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Guidance for License Holders - Safeguarding Children on Licensed Premises

Licensed Premises - Safeguarding Children


The protection of children from harm is a national licensing objective. The term "Children" refers to all babies, children and any young people i.e. from birth till their 18th birthday. Although the licensing act uses the words "child protection" or "protecting children from harm" it relates to safeguarding children and young people in its widest sense. Likewise it is not only associated with the sale of alcohol to children but the wider dangers such as:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Substance Misuse
  • Witnessing or being victims of perpetrators
  • Anti-social Behaviour

This guidance is for all staff (paid or unpaid) involved in premises, which have been licensed under The Licensing Act 2003. This includes:

  • Cinemas,
  • Clubs,
  • Department stores,
  • Festivals,
  • Hot Food Takeaways
  • Off Licenses,
  • Pubs,
  • Restaurants,
  • Shops and,
  • Sports venues,

Many of which, children can walk into without an adult. It will give some basic information about what to do if you are concerned about a child and should be read in conjunction with the Licensing Act 2003.

Safeguarding Children

The Licensing Act 2003 initiated efforts to ensure the provision of a family friendly culture at licensing premises, which Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council (SBC) Children's Services want to support, whilst at the same time working with licensees to safeguard children. This guidance has been produced for licensees and we would be pleased to receive feedback on its content and how we can work together more effectively to achieve better outcomes for children based on increase awareness of our mutual roles.

Government Guidance

The Government state that everyone working in an environment where there may be children present should safeguard and promote the well-being of children. To do this all adults must follow the Government Guidance published by the DfES (Department for Education and Skills) What to do if you're worried a child is being abused.

If you have concerns or require advice regarding the welfare of a child please contact the Stockton & Hartlepool Children's Hub:

Telephone 01642 130080 or 01429 284284,


or Police: Tel: 101/999.

Training and Competence

All owners/licence holders and their staff should have a basic awareness of safeguarding issues, this includes:

  • Being alert to the possibility of child abuse and neglect.
  • Having enough knowledge to recognise an abusive or potentially abusive event or set of circumstances.
  • Knowing who to raise concerns with.
  • Being competent in taking the appropriate immediate or emergency action and
  • Knowing how to make a referral to the Children's Hub (Children's Services) and/or the Police.


The licensee is responsible for ensuring that they and their staff are familiar with, and competent in their responsibilities regarding how to safeguard children.

Basic Principles

If anyone involved with the licensed premises has concerns about a child's safety and or well-being then they must discuss these with the Children's Services via the Children's Hub or the Police at the earliest opportunity.

This may include concerns about a member of staff or suspicion that an activity taking place on the premises could place children at risk.

In any situation where there is a suspicion of abuse, the welfare needs of the child must come first (Children Act 1989) even where there may be conflict in interest e.g. where the suspected perpetrator may be a customer, client or employee/employer.

Protection for all

All children must be safeguarded from harm and exploitation whatever their:

  • Race, Religion, First Language or Ethnicity
  • Gender or Sexuality
  • Age
  • Health, Ill-health or disability
  • Location or placement (e.g. living alone, in a hostel or residential unit, with their Family or a Foster Family, as a tourist in a hotel etc)
  • Criminal or offensive behaviour
  • Wealth or lack of it