Licensing and regulations for events and fundraising activities

This page contains basic information for community groups about rules governing whether you need to register your event or get a licence for your fundraising activities.

Raffles

Many small raffles don’t need to be registered. These are:

There are limitations to how these raffles can be run. See below for more information.

Raffles in which tickets are sold to members of the public in advance must be registered.

An incidental non-commercial lottery

This is a raffle that takes place during the course of an event – e.g. the tickets are sold and the raffle drawn during a meeting, fête or party.  It does not need to be registered. Tickets can only be sold at the event and the winners must be announced at the event. No more than £100 can be spent on organising costs, and no more than £500 can be spent on prizes. There are additional restrictions if you wish to have alcohol as prizes.

A private society lottery

This is a raffle where the sale of tickets is restricted to members of your society (club, group or organisation). It does not need to be registered. You can also sell tickets to non-members (guests) but only on your organisation’s premises. Proceeds must go to the organisation or another charitable purpose (after organising costs and prizes are deducted). There are additional restrictions if you wish to have alcohol as prizes.

A work lottery and a residents’ lottery

These include raffles in which tickets are only sold to:

  • people who all work on the same premises, or
  • people who all live on the same premises.

These do not need to be registered. If you are raising money for a good cause, you must promote this when selling the tickets. If you are not raising money for a good cause, all income must be spent on the costs of organising the lottery and buying prizes. There are additional restrictions if you wish to have alcohol as prizes.

A customer lottery

Businesses can organise lotteries for their customers. These do not need to be registered. Tickets must only be sold on the business’ own premises, to its customers. Prizes must be worth less than £50.

Customer lotteries cannot be used for fundraising. All money raised must go towards buying the prizes and organising the lottery. Each ticket must state: the price of the ticket; the name and address of the promoters; who is entitled to buy a ticket; and that tickets are non-transferable once they have been sold.

Society lotteries

A raffle that is run by a non-commercial society (such as a charity or community group), in which tickets are sold to members of the public in advance, is called a ‘Society Lottery’. These must be registered.

Small society lottery

If you sell less than £20,000 worth of tickets (and less than £250,000 worth over one year), your lottery is a “small society lottery”. These must be registered with your local authority. There is a small annual fee. In Brighton & Hove, contact the council’s Health & Safety and Licensing Team. You can download a form from the council website or request that they send you one. You should do this at least 28 days before you want to run your lottery. They will assess your application, including a police check for relevant offences, and issue a certificate if they are satisfied that you meet the criteria. You cannot start your lottery until a certificate has been received.

You should keep clear records of all money spent, all money received, and how many tickets each individual has taken to sell. This is so that all money and tickets can  be accounted for and you don’t lose track of what you have sold. When your raffle is finished you will need to complete another form showing how much money you collected, and how much you spent on expenses and prizes. You must do this within three months of running your raffle.

The main conditions for a small society lottery are:

  • It can only be used to raise money to for a good cause. At least 20% of the proceeds must go to this. Up to 80% can be spent on prizes and expenses. There must be no private gain.
  • No prize can be worth more than £25,000.
  • A member of your committee must be named as the ‘promoter’ and this must be agreed in writing by the committee.
  • Your raffle tickets can be paper or electronic, and must include the following information
    • the name of the group running the raffle
    • the name and address of the promoter (this can be the group’s address)
    • the date the raffle will be drawn
    • the price of the ticket (which must be the same for all tickets)
    • confirmation that the raffle has been registered with Brighton and Hove City Council.
    • There are free online programs you can use to design your own raffle tickets. You can print them at the Resource Centre.
  • Tickets can only be sold to those aged 16 or above.
  • Tickets cannot be sold in the street, but can be sold in a kiosk, shop or door-to-door.
  • See separate section about alcohol for regulations about having alcohol as raffle prizes.

Large society lottery

If you are selling tickets worth over £20,000 for one lottery, or you sell more than £250,000 worth of tickets in one year (in separate lotteries), your lottery is a “large society lottery” and must be registered with the Gambling Commission.

More information

For more information about running raffles and lotteries, contact Brighton & Hove Health & Safety and Licensing Team or the Gambling Commission.

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Bingo, race nights & casino nights

Bingo, race nights & casino nights are forms of what the Gambling Commission calls “Gaming”. There are two main types of gaming:

  • Prize Gaming: all the prizes are put up in advance and are not dependent on the number of players or amount of money collected.
  • Equal Chance Gaming: the amount of money paid out in prizes is dependent on how much is collected in admission charges and sale of tickets.

You need a licence to run Prize or Equal Chance gaming activities unless you are exclusively fundraising for a good cause (“non-commercial gaming“) or the gaming is run for a specific group of people in private premises, such as employees at a workplace, residents at a housing scheme or members of a sports club (“private gaming“).

Non-commercial gaming

  • You do not need a licence to play bingo or run a race night or casino night if you are playing for ‘good causes’. This is called “non-commercial gaming”.
  • For prize games, there is no limit on admission fees, ticket charges, or prize value.
  • For equal chance games, you cannot charge more than £8 total admission fee and ticket sales, and the total value of prizes at one event cannot exceed £600.
  • Players must be informed of the good cause that will benefit from the money raised.
  • No proceeds from the game, or from the event itself, can be for private profit. If anybody is making private gain from the game, or from the event at which it is held, it is not “non-commercial” and is likely to need a licence.
  • Non-commercial gaming cannot take place on a premises which already has a Gambling Licence (such as a casino).

Private gaming

  • Gaming is considered “private” if it takes place in a setting which does not have public access, such as a workplace, a housing scheme or for members of a society (such as a sports club or community group). You do not need a licence for private gaming.
  • You cannot charge an admission fee.
  • It cannot be open to the public.
  • The game cannot take place on premises which are licensed for running commercial gambling activities (such as a casino or bingo hall).
  • There must be no private gain – proceeds must either be given as prizes, given to the society running the event, or given to another good cause.
  • In most private contexts, only equal chance gaming is permitted. You can only run prize gaming if:
    • The game is being run to raise money for a good cause or society (i.e. it is non-commercial gaming), and/or
    • the game is being run in someone’s home, as part of a domestic activity,
    • or in a residential setting such as a housing scheme or halls of residence, (where it is not being run in the course of running a trade or business, and at least 50% participants are residents).

Other types of gaming

Gaming in other contexts usually requires a licence. This includes gaming on the premises of members’ clubs (such as Working Men’s Clubs).

More information

For more information about gaming licences, contact the Gambling Commission.

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Entertainment licences

If you are providing entertainment you may need two different licences:

Local council entertainment licences

Some types of entertainment require the premises to have an entertainment licence from the local authority.

In general, an event taking place at night between 11pm and 8am require an entertainment licence. In addition, the following types of activity generally require licences:

  • amplified live or recorded music with an audience of more than 500 people;
  • recorded music on premises not licensed for the sale or supply of alcohol;
  • a performance of a play or a dance to an audience of more than 500 people;
  • indoor sporting events with more than 1,000 spectators;
  • boxing or wrestling;
  • screening a film to an audience.

There are different types of local authority entertainment licence. These are:

  • a Premises Licence,
  • a Club Premises Certificate
  • a Temporary Event Notice.

If your event needs an entertainment licence,  check whether the venue has a Premises Licence or a Club Premises Certificate issued by the City Council. The licence must cover the activities you are organising, for example, some premises are licensed for music and dancing but not for stage and film shows. Your event will also have to take place in the premises’ licensed opening hours.

If the venue does not have a suitable licence, you will need to serve a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) on the Council and the Police at least 10 days before the event. TENs can cover events that last up to 96 hours and involve no more than 499 people.

