The clause relates to the OFT’s power to impose requirements on licensees, and supervisory bodies which hold a group licence. That power enables the OFT to respond proportionately to problems with a licensable business. When it is dissatisfied with certain matters, the OFT can impose a requirement on a licence holder to do something, to cease doing something, or not to do something in relation to that business.
The clause sets out the procedure for the OFT to impose requirements. It follows a similar pattern to other licensing decisions under the 1974 Act and it applies to both standard and group licences. If it is so minded, the OFT must issue a notice to the licensee to impose a requirement on him; to refuse to vary or revoke a requirement in the way that a person has requested; or to vary or revoke a requirement of its own motion.
That notice sets out the requirement the OFT intends to impose with the reasons why. The notice must also be issued to affected persons as defined in clause 40 of the Bill. Affected persons are the licensee, or the person who is referred to by name in the requirement who is prevented by the requirement from doing something connected with the licensee’s business.
Once a notice has been issued, the licensee or affected person has the right to make representations and to request an oral hearing under section 34 of the 1974 Act. If a person proposes a requirement to be imposed on himself, the notice procedure is not necessary allowing for a shorter, more convenient process. That means that if the OFT and the licence holder agree on the terms of the requirement, the licensee can propose the requirement and it can be implemented immediately without the period for representations.
The clause ensures a fair procedure for imposing requirements. It complements the implementation of other licensing determinations under the 1974 Act.
I have another quick question. The Minister mentioned that the clause reflects other drafting in the 1974 Act relating to the appeals structure. I draw the Minister’s attention to clause 32, which refers to revocation. In many ways, this clause follows the procedure on revocation of a licence. In clause 32 it says that a revocation shall not take effect before the end of the appeal period. Clearly, that protection is not built in here, and a requirement could be set and enforced even before the appeal had taken place. Would the Minister explain why that timing period has not been allowed for in this provision, while it is allowed if there is an appeal under section 32 of the Act?
I do not know the answer to that. If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I will come back to him.