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Licensing and safeguarding children and young people


What are the requirements for safeguarding children under the Licensing Act?

The Licensing Act 2003 brought about a change in thinking about children’s access to licensed premises and now it is normal for children to be allowed in to pubs, clubs and other licensed premises.

Under the Act a number of ‘Responsible Authorities’ have been created, each one should be notified of any new license applications  or any variations to existing licenses. 

The Responsible Authorities include Police, Fire Authority, Planning Authority and the Essex County Council (ECC) Children’s Services is the ‘Responsible Authority’ in respect of the protection of children from harm, and the Local Authority Designated Officers (LADOs), carry this role out on behalf of the County Council, specifically looking at the child protection / safeguarding element.


What risks can there be on licensed premises for children and young people?

The risks will vary from premises to premises depending on the type of licensing activity and the age of the children.

Young children may be at risk if they are not properly supervised or are exposed to adults who have become intoxicated.  They can be dangerously intoxicated by quite small quantities of alcohol, so care needs to be taken to clear used glasses to protect them from this risk.

Young teenagers may attempt to buy and consume alcohol and then become vulnerable because their judgement is impaired, this could put them in danger from getting involved in fights, from drink driving or from sexual predators and abuse from those who choose to exploit children.

All children are at risk of adults who are viewed as a danger to them.  Care must be taken when staff are appointed to ensure that such individuals are not placed in an environment where they can exploit their position.

Adult entertainment is not suitable for children.  At premises where such entertainment is allowed arrangements must be enforced to ensure that children are not exposed to any inappropriate acts or material.


What can Licensees put in place to reduce risks to children and young people?


What are the risks of child sexual exploitation (CSE) at licensed premises?

The risks vary depending on the style and character of the business but premises can be involved in the following ways:



How can Licensees manage the risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE) at licensed premises?

Under the Licensing Act 2003, the ‘due diligence’ defence can be used to protect your business, if you can demonstrate that all reasonable steps have been taken to manage risk. Here are some suggested safeguarding measures to help evidence ‘due diligence’ and keep children safe:


Who can Licensees contact if they are concerned about child sexual exploitation (CSE)?

If anything in the child sexual exploitation section of this page gives you concern about a young person, you must pass this information onto the Police.  

Further information can be found in the ESCB leaflet for licensed premises


What is the process in respect of protection of children from harm?

Licensing applications for Essex County Council (not incl. Southend and Thurrock) need to be sent by email to the following address:

They will be considered by the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) who is based within the Quality Assurance and Safeguarding Children Service. 

Applications will be vetted to ensure that the licensing objective of protection of children from harm is met, and if the LADO is satisfied both the relevant District Licensing Officer and applicant are informed via email.

Where insufficient information is provided the applicant will be contacted and advised accordingly (and the relevant District Licensing Officer notified).

Where cases need further discussion this will be done through the relevant District Licensing Officers.

Applications will be logged on a database on receipt and outcomes noted as appropriate.


What are the requirements for safeguarding children under the Gambling Act 2005?

In September 2007 the Gambling Act 2005 came into force and replaced numerous pieces of legislation governing gambling activities.  The Gambling Act 2005 promotes safer practice at premises where gambling activities take place. 

Under the legislation, licensees and their operators have a legal responsibility to ‘protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling’. 

Essex County Council has a statutory responsibility to ensure that licence holders operate in a way that safeguards children and young people

The risks to children will vary, depending upon the type of gambling activities taking place at the premises.  Children may be at risk of being:

There are a number of measures that gambling establishments can put in place to manage the risks to children: