approve, add conditions or reject the notice.
Following a hearing, either the applicant or the objecting body may appeal within 21 days of the decision to a magistrates’ court, providing that the event is at least five working days away.
If the police or Environmental Health object to a late TEN, the local authority will automatically issue a counter-notice to veto the event and there is no right of appeal against this decision.
Are there any other reasons TENs are refused?
TENs are often refused because applicants make mistakes with regards to the statutory notice period.
It’s important to remember that the date of submitting the TEN and the day of the event are not included in the total number of working days before the event (don’t forget that bank holidays are not counted as a working day either).
Depending on the type of TEN, it must be submitted with at least five or 10 clear working days notice. This limit is set by law and the local authority cannot deviate from it.
How to apply for a Temporary Event Notice
You must make the application to the local authority governing the borough or district into which your proposed venue falls. You may be able to complete the application online or otherwise download and print the necessary forms to be posted. You will have to pay a fee of £21.
Don’t forget you may be responsible for ensuring the police and Environmental Health also receive copies of the TEN within the notice period.
In your application it is important to be very accurate about exactly what will be taking place and the dates and times that your event is to cover. You could be fined if you make any false statements in your application, or face prosecution if you breach the terms of the notice.
If you are successful in your application and your event goes ahead, you must keep your TEN on the premises on the day and display a copy of the notice somewhere it can be easily seen.
Temporary Events Notices can be trickier than they look – give yourself plenty of time to make your application and if you’re in any doubt whether you need one or not talk to your local council.