Home‎ > ‎HBSA NEWS‎ > ‎

Home Office Firearms Licensing- COVID-19 Response

posted 15 Apr 2020, 07:56 by Tony Cattermole   [ updated 16 Apr 2020, 04:37 ]
For members wishing to renew a Section 5 authority please see the email below from the Home Office.

Applications should be on line and the following is the link on to the application/renewal site = Gov.uk:   https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-or-manage-a-section-5-shooting-club-or-museum-licence

The e-mail address to which applicants should write for queries before applying is = public.enquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk . However, once they have applied for a renewal etc they will receive an acknowledgment email from an iCasework email address that is linked to their case and that would be the email address they should use for all future enquiries about their case.

If you have issues please let me know and I will try to assist.

Derek Stimpson

Home Office
15 April 2020

Home Office Firearms Licensing- COVID-19 Response

I am writing to you in my capacity as the Head of the Drugs and Firearms Licensing Unit (DFLU) at the Home Office.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents us all with significant challenges and represents a time of great uncertainty. But, for all this uncertainty, it is clear that DFLU have a key role to play in the UK’s response to the pandemic, in terms of providing the framework and delivering the regulatory structures for relevant controlled drugs to reach those who need them most. Our primary focus has to be on controlled drug supplies at this time.

I would like to update you on some changes to the way we deliver our services presently and ask you all for your help so that we can allocate our limited resources to ensure we can respond to those who need us most in these challenging times.

Changes to service delivery:

Following the Prime Minister’s advice on 23 March and a move to more societal isolation, we had to take the decision to cease in-office regulatory delivery. With effect from close of business Tuesday 24 March we have paused all non-essential casework and administrative functions, to allow us to clinically imperative drug licences applications and firearms licences that require progressing for National Security reasons.

Since 24 March we have been working out of the office only and with reduced staffing levels. We have reviewed every pending firearms licence application to progress each one as far as possible at this time and have, with the support of the police, identified any which need processing urgently on grounds of National Security.

What we are delivering:

We have been testing our remote working practices, systems and methods for case escalation. We are not actively caseworking firearms licence applications at this time, but will keep all applications under review according to our reduced resourcing and if the police identify any case that requires progression on grounds of National Security.

I can now let you know that we continue to offer services as follows:
  • Firearms licence application consideration, where they require progressing for National Security reasons;
  • Consideration of grants of Temporary Section 5 authority, while consideration of a further licence application is ongoing;
  • System administration
How to request a grant of temporary authority:

If you are a current licence holder who is seeking a further licence and consideration of a grant of temporary authority under Section 5 of the Firearms Act we require additional information from you to be able to consider granting a temporary authority. Please provide a high-resolution electronic version of all copies of your existing authority as part of your application. If your application has already been submitted please now send a copy via the casework link to your case. You must also indicate clearly whether your application is on a like-for-like renewal basis or if not, summarise the changes requested.

Please note, that the submission of a request for temporary authority on additional grounds to those on which the previous licence was issued will be considered but we cannot guarantee that that this will be agreed.

Please also note that the issue of a temporary authority is not an indication that we will grant a further authority of any kind in future.

All other applications:

We cannot prioritise other applications at this time but will continue to consider them as and when we have capacity.
Telephone and email enquiries:

As we are not currently working in the office we are not currently able to answer any telephone enquiries and will not receive any mail items posted to us. Due to this and a number of staffing changes immediately before Covid 19 please ensure that you reply to the icasework email address that is linked to your case to contact us, please do not email anyone in the team directly as they may not be able to see or respond to your enquiry.

Please note that DFLU only deal with enquiries about specific licensing matters on individual cases so if your query is about the policy itself please contact public.enquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk

Finance and Invoice Payment:

We expect to be able to issue invoices as usual, and are not amending our terms of payment at this time. If you expect to face any administrative difficulties sending payments, please contact dflu.fees@homeoffice.gov.uk

This is an emerging situation and we will have to regularly reappraise our resources and how they match up to demand. We are a relatively small regulatory body, and, our capacity it significantly reduced by remote working. It is on this point that I ask you all for your support in these challenging times.

What are your business hours:

We aim to provide cover for our core services across normal weekday business hours Monday- Friday 9:00 - 17:00. Please be aware that in this time individual team staff hours may be variable.

How can we help you?

Our biggest challenges will be delivering a more limited service remotely and with reduced staffing. Please therefore only contact us when necessary and ensure you are providing us all the information we need. It is important to be respectful of the criteria for cases to receive priority processing in these challenging and difficult times, to ensure we do not misallocate our limited resources.

DFLU appreciate your support and remain committed to delivering an excellent regulatory service, just in a different way to that we would like at the moment.

Angharad Thomas
Head of Drugs & Firearms Licensing Unit, Home Office.
UK Competent Authority for Controlled Drug and Drug Precursor Chemical Licensing.