The Licensing Act 2003 introduced:
- Flexible opening hours, with the potential for up to 24 hours opening, seven days a week, subject to consideration of the impact on local residents.
- A single licence for a premises or a club that provides 'licensable activities'. This includes the retail sale of alcohol, the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to a member or guest, the provision of regulated entertainment (including live music, theatre, cinema and indoor sport) and the provision of late night refreshment (between 11pm and 5am).
- A system of personal licences which allows holders to sell or serve alcohol for consumption on or off any premises possessing a premises licence.
- The issuing and granting of licences for all licensable activities is the responsibility of local councils.
Licence applications are always considered against the four licensing objectives set out in the Licensing Act 2003, namely:
- prevention of crime and disorder
- prevention of public nuisance
- promotion to public safety
- protection of children from harm.