Evening Times

Inspectors slated over pub meals

Licensing board warned ‘it gives bad impression’

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of the board, said: “By going to a pub for a meal and refreshmen­ts, it gives the wrong impression.

“This is of serious concern to me because the purpose of these visits should be to randomly inspect premises to see what they are normally like and whether they are operating within the terms set down by the board.

“ I t t a ke s away t h e ‘real-life’ element of the inspection. It also looks like members are taking advantage just to get a free meal and it has to stop.”

Mr Hendry has written to Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell and chief executive George Black asking them to do s o me t h i n g t o st o p t h e practice.

He added: “Booking a venue in advance takes away the element of surprise and makes random spot checks pointless.

“ Ow n e r s a r e g ive n warning, and therefore plenty of time to get their premises up to scratch, p e r h ap s p u tt i n g mo r e bouncers on the door or generally just tidying up. It defeats the point of the whole thing and I want to see it stopped.”

Before May 2007, it was common practice for board members to go out for a meal before the inspection­s took place.

However, the previous chairman of the board, James McNally, shared Councillor Hendry’s view and put a stop to the meals at the council’s expense.

Instead, inspectors were given refreshmen­ts at t h e C i ty Ch a m b e r s once inspection­s had been carried out.

Mr Hendry added: “I appreciate these visits can be long nights and some refreshmen­ts are necessary.

“ B u t s eve r a l b o a r d members have told me they are not comfortabl­e with the idea of having a meal (in pubs and clubs) and I want it stopped.”

A Glasgow Licensing Board spokesman said: “Members are fully entitled to stop for a tea or coffee after several hours of random inspection­s.

“It is incredible to suggest this would compromise the impartiali­ty of members or their ability to discern a failure to comply with board policy.

“The reality is that as soon as inspection­s begin word spreads throughout the trade no matter what the board has or has not done.”

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