Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Race Equality Scheme

Orkney Islands Area Licensing Board

Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005

Orkney Islands Area Licensing Board ("the Board") is the Board for the local government area of Orkney Islands in terms of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 and the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

In terms of the legislation the Board comprises eight members of Orkney Islands Council ("the Council") elected at the first Council meeting following each ordinary Council election.

The Board must consist of such number of members (being not fewer than five and not more than 10) as may be determined by the Council. While the Board's members are also members of the Council, the board is a separate legal body and operates independently of the Council.

The Board is responsible for administrating the liquor licensing system under the 1976 and 2005 Acts within the Orkney Islands Area.

The Board also deals with the suspension of licences on receipt of complaints from statutory consultees.

All revenue received by the Board for licence application fees must be transferred to the Council.

The Council is responsible for providing accommodation for Board meetings and for all necessary expenses in respect of Board proceedings. All staff servicing the Board are appointed and employed by the Council.

Section 71(1) of the Race Relations Act 1976 as amended.

Section 71(1) of the Race Relations Act 1976 as amended by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 gives public authorities the general duty to promote race equality. The Licensing Board is a public authority for the purpose of section 71(1).

The general duty requires such authorities to have regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination.
  • Promote equality of opportunity.
  • Promote good race relations.

In practice this will mean ensuring that the duty is central to the way the Board carries out any functions where race equality is relevant. In the context of the Act, and the relevant statutory code of practice:

  • The term "functions" means the full range of a public authority's duties and powers, including internal and external functions, and service delivery.
  • The term "policies" is used to mean an authority's formal and informal decisions on how it carries out its duties and uses it powers.
  • The term "relevant" means having implications for or affecting the general duty.
  • A function or policy will be relevant if it has, or could have, implications of any kind for promoting race equality.
  • The general duty provides the Board with a challenge to review its functions and policies. In supporting the general principles of race equality, the Board will seek, where appropriate, to build the general duty into its structures and future activities.

Article 2 of the Race Relations Act 1976 (Statutory Duties) (Scotland) Order 2002

Article 2 of the above Order places a duty on the Board to prepare and publish this Race Equality Scheme.

Under article 2 the Board is required in this Scheme to identify those of its functions and policies, or proposed polices, which it has assessed as relevant to its performance of the general duty to promote race equality.

This scheme shall also state the Board's arrangements for:

  • Assessing and consulting on the likely impact of its proposed policies and promotion of race equality.
  • Monitoring  its policies for any adverse impact on the promotion of race equality.
  • Publishing the results of such assessments, consultation and monitoring.
  • Ensuring public access to information and services it provides.
  • Training staff in connection with the general and particular duties to promote race equality.
  • The scheme is intended to cover the period 5 March 2009 to 4 March 2012 and will be subject to review at the end of that period.

Board Policies and Functions

How did the Board assess the relevance of its policies and functions to the general duty to promote race equality.

Relevance of policies and functions to the general duty is about how much the policy or function affects people as members of the public.

In assessing the relevance of the Board's policies and functions to the general duty to promote race equality, the following questions were asked:

  • Whether, and how, each of the three parts of the general duty – eliminating discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity and promoting good race relations – applied.
  • Which racial groups were affected.
  • Whether there was any reason to believe that people were, or could be, differently affected because of their racial group.

Board Policies

The Board's policies fall into three main categories:

  • Policies on the hours of grant for regular or occasional extensions of permitted hours and occasional licences and permissions.
  • Various environmental health policies relating to standards on licensed premises as required by various items of legislation, for example sanitary accommodation.
  • Policies delegating various powers to the Clerk to the Board to deal with certain types of applications

These policies have been assessed to determine whether they are relevant to the Board's general duty to promote race equality. It is considered that the policies are not relevant to the general duty for the following reasons:

  • The policies for the hours of grant are formulated on the basis of the type of licence held for particular licensed premises. The policies are designed to strike a balance between the interests of the licensees, people frequenting licensed premises and the general public owning or occupying property in the vicinity of licensed premises. As such they apply equally to all groups in society and there is no reason to believe that people are, or could be, affected different by the policies because of their racial group.
  • The Environmental Health policies are in the main statutory requirements and they apply equally to all licensed premises. Accordingly, they apply equally to all groups in society and there is no reason to believe that people are, or could be, affected differently by the policies because of their racial group.
  • Policies relating to the delegation of powers to the Clerk to the Board are personal to the Clerk and as such are not relevant to the general duty to promote race equality. However, the way in which the delegated powers are exercised is considered relevant to the general duty and this matter is dealt with in the paragraph below.

Board Functions

Broadly, the Board's functions are to process, consider and determine applications for licences, permits, certificates and permissions under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976, the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and various other statutes.

