West Lothian Local Licensing Forum
The Local Licensing Forum for West Lothian Council, known as "The West Lothian Alcohol Licensing Forum" ("the Forum") is not a policy-making or a decision-making body.
The Forum's role is to keep under review the operation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 in the West Lothian area and the way the West Lothian Licensing Board operates the Act, and to give advice and make recommendations to the Board in relation to those matters. That must be done at a policy level as the Forum cannot comment on individual cases.
West Lothian Licensing Board is responsible for making decisions in relation to licensing applications from pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurants and off-sales in its own area. It deals with applications for both personal and premises licences, and considers cases for suspension endorsement and revocation of licences already issued.
The Licensing Board must make and review a statement of its licensing policy and it requires to make decisions in accordance with that Policy Statement and the five Licensing Objectives which form the philosophical framework for the 2005 Act.
The Licensing Objectives are:
- Preventing crime and disorder
- Securing public safety
- Preventing public nuisance
- Protecting and improving public health
- Protecting children and young persons from harm
The Licensing Board must provide a Forum with statistical information it may require to allow it to perform its functions and the Board must have regard to the advice and recommendations provided by the Forum: any rejection of input from the Forum requires to be explained by the Board.
The Forum is supported by West Lothian Council but it is independent from the council and the Licensing Board. At the same, it shares the common goal of having the local community's best interests at the heart of the way the Act is operated.
The Forum consists of representatives from key interest areas but it is vital that the Forum members consider the wider community issues as well as the individual interest areas which they represent. The Forum will, therefore, require to engage with communities to ensure that the work which it is doing properly reflects 'community opinion'.