Licensing guide: all you need to know

Cut through the red tape and avoid getting caught out with our guide to common licences and the circumstances in which you'll need them

Temporary Event Notice

You'll need it if: You're supplying alcohol at your event

What is it? A TEN is a licence supplied by your local authority that covers the supply of alcohol. It costs £21 and applies to events attracting fewer than 500 people.

When do I need it? A TEN is required for the supply of alcohol, including sale by retail and 'proxy' sales, which covers drinks included in the ticket price and donations for alcohol. This includes pre-paying for a ticket then getting a 'free' alcoholic drink as part of the ticket price. This means a TEN will be required for events including:

  • A disco with a bar
  • A wine-tasting evening
  • A festival where alcohol is sold through donations
  • A quiz where a glass of wine is included in the ticket price.

What else do I need to know? If you have more than 500 people at your event, a Premises Licence will cover you for events of up to 5,000 people and can be applied for through your local authority. You can circumnavigate this legislation by roping off an area for alcohol consumption at your event that can hold up to 499 people. This means a TEN would suffice, but always check that this is acceptable with your local authority.

Where can I find out more and how do I apply? Find out more via your local authority and the government website. If you are in England and Wales you can apply for a TEN online. Allow ten working days for applications to process.

Raffle licence (lottery licence)

You'll need it if: You're running a raffle where tickets are sold to the public, in advance.

What is it? A lottery licence allows you to sell raffle tickets prior to the event in a 'small society lottery'.

When do I need it? If you're planning to sell tickets prior to the event, off the society premises (ie not on school grounds) you will require a licence as this is a 'small society lottery'. To acquire a small society lottery licence, you will need to pay a small fee and comply with a range of regulatory requirements.

What else do I need to know? If you're running a raffle where tickets are sold on the day of the event, rather than in advance, this is called an 'incidental lottery', and no licence is required. Similarly, if tickets are sold in advance but only to society members or their guests rather than members of the public, and on the society premises, this falls under the terms of a 'private society lottery', and no additional licence is required. However, it's worth noting that a private society lottery cannot be advertised outside the society premises in any way, which includes sending flyers home in book bags, emailing parents or mentioning the raffle on a poster for a forthcoming event.

Where can I find out more and how do I apply? Visit the Gambling Commission for more information, or consult your local authority, where you can also register for a licence.

Music licence

You'll need it if: Music is being played at your event.

What is it? Prior to February 2018, organisations had to obtain separate music licences from two societies: PPL and PRS for Music. They have now come together to launch TheMusicLicence, which is a single licence that allows you to play or perform music in public.

When do I need it? If you play music in public, including radio or TV, or at live events, this is considered a 'public performance', and you need to get permission from the copyright holder to 'perform' music in public. TheMusicLicence grants you this permission and can be issued for the year or for an individual event. The cost of TheMusicLicence will be calculated as either a percentage of takings or a charge based on either the capacity of the area or attendance.

There are different tariffs, which vary according to the different types of music use. For example, a three-hour DJ set attended by 150 people currently costs £17.81 (+ VAT) under the Specially Featured Entertainment tariff. All schools should have a CEFM licence for curricular activities, but check what licences your school has in place, as they may already be covered for music outside of the standard curriculum.

What else do I need to know? If you play music outside of PPL PRS Ltd's control, you may need an additional licence from the copyright owner(s).

Where can I find out more and how do I apply? For more information, licence quotes and to purchase licences, visit PPL PRS Ltd.

Film licence

You'll need it if: You're screening a film for entertainment purposes, whether it's charged for or free of charge.

What is it? A film licence allows you to show a film to an audience at your event. It is a legal requirement to obtain permission from the copyright owners to show films outside the home or the cinema.

When do I need it? There are two film licences relevant to PTA fundraisers. An STSL (Single Title Screening Licence) provides cover for one-off events and starts from £83+VAT. Alternatively, you can purchase an annual licence (usually around £80) which allows you to screen films all year round, provided you don't charge a fee. In this case, you cannot make direct income from the film itself, but it's still possible to make a profit - by charging a set fee for drinks and snacks, for example.

What else do I need to know? Many PTAs believe their school's film licence covers their events, but the PVSL (Public Video Screening Licence) covers screenings in ad hoc scenarios, e.g. wet weather breaks, to its school staff and students only.

Where can I find out more and how do I apply? Get more details and apply for a licence at Filmbankmedia or The MPLC. Each company represents specific films and film studios, so if you're looking for a particular film, make sure it's listed on their website before purchasing a licence.

Where to find your local authority

Visit to find your local council.

Who should apply for licences?

The event organiser should apply for the required licences, meaning if it's a PTA event then someone from the PTA needs to apply rather than the school.

Legislation can alter widely depending on the type of event, activities involved and number of people attending. Always check with your local authority to confirm how any legislation might apply to your event. This is a brief overview of the different types of licences PTAs may require - be sure to visit the relevant websites to find out more.

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.