Licensing guide: all you need to know

Everything your PTA needs to know about licenses for events and fundraisers. Get the right licence and cut through the red tape

Selling alcohol: Temporary Event Notice

What is it? A TEN is a licence supplied by your local authority that covers the supply of alcohol. It costs £21 and applies to events attracting fewer than 500 people.

When do I need it? You need a TEN if you plan to sell alcohol at your event. This includes sale by retail and 'proxy' sales, where a 'free' drink is included as part of the ticket price. A TEN is required for events including:

  • A disco with a bar
  • A wine-tasting evening
  • A quiz where a glass of wine is included in the cost of admission.

What else do I need to know? If your event is likely to attract more than 500 people, you'll need a Premises Licence which can also be applied for through your local authority. It may be possible to go ahead with only a TEN if you cordon off an area for alcohol consumption, but you must check with your local authority first.

Where can I find out more and how do I apply? Find out more via your local authority and the government website. In England and Wales, you can apply for a TEN online. Allow ten working days for applications to process.

Raffles and lotteries: small society lottery registration

What is it? Sometimes, known as a 'small society lottery licence', this registration allows a PTA to run a 'small society lottery'.

When do I need it? If you're planning to sell tickets to the public prior to the day of the draw or off the society premises (ie, not on the school grounds) you will need to register with your local authority, pay a small fee and comply with some regulatory requirements such as wording on tickets. This includes raffles held online.

What else do I need to know? If you're running a raffle as part of a larger event where tickets are only sold on the day, this is known as an 'incidental lottery', and no registration is required. Similarly, if tickets are sold in advance but only to society members or their guests and on the society premises, this falls under the terms of a 'private society lottery' and no registration is required. However, it's worth noting that a private society lottery cannot be advertised outside the society premises in any way, which includes sending flyers home in book bags, emailing parents or mentioning the raffle on a poster for a forthcoming event.

Where can I find out more and how do I apply? Visit the Gambling Commission for more information, or contact your local authority.

Playing music: TheMusicLicence

What is it? Under The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, permission is needed from the people who create music in order to perform or play recorded versions in public. TheMusicLicence gives your PTA this permission.

When do I need it? If you want to play music in public, for example over the PA at the summer fair or at a school disco, this is considered a 'public performance' and will require a licence. TheMusicLicence from PPL PRS covers most copyright holders and can be issued for a year or an individual event. The cost of TheMusicLicence will be calculated as either a percentage of takings or a charge based on either the capacity of the area or attendance.
Many schools should have this licence in place and it may cover PTA activities as long as all funds raised go to the school.

What else do I need to know? If you want to play music not managed by PPL PRS, you may need an additional licence from the copyright owner(s). You don't need a licence to play royalty-free music.

Where can I find out more and how do I apply? For more information, quotes and to purchase TheMusicLicence, visit PPL PRS.

Showing a film: single title licence and umbrella licence

What is it? A licence gives your PTA legal permission to show films.

When do I need it? If you're screening a film for entertainment purposes, regardless of whether there's an admission charge, you'll need a licence. There are two types of film licences most relevant to PTA fundraisers. A single title licence is issued for one-off events whereas an annual umbrella licence allows you to screen films all year round, provided you don't charge a fee.

What else do I need to know? The school's film licence doesn't cover PTA events. The PVSL (Public Video Screening Licence) only covers screenings in ad-hoc scenarios eg, wet weather breaks, to school staff and pupils only.

Where can I find out more and how do I apply? Get more details and apply for a licence at Filmbankmedia or MPLC. Each company represents specific films and film studios, so if you're looking for a particular film, make sure it's listed on their website before purchasing a licence.

Find your local authority

Visit gov.uk/find-local-council to find your local council.

Who should apply for licences?

The event organiser should apply for any licences required. For a PTA-run event, this means the PTA rather than the school. Legislation can alter widely depending on the type of event, activities involved and number of people attending. Always check with your local authority to confirm how any legislation might apply to your event. Visit the relevant licensing websites to find out more.

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.

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