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What is a Local Authority Licence for a Business?

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If you are in the process of setting up a business there are many different factors to consider, from whether you require a physical location to work from, the need for staff and suppliers, your target market and how to market towards them, as well as other logistical problems to solve. One area that should not be overlooked, and ideally dealt with as soon as possible, is to ask the question ‘does my business need a licence?’ as this could prove problematic further down the line if you do require a licence but have not been issued with one.

Depending on the industry and sector your business is operating in it could well be that you require a licence to operate, or to operate at certain locations, events, or times of year. If you do require a licence as a business, look for advice from a solicitors with experience in employment law and business licences to ensure that you are fully covered from all angles before beginning your business and opening up to the public. Setting up a business as a limited company or LLP will help you to be taken more seriously in the eyes of the local authority issuing the professional licence so bear that in mind when setting up your business in the first place. It can also help you to secure better terms for business insurance.

There are a few different types of businesses that require a professional licence in order to operate legally. These include credit and financial services, child care services, dog breeding, goods haulage (HGV), gambling services, ear piercing, import and export management, taxi drivers, security guards, sports coaches, pet shops, private coach operators, casinos, public houses, restaurants, nightclubs.

It could be that you run a business that only requires a temporary licence. This could be if you run a small number of public events each year where there is alcohol for sale to the general public, or if there is a raffle or lottery that you are using to raise money and awareness for a specific cause. In these cases it would be advisable to apply to the relevant local authority in order to obtain a special, temporary licence for those specific uses.

There are special licences that are required for specific roles, as listed above, not just for businesses. For example, if you run a public house, a club, or a restaurant, you will be obliged to acquire two types of licence in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003 (a premises licence and a personal licence). These ensure that you are complying with strict legal restrictions and regulations. The licensing procedure for this type of approval is very different to that of a driving instructor or HGV driver, who will require a strict driving licence that is different from the regular licence that all drivers hold.

Understanding the nuance and legal differences between certain professional licences for both business types and personal roles is important. With the assistance of a professional legal service you can ensure that you understand exactly what you require and how to apply for the correct licence for your needs.

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