This week is National Licensing Week, with Monday’s focus on ‘positive partnerships’. So we went behind the scenes to talk to Andrew Constantine, Highfield’s licensing and compliance manager, to find out more on his role in helping those businesses we work.
Hello Andy. Tell us a bit about how you got into the licensing sector?
Originally working within Doncaster Councils Town Centre Management team, I had the opportunity of developing and introducing a new project to the town called Best Bar None. The Home Office approved scheme is aimed at improving the quality of management of licenced premises through self-improvement instead of enforcement. This new role sat within the Trading Standards and Licensing team.
How long have you been at Highfield? What had you done previously?
I soon realised that the best way to self-improvement is through training and found that the most cost-effective way to offer this to the licensed trade was for me to build it in to my role. So, I put myself through the PTLLS course and started to deliver, amongst other things, APLH, first aid and customer service training. This led to a relationship with Highfield, from which I have never looked back. When, four and a half years ago, the opportunity came about to work for Highfield, I just had to take it.
Briefly explain your role as a BDM.
As a BDM my role is all about building relationships with businesses and individuals to ensure that they are getting everything they need from Highfield. Increased income on our part is a by-product of customer satisfaction, which is achieved by our customers being able to deliver the best to their customers.
What are the biggest issues in the licensing trade right now?
Because my remit covers both English and Scottish licensing there is always something new on the horizon. At the moment the focus is on Scotland, where they are going through the process of both refresher training and the 10-year renewal of personal licenses. The key points in this are:
- Applications for renewal of personal licences issued on 1 September 2009 must reach licensing boards by 31 May 2019, or three months before the expiry date.
- Best practice is to sit the refresher as soon as possible and send the qualification certificate with your application for renewal.
- Trainers need an SCPLH qualification and up-to-date CPD, which can include refresher training.
What’s the most common question you are asked by businesses/centres?
Our staff are well trained in compliance, what else can we offer? – There are some excellent apprenticeship standards aimed both at licensed hospitality and licensed retail. These are great ways to ensure you have both well trained and loyal staff members.
What do you think the licensing sector can expect in 2019? Any predictions?
There are two items that the UK Government currently have out for consultation, which could have an impact on licensing:
- The proposed introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing in Wales
- The extension of licensing legislation to cover airside at airports
Also, north of the border there is the redevelopment of the SCPLH qualification, which is due to hit at the end of 2019 once the renewal process is complete.
Finally, can you give us any tips for licensed businesses looking to upskill or develop staff?
Any business is only as good as it’s weakest member of staff. In the case of a licensed premises this means that a mistake could lead to the suspension or revocation of the license. The best way to avoid this is through training, in particular, the more Personal License holders you have the more staff you have that are trained to a nationally recognised level to protect your business.
The last thing that I would mention is that at Highfield we have a very good Customer Service culture. This is important in any business but especially in the licensed hospitality sector, so I believe that all staff, from the Licence Holder to the new pot collector, should have some level of Customer Service training.
For more information on Highfield’s licensing offer, go to www.highfieldqualifications.com/qualifications/compliance/licensing, call us on 01302 363277 / 0845 2260350, or email email@example.com