The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 sets out a range of criteria that must be assessed against a licence application of any sort – including renewals (sections 105 and 131).
The guidelines below are based on the Hamilton District Licensing Committee's expectations for applications for new licences and renewals, in particular section 105 (j): "Whether the applicant has appropriate systems, staff, and training to comply with the law".
Please read the guidelines carefully. It is not enough to have one or two people holding a manager's certificate and a licensee holding an alcohol licence: appropriate systems and regular staff training are also essential to ensure your alcohol sale and supply activities operate within the law.
Licences and manager requirements
Find out more about:
What's the issue?
Liquor acts prior to the Act 2012 only required potential managers to have formal training, in the form of the Licence Controller Qualification (LCQ). Unfortunately there was no follow-up training requirement unless the law changed (a transition course in 2006 and a bridging test in 2014).
While training remains fresh in a trainee's mind for some time after an initial training period, it fades over time without regular refreshing and/or updating of that knowledge. That's not only an issue for managers and/or licencees who've been formally trained and gained their management certificate; it's also an issue in relation to other staff employed by a business or a manager/licensee who sell, supply or serve alcohol.
Unfortunately there has also been (and still is) no mandatory staff training requirement for staff (or even licensees if they don't hold manager's certificates). This means that any staff training and/or ongoing training/refreshers occur at the discretion of individual managers and the quality of this can vary greatly. Even where initial staff training has been provided, refresher training is often not provided after that.
Why is this important?
Regardless of the lack of a mandatory requirement for staff training and refresher training, it is vitally important that managers, licensees and their staff 'know the law'.
Did you know that 80 per cent of the businesses that fail Police CPOs (controlled purchase operations) fail due to the untrained staff that make the sale? As the licensee and/or manager - that impacts directly on YOU.
For your own protection and to meet the object of the Act 2012 – TRAIN YOUR STAFF!
What you need to do
Here are some helpful hints that you can or should put in place in relation to systems and regular staff training. Evidence will be required with all applications to the Hamilton District Licensing Committee (DLC).
Some examples of systems you could have in place to ensure compliance with the law are:
- Signage at the points of sale regarding prohibition of sale to minors and intoxicated persons: these are for the staff to use as back up. This is a mandatory condition of your licences anyway but make sure these signs actually have the rules explained. You can collect these signs from our Customer Service Centre in Garden Place, order them online from the Health Promotion Agency or you can make your own - there is no requirement to use someone else's signs.
- Till prompts: there are software systems that can be installed that remind staff to check customers' ages and even give the correct dates before a sale is made.
- Mystery shoppers: there are organisations that arrange these and some are even in the form of a mock CPO (using an 18 year old) – or you can arrange them yourselves. Remember to record what, when and how. Make sure staff are advised of the process and there are steps in place to penalise them if they fail.
- Host responsibility policy: do you have an effective host responsibility policy and is it displayed for the staff and customers? We will want this to be done and displayed at all points of sale.
- Intoxication assessment guidelines: are the 'intoxication assessment guidelines' displayed for the staff to refer to? Copies can be collected for free from our Customer Service Centre in Garden Place or ordered from the Health Promotion Agency website.
It will be a condition of the licence that a properly-appointed manager must be on duty and on the premises at all times when alcohol is available for sale. So you will need to show that you have an adequate number of managers appointed, so you can ensure a duty manager will be on-site at all times alcohol is sold.
Other staff: if there is only one staff member in the shop or on the floor? What back-up do they have for safety and security? At nights or busy times, one person is not sufficient.
It will be an expectation that ALL staff receive training in host responsibility practices and general compliance with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
You will need to provide a copy of any training programmes and evidence of the staff being trained. Evidence of attendance may be a list headed up with what the agenda was and the date etc, signed by the staff members. Evidence of staff training every six months would be a minimum expectation.
Some examples of training you could have in place to ensure compliance with the law are listed below.
- Ongoing training using the following resources: a copy of your premises' licence, your host responsibility policy and the intoxication assessment guidelines, which are then discussed and signed off as being received, read and understood.
- There are some useful resources available put out by the Health Promotion Agency. Copies can be collected for free from our Customer Service Centre in Garden Place or ordered from the Health Promotion Agency website:
The Bar Code: frontline bar staff and the law.
Host Responsibility: guidelines for licensed premises.
The Manager's Guide 2014.
Intoxication assessment guideline.
- Many organisations have their own in-house training packages and all staff must complete/attend on a regular basis. However, there are also outside training organisations that do seminars at their own training centre or will come to you. Often an outside trainer delivers the message better than 'the boss'. These usually have certificates of attendance.
- You could get all staff to complete and hold the LCQ, even if they do not want a manager's certificate. But what follow-up will you be doing every 12 months? It is an expectation that all licensee company directors and other business partners have obtained the LCQ (Licence Controller Qualification), even if they personally do not want a manager's certificate.