Mandatory Licensing Conditions (Amendment) Order 2014

Having only just introduced a new Mandatory Condition in respect of the Permitted Price, the government have now sprung a revised set of Mandatory Conditions on Licensed Hospitality Industry which will take effect from 1st October 2014.

Introduced as an amendment to existing legislation, the revised Mandatory Conditions will not be subject to any consultation period.

The revision clarifies and strengthens the existing mandatory conditions; the following mandatory conditions are affected by the new legislation:

  1. The Provision of Smaller Measures Must be Offered and  a Notice of their Availability Given
  2. An Age Verification Policy Must be in Place.
  3. No Alcohol May be Dispensed Directly Into the Mouth of Another Person.
  4. The Responsible Person Must Ensure that Staff Do Not Carry Out, Arrange or Participate in Any Irresponsible Promotions.

In a series of article on our website we will try and explain how the changes may affect our client’s businesses and how they may have to amend their current operating procedures or business plans. In our first article of the series we will examine the strengthening of the mandatory condition in relation to Smaller Measures.

Provision of Smaller Measures

The existing requirement for premises to make the smallest measure of a drink available (125ml glass of wine, ½ pint of beer or cider, single 25ml or 35ml spirit) and for a notice of their availability to be given, is being strengthened.

The proposal is effectively trying to counter the common practice of bars and restaurants who ‘circumnavigate’ this requirement by adding a line in small print to the bottom of their menus which notifies customers that these measures are available.

Under the new guidance the smallest, these smaller measures will have to ‘be displayed in a menu, price list or other printed materials available in the premises’. Effectively if you advertise wine by the glass you will have to display the 125ml measure and it’s price alongside any other sizes you may choose to offer your customers. The same goes for half pints of beer and cider and single (25ml or 35ml) measures of spirits.

It may be worth noting at the same time that the Weights & Measures Act stipulates that wine can be sold in measures of 125ml or 175ml or multiples thereof. Therefore if you are going to advertise a large glass of wine it should be a 175ml glass; the 250ml size should be advertised as a ‘250ml Glass’ to ensure compliance.

The guidance goes on to require premises to make customers aware of the smaller measures where they do not specify the quantity of the drink ordered.

For example if a customer orders a ‘glass of red wine’ the member of staff would need to verbally inform them of the smallest measure available; in this case 125ml. The member of staff can also offer them the other sizes available at the premises, but the law now compels them to offer the smallest measure alongside these other measures.

If a customer asks for ‘a Heineken’ the member of staff would be compelled to offer either ‘a half pint or a pint’; however if the client asks for ‘a pint of Heineken’ then as both the measure and brand have been requested, the member of staff does not need to offer the half pint option.

The guidance to this newly strengthened condition does provide some flexibility as it state that:

'Where a customer orders a drink listed above [wine, beer, cider or spirits] but does not specify the alcohol measure, the customer should be made aware of the range of measures available. This can be either verbally or by ensuring they have seen the printed materials on which their availability is listed. If the responsible person is satisfied that the customer has been made, and continues to be, aware of the range of measures available, the responsible person does not need to repeat that information in relation to each sale.'

We would interpret this to mean that in a normal bar / pub situation the customer would need to be verbally informed as they are unlikely to have viewed a menu. However in a restaurant they will normally have viewed the menu before they order and therefore will already be aware of the smallest measure and it will thus not need to be repeated; providing the menu complies with the regulation to print the smallest measure, in the same size font and location as other measures.

However the hospitality industry is never that easy. The following scenario will be familiar in any restaurant:

A customer sits down and is handed a menu and before they even open it, they order drinks. In this case as they have not yet looked at the menu they would need to be offered the smallest measure as well as other measures verbally, unless they specify it when they order.

This condition does not apply to those premises selling beer and wine only in pre-sealed measures such as bottles.

We Can Help

Our licensing consultants can provide assistance and guidance on all licensing matters as well as on operational procedures and future marketing campaigns to ensure compliance with all current legislation under the Licensing Act 2003 and associated legislation.

Please contact us on 01784 434 392 or email us at

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Author - Peter Mayhew is the Managing Director of Beyond the Blue Training & Consultancy. He delivers training courses and provides expert opinion on alcohol & entertainment licensing for individuals, organisations and public bodies. Peter is a frequent contributor to industry publications.

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Page Updated: 21st September 2014