Home Office minister calls for more local partnerships to tackle alcohol harm

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Public health

Home Office minister calls for more local partnerships to tackle alcohol harm
A Home Office minister has called for more local partnerships to tackle alcohol harms in the areas most in need.

Speaking at a Portman Group conference on partnership-building in London, Norman Baker MP said the coalition government was determined to reduce the annual £21bn tax bill that alcohol harms cost to society.

The Home Office minister for crime prevention believed there was “plenty of work” that needed to be done.

He cited the recently-created Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAAs) as a good example of how government can work with a range of partners – including the drinks industry – to tackle alcohol abuse.

Baker added: “Industry has a key role to play and we expect them to play it.”

Local schemes

The conference brought together a number of industry and non-industry-led local schemes, a range of local authorities, police, health services and other local partners to share best practice.

It was also attended by a number of the 20 LAAAs to learn how industry can provide support to tackling alcohol harms in those areas.

Bringing together local agencies, licensing authorities, health bodies and the police, the LAAA scheme aims to help areas with high levels of drink-related crime and health harms with co-ordinated initiatives over a 15-month period.

The conference sessions covered topics such as ‘Making health everybody’s business – one year on from the new public health role for Local Authorities’​, ‘Industry Schemes – what are they and how can they help?​’, as well as a session on community engagement featuring an overview of projects supported by Baroness Newlove’s Alcohol Fund.

Speed-dating session

The event also featured a ‘speed-dating’ session where delegates were able to meet representatives from all the industry-led schemes to find out how the industry can help public sector partners tackle alcohol harms locally.

The conference showcased schemes such as Best Bar None, Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPs), PASS, Purple Flag and Pubwatch, and how each can tackle different alcohol-related issues through close partnership working with local groups. Other partnership schemes available to local authorities include UK BIDs and Street Pastors.

The Portman Group, meanwhile, has also produced a Local Alcohol Partnerships ​booklet, which explains the schemes and outlines best practice for partnership working between local businesses and local authorities. The booklet is available from www.portmangroup.org.uk​. 

Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the Portman Group and co-chair of the Government’s Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network, said: “We know that local areas have different challenges when it comes to alcohol harms.

“Through closer collaboration with a range of local partners, including the drinks industry, those areas can not only improve public health but also make their high streets and town centres safer, more enjoyable places to visit and increase their economic potential.”

Related topics Legislation

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