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Agenda item

Gambling Act 2005 - Sheffield Joint Test Purchasing Strategy

Report of the Chief Licensing Officer



The Chief Licensing Officer submitted a report on the proposed implementation of a new joint multi-agency test purchasing strategy in gambling premises in the City.




Shimla Finch (Licensing Strategy and Policy Officer) introduced the report, which contained information on the purpose, objectives and aims of the proposed strategy, and attached the full strategy document, at Appendix ‘A’.




Members of the Committee raised questions, and the following responses were provided:-




·            There would be no accurate statistics available on the number of breaches involving children under 18 attending gambling premises until such time test purchases were carried out regularly throughout the City.  Whilst the multi-agency task group, which included representatives from the Gambling Commission, Sheffield Safeguarding Children Partnership, South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Trading Standards and the Licensing Authority, would agree arrangements for local test purchase operations, this had not been possible due to Covid-19.  It was hoped that when the strategy was implemented, and the test purchase operations commenced, the number of breaches would then become apparent.  Whilst test purchasing in gambling premises was a new strategy, Licensing Officers ensured compliance by visiting such premises to undertake inspections.




·            The reasoning behind the decision to implement review proceedings before the Licensing Sub-Committee if there was a third test purchase failure within a 12-month period was simply to keep the process in line with the Authority's other test purchasing schemes and enforcement strategies, which had worked well. Consideration would be given to taking action if the third failure was committed shortly after the 12-month period, if circumstances required it, with each case being determined on its own merits.




·            The arrangements for mystery shoppers to undertake test purchase operations were agreed with the police and Trading Standards.




·            If a premises failed on the first test purchase, it was more likely that visits would be made to the premises on the second and third occasions.




·            Following the first test purchase failure, the Authority would prefer to offer advice and assistance to the licensee, including the offer of training, rather than make the training a requirement at this stage.




·            More detailed discussions would be held with the multi-agency task group in connection with the number of test purchase operations of gambling premises as part of the implementation of the new strategy.




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)  notes the contents of the report now submitted, together with the comments now made and the responses to the questions raised;




(b)    requests that the report be referred back for consideration by the members of the multi-agency task group, with the amended wording, as follows, and referred back to this Committee for final approval:-




(i)             the substitution of the final sentence in paragraph 5.1 by the words “The licence holder be strongly advised to attend the training offered by the Sheffield Safeguarding Children’s Board”; and




(ii)            Paragraph 5.3 be reworded as “If a third test purchase failure occurs within a 12 month period, or shortly after this time, taking the other failures into consideration, we would implement review proceedings before the Licensing Sub-Committee, which could decide, among other decisions, to cancel the permit or impose conditions. Each case will be considered on its own individual merits and will be determined by the Licensing Committee”.







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