Important information for those making representations

Licensing and the Data Protection Act 1998

The Licensing Authority has been closely examining its practices in respect of the processing of personal data and compliance under the Data Protection Act 1998.

If I make a representation under the Licensing Act 2003 objecting to an application, how will my personal data be used?

Any person making a representation to an application should bear in mind that their personal data (such as name and address) will be disclosed to the applicant and any interested parties and responsible authority.  The licensing authority will not edit your letter of representation before it sends it out.  All letters of representation will be contained in the agenda.

Furthermore, personal data may be published in the minutes which are distributed to all parties to the proceedings and available on the Council’s website and libraries in the borough.  

The Information Commissioner’s Office has agreed that representations cannot be anonymous as the licensing authority needs to be satisfied that the person making the representation lives in the vicinity of the premises and that it is important that the person making the application is able to respond to an objection.

An applicant has a right to make submissions that a person does not live in the vicinity of his / her licensed premises and would be unlikely to be affected, therefore the address of all interested parties must be provided to the applicant.

By having all the letters of representation contained within the agenda, it allows interested parties to liaise amongst each other and to identify common issues and/or appoint a spokesperson.  Furthermore, interested parties can quickly and easily refer to their letters of representation when addressing the Sub-Committee at the hearing.

Given that your personal data will need to be disclosed, you may choose to contact a responsible authority such as Environmental Health or the Police to see if they share similar concerns and are objecting to an application negating your need to object.

If you have any questions, then please contact the licensing authority on licensing@richmond.gov.uk

How should I comply with best practice under the Data Protection Act 1998 when making a licensing application?

In terms of advertising the application, applicants are required to place a light blue public notice on the premises for a period of 28 days and advertise in a local newspaper.  

Whilst the licensing authority cannot legally insist this, as advised by the Information Commissioner’s Office a best practice may be to include a sentence on the public notice and newspaper advertisement explaining how the personal data of anyone making a representation will be used.

You could choose to adopt the same wording as the Licensing Authority has placed on its standard template public notice.  It reads:

"Any personal data contained in a letter of representation will be disclosed to the applicant and any interested parties and responsible authorities and may be published in the minutes which are distributed to all parties to the proceedings and available on the Council’s website and in libraries in the borough.”

If you have any questions, then please contact the licensing authority on licensing@richmond.gov.uk

Updated: 20 November 2007