On 1 April 2019 Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council will be replaced by a single district council called West Suffolk Council. It will entirely replace the borough and district councils but will continue to deliver the same services while finding improved ways of supporting communities, businesses and the local economy. Over the next few weeks you may notice changes to the website, forms, letters and emails, and there will be limited access to some of our online systems as we prepare for the creation of the new council.
Under the Gambling Act 2005, local licensing authorities became responsible for regulating certain areas in the gambling industry. To find out more about the role local licensing authorities play, visit: Gambling Commission, about licensing authorities
Section 349 of the Gambling Act 2005 requires all licensing authorities to prepare and publish a statement of policy that they propose to apply in exercising their functions under the Act during the three-year period to which the policy applies.
In West Suffolk we have developed the policy with due regard to all available regulations, conditions, codes of practice, statutory guidance, practical experience of legislation and any consultee responses. Should anything in future publications, legislative/regulatory changes or case law impact upon the content of the statement of policy document, then it will be taken into account. The document may then be updated at a later stage and with due consideration to the resource implications for the licensing authority.
The Gambling Act 2005 (the act) gives licensing authorities various regulatory functions in relation to gambling. The main functions of licensing authorities include:
A gambling policy is required to address the three licensing objectives of the act, which are:
Licensing policies must be prepared in accordance with the act. Guidance issued by the Gambling Commission prescribes the information that must be included in the policy, however the policy must also reflect local circumstances hence the importance of local consultation. Further information on the legislation can be obtained from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (www.culture.gov.uk); the Gambling Commission (www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk; and Legislation.gov.uk (www.legislation.gov.uk).
Licensing authorities are already familiar with a risk-based approach to compliance, and targeting resources and effort where risk is greatest. To provide greater clarity, and make more explicit what an assessment of gambling related risks might look like there is a 'Risk assessment and local area profiles' section in the policy.
Local area profiles increase awareness of local risks and improve information sharing. This will facilitate constructive engagement with licensees and a more coordinated response to local risks. The local area profile will also help to inform the risk assessment section of any new licence application or application to vary a licence.
For example, an area could be identified as high risk on the basis that it is located within close proximity to a youth centre, rehabilitation centre or a school. The licensing authority might therefore indicate that they would expect licensees to take appropriate steps to ensure that advertising relating to their premises, or relating to events at their premises, is not displayed at a time when children are likely to be nearby. The licensee would be reasonably expected to have sufficient controls in place to mitigate associated risks in such areas and, if not, the licensing authority could consider implementing other controls.
Including local area profiles will bring the following benefits: