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Write a host responsibility policy for your on-licence business or club

Be a responsible host

All on-license and club license businesses must submit a host responsibility policy with any application for a new or renewed alcohol licence.

It assists the District Licensing Committee (DLC) when it considers an application for new or renewed licences.

The policy should address how the premises will maintain the amenity and good order of the venue and how the applicant will deal with minors and intoxication. It should also show how the applicant will meet requirements for food and water, as well as low alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks.

If a premises runs large events or gatherings, the policy should also detail how the applicant will minimise the potential for alcohol related harm.

A basic policy needs to address the following points:

Minors

  • How will you ensure that all your staff are trained on their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 in relation to minors? One option is for staff to complete the online ServeWise training at alcohol.org.nz to learn about dealing with intoxication.
  • How will you ensure that all of your staff are aware of the designation of your business? This will determine ‘who’ is allowed on the premises and who can drink at your premises. Include the designation and what this means in terms of who is allowed on the business.
  • How will you ensure that all your staff are trained on their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 in relation to minors?
  • What instructions will you give staff to ensure they know how to identify and proactively deal with minors?
  • What strategies will you have in place to deal with minors? Are all staff fully aware of what forms of identification to request from potentially underage minors entering your business? Who will ask them to leave? Outline how you will ensure all staff are trained and will receive clear instructions on their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 in regards to minors.
  • Do you have appropriate signage displayed at every point of service regarding not serving minors? Include your commitment to always display such signage.

Preventing and dealing with intoxication

All staff must be trained in their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 to prevent intoxication on licensed business sites.

Staff need clear instructions to identify and proactively deal with intoxicated persons.

Noticing signs of intoxication early is essential to meeting the requirements of s.248 and s.249 of the act, prohibiting intoxication on licensed business sites.

  • How will you ensure all your staff are trained on their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 in relation to intoxicated patrons?
  • What instructions will you give to staff to make sure they know how to identify and proactively deal with potentially intoxicated persons?
  • What strategies will you have in place to deal with potentially intoxicated persons? Will you offer free soft drinks, tea, coffee to them? How will you slow their drinking down? Which staff have the authority to ask patrons to leave? What is the line of authority? Outline how you will ensure that all staff are trained and will receive clear instructions on their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 with regard to potentially intoxicated patrons.
  • Do you have appropriate signage displayed at every point of service regarding not serving intoxicated patrons? Include your commitment to always display such signage.

Serving food

The Act requires you to have food available at all times when your business is open and sells alcohol. Restaurants must always have meals available.

There is an expectation that food options will be promoted within the premises.

  • Is your signage promoting this food, clear and well positioned?
  • How will you ensure staff are aware of the food options (menu) available at all times?
  • Do you have a minimum of three different, substantial food options available at off-peak times?

The range and style of food must be similar in style and nature to the menu you supplied with your licence application. This can be a range of foods, such as; pies, sandwiches, filled rolls, pizzas, paninis, and the like.

You must describe the type and range of food.

A range is considered to be a minimum of three food options.

The DLC recently commented on a venue with the menu options; nuggets and fries, spring rolls and fries, samosas and fries, fries, wedges, steak and mince pies. The DLC said the menu should be considered the "bare minimum" and would not tolerate applicants paying "lip service" to the provisions of the Act. The venue subsequently changed the type and availability of food.

Non-alcoholic beverages

The Act requires a reasonable range of non-alcoholic refreshments to always be available when the business is open for the sale of alcohol. You must describe the type and range of non-alcoholic beverages available.

In addition, you need to provide water for free and have it readily available.

  • Do you always offer a range of non-alcoholic refreshments to patrons?
  • Do you have a commitment to offer free water to patrons at all times?
  • How are these non-alcoholic alternatives promoted? Are they promoted by signage, featured in the beverage menu, or both?

Low-alcohol beverages

The Act requires that low-alcohol refreshments are always available when the business is open for the sale of alcohol.

  • Do you offer low-alcohol refreshments to patrons?
  • How are these non-alcoholic alternatives promoted? Are they promoted by signage, featured in the beverage menu, or both?

Include a description of the low-alcohol refreshment you will have available, e.g. beer, and that it will be available at every bar and point of service by way of signage, or as a feature in the beverage menu.

Safe transport options

You need to provide assistance with or information about alternative forms of transport from your business for both staff and patrons.

  • What strategies do you have in place to ensure both staff and patrons get home safely from your business, e.g. actively promote hire-a-driver type scheme, make a telephone readily available to arrange sober transport (taxi or private), a courtesy van, or operate a designated driver scheme
  • How do you promote these alternative forms of transport to the public?
  • How do you ensure all staff are aware of these strategies?

Alcohol promotions

The Act creates offences and penalties for promotions or activities deemed to be irresponsible. When you need to promote your licensed premises, take care not to hold promotions that conflict with the Act.

You will need to give a commitment that no promotions encouraging the rapid consumption of alcohol or an excessive volume of alcohol will be carried out by any staff member.

Safe environments and being a good neighbour

Part of being a good host involves maintaining a safe environment and being a good neighbour. It is expected that you will make a commitment in your policy to:

  • ensure empty glasses and bottles are cleared promptly
  • do not tolerate disorderly or offensive behaviour on the premises
  • regularly check to ensure the toilet facilities are kept clean, safe and available
  • always be mindful of the need to manage noise so as not to disturb neighbours.
  • ensure doors and windows will as much as possible be kept shut to reduce the flow of noise from the premises
  • remind customers using external areas of the need to be considerate of neighbours
  • make sure bottles are not emptied into outside rubbish bins at a time that could annoy neighbours.

Clubs and customers

For clubs, your policy should set out how the club will ensure that only club members, their accompanied guests, and members of clubs with reciprocal visiting rights are sold or supplied alcohol.

Writing your own policy

To help you create your own host responsibility policy, the licensing inspector, police, and the Medical Officer of Health have drafted an example template of what they believe is the minimum required standard acceptable to the DLC.

This template can be adjusted (especially those parts mentioned in red) depending on the type of premises you run.

​More information

To learn more, see the online brochure Creating a responsible drinking environment and related resources at alcohol.org.nz

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