Licensing policies in Ealing

Risk assessment

The following information should help you understand and apply the fundamentals of the risk assessment approach to your operating schedule. If you feel the task remains unclear, you may need to consider contacting a consultant to assist you through the process.

Main terms
Hazard - the potential for something to cause harm or be non-compliant with legal requirements.
Risk - the likelihood that the hazard will actually be realised.

Define individual activities with reference to the four licensing objectives eg sale of alcohol, provision of musical entertainment, provision of children's entertainment etc, that take place on your premises.

For each activity, identify all relevant hazards eg children getting injured, the sale of alcohol to an under-age person, generation of noise nuisance etc. 

To each hazard, apply all the appropriate risk factors that will impinge upon its rating as high, medium, low or insignificant (or other similar criteria). For example, in relation to children getting injured the risk factors could include their number, age, level of supervision, presence of hazardous equipment, access/exits, location in premises, state of repair of premises etc.

Activities can be broken down into component risks, which can be related to the four licensing objectives. The objective should be to eliminate risks entirely where possible, or exercise controls that will minimise risks.

Risk factors

The type of risk factors that you might consider for each individual hazard (relevant to your business) might include the following:


  • nature, style and location of venue eg indoor/outdoor event
  • adequacy of ventilation, lighting and heating schemes
  • safety of access/egress for customers, staff etc – to and around premises
  • design constraints eg bottlenecks, poor counter design, reduced or inadequate facilities
  • adequacy of site-security eg fences, front-door, CCTV, lighting
  • suitability of emergency-vehicle access


  • type- lifting, seating, racking, electrical, gas-fired
  • maintenance and repair regimes - monitoring and reports
  • suitability of equipment – is it fit for purpose
  • specialist eg pyrotechnics, explosives, temporary, electrical
  • generation of noise or other nuisance
  • use of appropriate signs


  • age and type of clientele eg children, special needs and disabled, the elderly
  • staff abilities and training needs eg managers, supervisors
  • lack of appropriately trained staff eg door staff


  • type, frequency and duration of individual activities 
  • effects on staff, clientele, and local community
  • use of new procedures and practices
  • smoking policy
  • sale of alcohol, tobacco

The table below includes a few examples of risk factors and possible control measures in a nightclub and an off-licence.  It is not meant to be a comprehensive approach. Businesses must conduct thorough analyses of their own practices and procedures and devise suitable control measures where found necessary.


Licensing objectives

Crime and disorder

Public safety

Public nuisance

Children's safety

Risk factors

Customers getting hold of drugs

Fighting inside or outside premises

Under-age drinking

Premises overcrowded.

Inadequate fire safety procedures.

Blocked escape routes.

Excess heat build-up. 

Noisy customers leaving premises –affecting nearby residents

Excessively loud music affecting nearby residents

Under-age access might be an issue and the potential illegal sale of alcohol.



Drugs, weapons and glass policies implemented

Good door-security / use of CCTV

Proof-of-age policy

Crime Audit by Police

Capacity checks

Regular testing of fire equipment and alarms and checking fire escape routes

Adequate ventilation system.

Appropriate staff training

Signs promoting considerate behaviour

Staff intervention / assistance on customer departure.

Nuisance audit

Sound insulation work to structure

Use of noise limiters

Good door security.

Proof of Age card scheme

Signage supporting above measures.

See Sources of Information - Appendix 4 (A8) Statement of Licensing Policy


Licensing objectives

Crime and Disorder

Public Safety

Public Nuisance

Children's Safety

Risk factors

Under age sales of alcohol.

Potential for theft of stock and assaults on staff.

Till robbery

Poor housekeeping and state of repair in customer zone.   

Premises attracting people late at night – minor noise/anti-social behaviour issues

Underage sales

Children serving in family business- open to threats, intimidation etc.

Control  measures

Proof-of –Age policy and warning signs.

Crime Audit by Police.

Good counter/till design.

Use of CCTV if problems exist or perceived.

Staff properly supported by managers.

Staff trained and monitored on potential illegal sales of alcohol.

Maintenance and repair regime

Well trained staff

Good interior design.

Fire safety risk assessment.

Testing of fire appliances

Inform Neighbourhood Police of any problems.

Liaison with Council's Safer Ealing Unit and involvement in other community safety initiatives.

Children not to be left unsupervised, and barred from later evening work.

Staff trained and monitored not to sell to minors.

Appropriate signage.

Note: The council would normally rate a nightclub as a high-risk premises and the off-licence as medium/low risk, in terms of its Enforcement Policy. The rating will reflect how well a premises is being run and in turn, the inspection frequency.