Licensing Assistant

Licensing assistants help licensing officers ensure that private hire vehicles are safe and that public entertainment premises abide by health and safety regulations and local by-laws. They protect the public from irresponsible coach operators or pub and club owners, for example. That is why the Licensing Officer is sometimes called an enforcement officer.  The post may also be found in the Chief Executive and Town Clerk's Department, Legal Practice in the corporate directorate or in the Community Protection area.

Work Environment
This is both office based and at outside premises where officers and their assistants may go to inspect dog kennels which require a licence to run their business, for example. If they are not managed properly, then they will have to close until the licensing staff is satisfied. They also inspect vehicles in places such as bus stations and taxi ranks.

Daily Activities
Assistants support the officers in the daily enforcement of licensing regulations in the authority. They will help them deal with taxi cab drivers' applications for a licence and monitor their compliance with the rules as well as visit places of public entertainment like discos, skating rinks and so on. This entails checking with the police, the fire brigade, environmental heath officers and the public to see if there are any objections to a venture being allowed to operate. When you see heavy lorries being pulled into checkpoints off the highway for weighing and checking for safety, the licensing officer team will be involved alongside the police. In the course of their duties they will also: 

  • compile and maintain registers, files and record cards and the input of data into the licensing computer system;
  • liaise with all statutory bodies and officers of other council directorates concerning licensing matters;
  • deal with enquiries from the general public and solicitors in private practice and give advice;
  • prepare committee reports, arrange and attend meetings;
  • attend magistrates' courts, licensing board meetings and disciplinary hearings
  • keep up to date with current licensing law;
  • attend meetings with trade associations and representatives of proprietors and licensees;
  • mediate between people who make official complaints and the proprietors they are complaining about;
  • prepare summonses.

Skills & Interests
Licensing assistants must have: 

  • good communication skills;
  • good organisational skills;
  • a commitment to quality customer care;
  • diplomacy and tact;
  • supervisory skills;
  • flexibility;
  • the ability to work under pressure and cope with aggression;
  • negotiation skills;
  • report writing skills;
  • a head for figures;
  • the ability to work in a team.

It is essential that they have working experience of:

  • public service procedures, preferably within the regulatory licensing field;
  • direct contact with the public to an administrative level;
  • awareness of licensing legislation;
  • awareness of council policies, including equal opportunities.

It is expected that licensing staff will be computer literate and can apply new technology. They should also have a car and a full, clean driving licence.

Entry Requirements
A minimum of four GCSEs grade A-C or equivalent, two of which should be in English and Maths. Or an appropriate Public Administration/Legal qualification to Part 1 level of the Institute of Legal Executives or equivalent is required by most councils.

Experience of attending court in a professional capacity and of supervising staff is usually looked for and you would be expected to have a working knowledge of national and local legislation regarding licensing of hackney carriage and private hire trades.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
Depending on the size of the council, promotion prospects are good. You can progress to licensing officer and then to senior licensing officer with responsibility for several licensing/enforcement officers and administrative staff.  It is an area of growing demand.

Further Information & Services
Institute of Legal Executives 
National Association of Licensing & Enforcement Officers 
The Law Society

 You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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