You can download a Temporary Event Notice Application Form from the City Council website.

If you want to organise an event outdoors, eg a street party (see section 5 below) you need to contact the Council to find out if you should serve a Temporary Event Notice.

If you are in any doubt contact the Health & Safety and Licensing Team at Brighton and Hove City Council.

Who does not need an entertainment licence?

There are some situations in which you do not need an entertainment licence. Bear in mind that you may still need a separate licence to play copyrighted material.

You do not need an entertainment licence for

  • Unamplified live music events which take place between 8am and 11pm
  • Events including live or recorded music with an audience of less than 500, which take place between 8am and 11pm, in a premises which is licensed to serve alcohol
  • Events including live or recorded music, or not-for-profit film showings, with an audience of less than 500, which take place between 8am and 11pm in a community venue (such as a village hall or community centre)
  • Events including live or recorded music, with an audience of less than 500, which are organised by a third party on a school, local authority or hospital premises and take place between 8am and 11pm.
  • Events including any type of regulated entertainment, with any audience size, which are organised by a school, local authority or hospital on their own premises and take place between 8am and 11pm.
  • Events including live or recorded music, with an audience of less than 500, which take place between 8am and 11pm in a workplace.

Performing or playing copyright material

Music

If you want to perform music written by someone else, or if you want to play recorded music or video, the premises you are using will need a licence to play copyrighted music.

  • If your event includes live music you must check the venue has a Performing Rights Society (PRS) licence.
  • If you are playing recorded music you must check the venue has a PRS licence AND a Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) licence.
  • Community buildings run by voluntary organisations can buy a joint PRS and PPL licence.
  • For more information contact Phonographic Performance Limited or PRS for Music.

Film

If you wish to show a film in a place which is not a private home, you need a one-off licence giving you the right to show the film. You have to buy a new licence for every film. There are very few exceptions to this, one of which is that you do not need a licence to show a curriculum-based film in a state school.

To obtain a copyright licence to screen a film, contact Filmbank Distributors or Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) (copyright licensing distributors on behalf of all major film studios). For useful information about organising film showings, see BFI Neighbourhood Cinema.

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Alcohol

If you want to sell alcohol you should first check that the venue you are using has a Premises Licence and that there is a named ‘supervisor’ who holds a Personal Licence to sell alcohol. Alternatively it may have a Club Premises Certificate which includes the sale of alcohol. If it does not have either of these you can serve a Temporary Event Notice on the Council and the Police at least 10 days before the event at a cost of £21. You can download a Temporary Event Notice Application Form from the council’s website, or contact the Health & Safety and Licensing Team.

The provision of bottles of alcohol as prizes in raffles and tombolas is exempt from the licensing regulations, provided the the raffle/lottery fulfils certain conditions (The Licensing Act 2003 [Section 175]). These are:

  • The raffle must be promoted as an incidental event (i.e. it’s not the main event) within an ‘exempt entertainment’ – defined as a bazaar, sale of work, fete, dinner, dance, sporting or athletic event, or other entertainment of a similar character;
  • after deduction of expenses, the whole proceeds of the entertainment are applied for purposes other than private gain;
  • the alcohol is in a sealed container;
  • no prize is a money prize;
  • tickets are only issued when the entertainment takes place (i.e. tickets are not sold in advance)
  • the raffle/lottery is not the main inducement to attend
  • it is NOT permissible to sell tickets which can then be exchanged for an alcoholic drink, or to ask for a donation in return for alcohol.

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Events on public land

You have to apply to the council if you want to hold an event on public land. This includes, for example, public parks, streets, or the seafront. Permission for this needs to be arranged through the Events Office in advance. They can also help with advice and information about organising outdoor events. There is a charge for some events, but not all events. Your group will be required to have public liability insurance.

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Food & drink

Non-profit organisations can sell or provide free food and non-alcoholic drinks as long as food is prepared in a hygienic manner and complies with the Food Safety Act.

