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Notes from the Chair 28/11/11

I am going to be submitting our full submission to the consultation proposal to examine the deregulation of Schedule One of the Licensing Act later on this week, and wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the introduction, which covers the main themes I am planning to cover. Although time is tight, if you have any comments, or any specific case studies that might highlight how this change could benefit the communities you work with, please send them to me at jane.wilson@adec.org.uk and I will be happy to include them. Our submission reads:

 “We wholeheartedly support the proposed deregulation, and the removal of an extra burden of legislation on individuals, groups and organisations wanting to provide local access to plays, films, music, and dance, within their communities.

 This recognition that arts events do not in themselves require more regulation than other public gatherings is a very welcome development. We agree that most of the activities that currently come under the definition of regulated entertainment will be effectively managed under other existing legislation. We also think that the change of emphasis, away from licensing of the activity and on to public safety, nuisance, and environmental health, is a positive step.

 There will be both economic and social benefits from this proposal: economic benefits will come in the main for the professional sector, social benefits for the community sector, with some significant overlaps.

 In addition to the simple and already costed effects of removing the license fee, we believe that this proposal will create new opportunities for professional arts organisations to take work into a much wider range of locations than is currently the case, which also fits very well with the Arts Council England focus on supporting touring arts into areas without dedicated arts facilities. Equally, facilities (with or without alcohol licensing) that do not currently present arts activities will be able to consider one-off and part time activity without an extra administrative burden. Both arts companies and venues will therefore be able to explore new ways of generating very welcome income.

 However, we expect that the full, long term impact of the proposed deregulation will be felt by those individuals and groups who do not organise ‘regulated entertainment’ on a professional basis, but who do so in the context of schools, village halls, and other community based venues, where the relative burden of the licensing regime is very high, and severely limits the range and extent of activity. Both the reality and the perception of the current licensing regime for regulated entertainment is extremely off putting for community groups, and it is difficult to imagine the full scope of local creativity that could be developed as community spaces become far more readily available for arts activity.

 We do recognise that there will be some trepidation about that undetermined level of activity, however there is strong and effective legislation covering public safety and nuisance, crime and disorder, and the protection of children, and this change will enable event organisers focus to be placed more clearly on those responsibilities, rather than on navigating a complex and unnecessary regime in relation to the specific content of their activity.”

 We hope that the submission above meets with members’ approval and includes much of what you have been telling us for the last few months and we urge all members to support the consultation (see below for more information).
Jane Wilson
Chair of AD:uk
Tel: 01353 669022 Email: jane.wilson@adec.org.uk