The Home Office wrote to local authority chief executives inviting them to take part in the project in October. The LAAA project aims to offer 15-20 areas with high alcohol-related harms help with local initiatives over a 15 month period.
The Home Office and Public Health England (PHE) have said they will provide advice and support to areas in formulating their action plans and reviewing progress, but will not be prescriptive. For instance it will be up to local authorities to decide their own priorities for local action or how large an area to focus on. However no additional funding is offered as part of the support.
Three key aims
Projects must be in line with three key aims: tackling alcohol-related crime and disorder; reducing alcohol-related health harms; and promoting growth by establishing diverse and vibrant night-time economies. The letter says the Home Office will make connections with mentor areas and bring together areas to share learning and solve joint problems.
They are also "challenging the alcohol industry to support LAAAs, prioritising the roll-out of best practice schemes and galvanizing the support of businesses".
Local authorities had until 15 November to opt in. In selecting the LAAAs the main criteria will be that the areas "must have higher levels of alcohol-related crime and disorder, alcohol-related health harms or have a night-time economy that offers little beyond drinking alcohol."
PHE released an alcohol stocktake tool to help local areas assess their local strategic approach to addressing alcohol harms. An evaluation of the Department of Health’s 2008-2011 ‘Alcohol Improvement Programme’ (AIP) was also recently released.
The AIP included the alcohol National Support Team (ANST) which included diagnostic and support visits for local areas.