Your Comprehensive Guide to Becoming a Designated Premises Manager in Scotland

Your Comprehensive Guide to Becoming a Designated Premises Manager in Scotland


In Scotland, a designated premises manager (DPM) is required under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. The DPM is responsible for ensuring that the premises where the alcohol is sold or served comply with licensing laws and regulations, including issues related to public safety, prevention of crime and disorder and protection of children from harm. They play a crucial role in maintaining the safe and responsible operation of licensed premises. The DPM is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a licensed establishment. It is crucial to keep your premises licence up to date because it authorises the legal sale of alcohol on your premises. Failure to maintain a valid licence could result in penalties, closure of the establishment, or legal consequences. The DPM plays a key role in ensuring compliance with licensing regulations, contributing to a safe and responsible environment in the sale and consumption of alcohol. To become a DPM in Scotland you typically need to follow these steps:

  1. Gain relevant experience: Acquire experience working in a licensed premises such as a bar or restaurant.  Familiarise yourself with the day-to-day operations and responsibilities.
  2. Complete a personal licence course: undertake a personal licence holder course, which covers the legal and social responsibilities associated with alcohol sales you must pass an exam at the end of the course.
  3. Apply for a personal licence: submit a personal licence application to your local council, this involves providing proof of your completed training, along with other required documents. This is usually at a fee of £50.
  4. The Designated Premises Manager (DPM): once you have obtained your personal licence you can apply to become a designated personal premises manager. This involves submitting an application to your local council, stating your intent to be the DPM for specific licensed premises. You can only be a DPM within one premises at a time. The current licence holder or agent acting for the licence holder who must sign the minor variation to change the premises manager and not the person who wants to be the new DPM.
  5. Approval process: the council will review your application, and if everything meets the requirements they may approve you as the Designated Premises Manager.
  6. Ongoing compliance: as a DPM it’s crucial to say updated on licensing laws and ensure that the premises comply with regulations. Attend any required training sessions in the new personal licence as required. Keep in mind that specific requirements may be by region so it’s essential to check with your local council for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Please remember to check that your premises licence reflects your current operations and if you have had a change of manager that you have submitted a variation to your local licensing Board to update your premises licence. Should you need any DPM advice or assistance to submit a variation, please contact Karen Gatherum, Solicitor in our Licensing team by emailing

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