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Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS)

The main purpose of the designated premises supervisor (DPS) is to ensure that there is always one specified individual, among other Personal Licence holders employed at the venue, to take day-to-day responsibility for running the premises. This person will therefore occupy a pivotal position and will deal with the Responsible Authorities for problems associated with the premises licence.

In every licensed premises that is authorised for the sale by retail of alcohol, one personal licence holder must be specified as the DPS. A DPS does not have to be present at the licensed premises at all times but they must be easy to contact when not present.

The government considers it essential to summarise the role of the Designated Premises Supervisor under the Licensing Act 2003 and has produced a fact sheet for your guidance.  Download the Fact Sheet (pdf 194KB). To use it, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this on your computer, please use our advice page.

The DPS must be easily contactable by any of the responsible authorities. If the DPS is not going to be at the premises, they must leave contact details with their staff.

It is also best practice to notify your staff that you are the DPS of the premises. Should anyone wish to discuss any issues regarding the premises, they should contact you rather than discuss it with your staff as the information may not be forwarded correctly and it may be seen that you are not dealing with matters.

If the council and police licensing team are unable to contact you in a reasonable timescale, it may result in further action. For example, it could be seen that you are in breach of a mandatory condition of your licence and you may face prosecution and/or your premises maybe reviewed to remove you as the DPS.

Existing DPS

As DPS, you are expected to know all the conditions on your premises licence and to have made provisions with your staff so that none of these conditions are breached. You are also required to know the hours you are authorised for the licensable activities you have been granted by the Licensing Authority. Should you be found to be operating outside of your licence by way of increase of hours or holding an activity that you are not licensed to do so may result in legal action taken against the DPS and Premises Licence Holder (even if you are not on the premises at the time of the offence). A responsible authority or interested party may also call for a review of the premises licence.

If you have any problems at the premises please call the relevant authorities for advice and support. The responsible authorities would rather hear incriminating information given by the DPS than by finding out by other means. It is the council's policy to work with licensees to assist them with the implementation of the four licensing objectives. It is expected that during an enforcement visit made by any of the responsible authorities or authorised officer (licensing enforcement officers) that the DPS makes time to speak and assist officers in completing their duties and to provide all the legal requirements as per the Licensing Act 2003, such as producing the Premises Licence, showing where the summary is on display, producing their personal licence.

Firstly, the council licensing enforcement team will notify you if it is not happy with the way you have handled a situation or if it feels that you are not doing your role satisfactorily. If the team feels that the situation has not improved, the council and police licensing enforcement teams may speak with the Premises Licence Holder and/or company for which you work.

If an appointed DPS is considering leaving

At any time the DPS is no longer responsible for the premises, the premises must immediately cease the sale of retail of alcohol until a new DPS has been officially appointed by way of application to the council. At any time a DPS is no longer a personal licence holder, they are no longer authorised under the Premises Licence and the premises must cease the sale of alcohol until the relevant application has been submitted.

If you no longer wish to be the DPS for the premises you will need to complete a form to withdraw your consent from the premises. Until this is completed, even if you leave the premises, you are still held accountable and could be prosecuted for licensing offences taking place in your absence.   You can contact the licensing unit to get this form or you can download this form.

You can download this form withdrawing consent to be designated premises supervisor (92.8KB).  To use these files you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this on your computer, please use our advice page.

Police objection

The police may object to the designation of a new DPS where, in exceptional circumstances, they believe that the appointment would undermine the crime prevention objective.

Preliminary meeting

The council and the police may ask an applicant to attend a meeting before taking up their duties as a DPS to ensure that the licensing objectives are understood clearly by those responsible for the licensed premises.  In most cases the council and police licensing officers will make a visit to the premises within three months of the DPS being appointed.


If the police object to the application on the grounds of crime prevention, the council will arrange a hearing at which the issue can be considered. As the Licensing Act 2003 (the Act) provides that the applicant takes up their post as DPS immediately, the hearing will determine whether or not to remove an individual from this post.

The council must confine its considerations to issues of crime and disorder. Applicants will be provided with the full reasons for any decision that is made.

Review of licences

The police can, at any stage after the appointment of the DPS, seek a review of a Premises Licence on any grounds relating to the licensing objectives, if anxieties arise about the performance of the DPS.


If an application is refused for any reason, the applicant will be entitled to appeal against the decision at a magistrate's court. Similarly, if the application is granted despite a police representation, the chief officer of police is entitled to appeal against the council’s decision.

Applying to become a DPS

You can apply to be a designated premises supervisor when you apply for a premises licence or when you are changing a DPS on an existing licence.


Closure Order

Any person who permits premises to be open in contravention of a magistrate's Closure Order is liable, on conviction, to a fine of up to £20,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three months.

Obstructing the police or the council

Any person who obstructs a police officer or an authorised council officer from entering licensed premises to investigate whether a licensable activity is being carried on is liable to a fine if convicted. Any person who obstructs an authorised council officer from entering premises to inspect them in relation to the grant of a licence, Provisional Statement, variation or review of a licence is also liable to a fine if convicted.

Failure to produce a licence

Any person who fails to produce their Personal Licence or Premises Licence (or certified copy) to a police officer or authorised council officer for examination is liable to a fine if convicted.

Notifying relevant persons

If someone applies for a variation, refusal, transfer of licence or Interim Authority and fails to notify the DPS, he or she will be liable to a fine on conviction.

Unauthorised licensable activities

A person commits an offence if they:

  • carry on or attempt to carry on a licensable activity on or from any premises without authorisation;
  • knowingly allow a licensable activity to be carried on or from any premises without authorisation.

These offences cover premises that are entirely unlicensed or relate to breaches of the terms and conditions included in licences and certificates where a person operates licensable activities outside the agreed authorisation set by the council.

Please note that the information above is not legal advice. Legislation and procedures may change over time and the advice given is based on the information available at the current time. It is not necessarily comprehensive and will be subject to revision in the event of further government guidance and regulations. This advice is not intended to be a definitive guide to or substitute for the relevant law.

The council is happy to provide information but cannot give advice on individual applications. Please seek legal and professional advice.

For more information contact Licensing Unit by telephone: Licensing Services - 01634 337107 or 337108 / Enforcement - 01634 337112 or 337106 or by email: licensing@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Licensing Unit, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR