Licensing - Changing Sides, by Linda Cannon


Licensing - Changing Sides

I had a 28-year career in Local Government first in Environmental Health, then when the Licensing Act 2003 was enacted I headed up a bespoke Licensing Team managing the administration of almost all Local Authority licensing regimes, eventually across 2 Councils,

Licensing is a fascinating area with so many diverse arms, from visiting a home dog boarder or a betting shop, to dealing with barristers and large pub chains and the Courts in respect of alcohol and entertainment licensing, sometimes all on the same day.  The almost daily new challenges fostered an interesting and fascinating career in Local Government.

Managing a shared service added further dimensions to that role,  dealing with two sets of elected members on Licensing Committees, two very different local economies and cultures, whether it be the night time economy offer, or the different specification of the local taxi and private hire vehicles. I would say I really had a passion for licensing.

Having achieved the ripe old age of 56 I reached a crossroads and faced a decision (of my own making), whether to remain in Local Government doing what I loved or try a new approach utilising my licensing skills and experience in a field of work that continued to evolve and fascinate.

In 2017 I made the bold decision to ‘go out on my own’. I took early retirement and set up as a Licensing Consultant and Trainer.

Learning about marketing, social media, accounting, tax returns, issuing invoices and everything else that goes with being self-employed (including not getting paid the same day every month and chasing overdue payments) was a huge learning curve but all part of the day job and it does get easier.

As a licensing consultant supporting businesses, my knowledge of how Local Authorities generally work and think is a huge asset and helps when preparing applications for premises licences, which also prevents the likelihood of invalid applications.

My operational experience provides essential help when looking at the practical elements of how a business is operated. Having worked in a legislative role I can also help businesses better understand the technicalities of the law that regulates them.

As a trainer, I share my knowledge and experience across a range of licence types and I can try to help delegates really identify how the various legislation and guidance can be used in their day to day operational role and how they can effectively apply the law in specific areas.

My self-employed role would not be as achievable as it has been without my long Local Government service and I feel businesses, officers, delegates and elected members benefit from a very balanced partnership style approach that I endeavour to offer.

People often ask if I enjoy working for ‘the other side?’

My reply is that I may no longer have the security of a regular Local Government job but I do have a job that provides me with the pleasure and the privilege of working for all sides.