It is considered that these functions are relevant to the general duty to promote race equality imposed on the Board by section 71(1) of the Race Relations Act 1976. The exercise of the Board's functions could have implications for promoting race equality.

The Board is a regulatory body in that the service it delivers regulates principally the use of premises for the sale of alcohol and the operation of betting facilities. It is a demand led service in that it’s only deliverable when a relevant application is made to the Board.

In processing, considering and determining licensing applications the Board will ensure that its processes do not discriminate against any racial group. In particular, the Board will not discriminate as to the quality of the service delivered. Improvements will be made to the availability of information about the service in community languages as the need arises.

The Council

Whilst the Board is a separate legal entity from the Council, the staff who service the Board are employed by the Council.

As such the following processes will largely be carried out under the Council's corresponding corporate process as set out in the Council's own Race Equality Scheme:

  • Assessing and consulting on the likely impact of Board policies/functions on the promotion of race equality.
  • Monitoring those policies/functions for any adverse impact on the promotion of race equality.
  • Ensuring public access to information and services.
  • Training staff in connection with the duties imposed by section 71(1) of the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Race
  • Relations Act 1976 (Statutory Duties) (Scotland) Act Order 2002.

Assessing and Consulting on the Likely Impact of Board Policies/Functions on the Promotion of Race Equality

Current Arrangements

Service planning process

The staff responsible for servicing the Board are part of the Council's Legal Services. That service, in common with all other services within the Council, must have a service plan for a three year period detailing the services that it will deliver during that period.

The service has to be aware of all legislation that has an impact on service delivery thus it is aware of section 71(1) of the Race Relations Act 1976 and its implications.

Arrangements for Assessing the Likely Impact of Policies/Functions

The Board will use several reference points to assess the potential impact of service delivery on race relations and racial groups. These reference points are:

  • Comparisons with service delivery and other licensing boards.
  • Consultation with service users.

The information gathered from these sources will be used to assess whether the Board's service delivery will affect different racial groups, directly or indirectly, in different ways.

The Board will then consider changes to any aspect of service delivery assessed as having an adverse effect to prevent any adverse impact or unlawful discrimination.

Comparisons with service delivery and other licensing boards:

There are currently several forums which allow the Board to make comparisons with service delivery in other Licensing Boards.

Benchmarking:

The Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators (SOLAR) Licensing Forum which has representatives from all Licensing Boards in Scotland.

Consultations with service users:

The Board will undertake consultations on service delivery to obtain feedback, identify priorities and inform future service delivery. This will take place through best value reviews and questionnaires issued to service users (these have still to be developed).

Monitoring Policies for any Adverse Impact on the Promotion of Race Equality

At present the Board has no formal mechanism for assessing service delivery for any adverse impact on the promotion of race equality.

Monitoring of functions for adverse impact will be carried out through consultation.

In addition the service plan reviews will be used to monitor policies and functions.

Legal Services service plan covers the duties of the staff who service the Board.

If having consulted and benchmarked, any aspect of the Board’s service delivery is identified as not complying with the general duty to promote race equality, the Board will consider the changes necessary to ensure that the service delivery complies with the general duty.

Publishing Assessment Consultation and Monitoring Reports

This Race Equality Scheme will be published on the Council's intranet site and website and made available in all local libraries.

The scheme will be circulated to all Board members and copies will be available from Licensing Office, Council Offices, School Place, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY. This will allow for feedback and comment as part of the ongoing review of the scheme. Translations will be made available by arrangement when required.

All assessment, consultation and monitoring reports will be reported to the Board. They will then be posted on the Council's intranet site and website and made available in local libraries.

Making sure the Public have Access to Information and Services

Access to Information

The Board will use this consultation process to determine what further action, if any, is required and achievable to develop public awareness.

Access to Services

The Licensing Team at Council Offices, School Place, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY is responsible for service delivery. Communication with Board staff at the office can be made in person, by letter, email or telephone.

Staff Training

Staff servicing the Board are employed by the Council. The training of the Board staff in connection with the duties imposed by section 71(1) of the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Race Relations Act 1976 (Statutory Duties) (Scotland) Order 2002 is dealt with in the Council's Race Equality Scheme.

Action Plan

The measures proposed by the Board for meeting its general and particular duties to promote race equality will all be taken as part of the Council's corporate measures in this regard. As such the Council's Race Equality Scheme applies to the Board's proposed measures.

Complaints or enquiries about this scheme

If you have a complaint or enquiry about this Scheme, you should fill in a complaint form, available at:

The Reception Desk, Council Offices, School Place, KIRKWALL, Orkney KW15 1NY

Write to:

Clerk to the Licensing Board, The Council Offices, School Place, KIRKWALL, Orkney KW15 1NY

Or email: Legal Services