Tacit consent

The EU Services Directive requires that many permit and licence applications are processed within a reasonable time period.

If the council has not processed the application within the timescales provided (or following an extension) you will be able to act as though the council has authorised the application. The Directive describes this type of consent as tacit authorisation.

There are, however, four exceptions where tacit authorisation does not apply. The exemptions are applications that could impact on:

  1. public safety
  2. public health
  3. animal welfare
  4. the environment.

In these cases, you must contact us before you start operating if there is a delay in processing your application. You must not assume that you have tacit authorisation.

How does the timing work?

Once the completed application is submitted, along with all the required information and documents requested, including the fee, if relevant, then the the processing time begins to be calculated. If the council spots an error or omission in the application, we will place it on hold until the problem is rectified. You will be notified if this occurs.

The council will notify you in writing if someone objects to an application which causes the matter to be referred to a licensing panel. The calculated time period will then be extended to the date on which the application is determined at hearing. We will notify you of the outcome of the hearing not later than ten working days after the day of the hearing.

Does it make any difference how I submit my application?

Tacit authorisation applies to all applications, whether they are received by post, online, or via email. If you submit an application by post tacit consent will only apply when your business can show proof of delivery from a post office or recognised courier.

Can the council extend the timescales?

The period for processing an application may be extended once, by the council, for a limited time. You will be notified of the extension and reasons for the delay before the expiry of the original period. This would also apply if the processing of a licence is delayed where there is legitimate interest from a third party, for example, due to an appeal process.

Page last updated: 11 Aug 2022