If you are providing food occasionally (i.e. less than once a month) or the foods you are providing are low risk foods (e.g. tea, biscuits, packaged foods stored at room temperature), then you don’t need to register or get any permission.

If your food activity is more regular, or you are providing higher risk foods (eg hot food or food that needs to be kept cold), then you may need to register with the Food Safety Team at Brighton & Hove City Council. See the Food Standards Agency guidance for charities and community groups for more details on who needs to register.

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership provide support and advice to community organisations organising food related activities.

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Street Collections

You need a Street Collection Permit to collect money in the street or in other public places.

You can download the application form from the council’s websit, or ask the Health and Safety Team to send them to you.

A Street Collection Permit will give you permission to collect money in a particular place, at a particular time. This means you need to know exactly where and when you wish to collect well in advance.

You will need to:

  • Apply at least 28 days in advance. Bear in mind that some areas (such as the town centre) and times (such as near Christmas) are very popular. You can ask the Health and Safety team whether a particular time and place is available before submitting your application.
  • Complete a straightforward application form.
  • Have a responsible person as the applicant for the licence.
  • Label all your collection tins and buckets with the name of your organisation.
  • Seal the collection tins with security labels.
  • Supply the Council with a ‘Form of Statement’ within a month of the collection. They will give you the form you need to complete when you get your permit. It’s important you complete it, or you might not get permission to collect again in future.

There is no charge for a Street Collection Permit.

Collection tins and buckets are available for hire at the Resource Centre free of charge. We provide security seals if you require them. If you are using your own collection tins you can purchase security labels/ringseals from Angal Ltd.

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Street Closures

Street Party

If you want close your street for a street party you need to get permission from the Council and apply for a temporary traffic regulation order. There is no charge for this. However, if there is a commercial or business element to your event there is an admin fee of £300.

The first step you need to take is to contact the Highway Events Team at the Council to find out if it is feasible for your road to be closed. Some roads are essential access routes for the emergency services and cannot be closed. If a nearby street is to be closed on the same day, the Council may not allow your street to close as well.

If it is feasible, you then need to find out if the majority of the people who live in the street are happy for it to be closed, and that no one has any strong objections. To do this you will need to take a petition door-to-door and get people to sign their names against their house number. The council’s guidance is that it is desirable to get a good majority of residents to sign.

Once you’ve got your petition signed, and at least 28 days before the date of your street party, contact the Council to apply for permission to close the road.

You will need to plan:

  • what signs you will put up before your event, and on the day, to notify road users of the road closure.
  • where you will put up barriers to prevent vehicles from entering.

You are responsible for placing the barriers and signs and for removing them again at the end of the event.

Streets Alive provide useful guidance and information about running street parties.

Street meet

If you are not able to close your road, you can still have an informal ‘street meet’ on a driveway, parking area, pavement, front garden or end of a cul-de-sac. This does not usually require permission from the council, but you may to check with them first. Then just pick a spot in the street to have your get-together.

Play Streets

You can apply for a regular (monthly) street closure for the purpose of street play. The procedure is the same as for a one-off street party, but you only need to apply once for dates up to a year ahead. The application form is available from the Highway events team.

Parades

If you are holding a parade and it is necessary to close any roads to ensure the safety of the participants you need to apply to the Events Office for a ‘temporary traffic regulation order’. Any costs associated with the closure, diversion signing and stewarding have to be borne by the event organisers.

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Crèches, children’s activities and work with vulnerable adults

Crèches and other childcare services are covered by the Children Act.

Most crèches need to be registered with Ofsted, but some small, one-off crèches don’t. For more information see Running a Crèche.

Some people are legally barred from doing certain types of work with children and vulnerable adults. You can check whether someone is barred by doing an Enhanced DBS disclosure with barred list check. For more information see Using the Disclosure and Barring Service.

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Updated November 2017

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