The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has said that the Elton panel, an independently chaired body set up by the government to look into the new licensing laws, will not publish its final report until next year. The report, which is being led by Sir Leslie Elton, the former chief executive of Gateshead Council, is currently with Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, with final recommendations expected to be made public by spring 2007. Pub operators are concerned that the report will back calls from local councils to increase licence fee levels. Last December, as part of its initial findings, the panel recommended the simplifying of the licensing application process and the introduction of an annual renewal date.