Industry welcomes second phase of the local alcohol action areas

By Helen Gilbert

- Last updated on GMT

Next move: industry welcomes second phase of alcohol-related harm areas programme
Next move: industry welcomes second phase of alcohol-related harm areas programme

Related tags: Local government, Domestic violence

The industry has welcomed the second phase of the local alcohol action areas (LAAAs) programme aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm, crime and disorder, which the Home Office said costs England and Wales an estimated £11bn per year.

Some ​33 new regions are to take part in the scheme including Barnsley, the Isle of Wight, Islington and Wrexham, the Home office announced last week. ​

Under the latest​ plans, the new LAAAs will receive training from specialist support managers to help local agencies including licensing authorities, health bodies and the police identify and support vulnerable night-time economy workers.

They will also be advised how to​ establish safe space, conduct transport reviews and promote awareness raising campaigns around alcohol misuse and domestic violence.  

In addition, mentors who have successfully tackled alcohol-related​ issues ​in the past will also be on ​hand to advise LAAAs during the two-year programme. 

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Kate Nicholls insisted the move gave local authorities a chance to "foster closer working relationships with venues in their areas to tackle any areas of harm".

"We are often calling on councils to develop a more holistic approach to licensing and this scheme is a good example of co-operation," she said.

 “The key to tackling any instances of alcohol-related harm is through partnership and mutual support between councils and venues. We are keen to see a move away from indiscriminate punitive measures such as levies, and LAAAs give pubs and bars an opportunity to lead this collaborative effort and show both national and local authorities we are serious about promoting healthy attitudes towards alcohol.”

​Phase one of the LAAAs scheme first launched in February 2014 covering 20 areas and saw the introduction of a number of interventions including club hosts patrolling bars to offer help to the vulnerable and mandatory safeguarding training for taxi drivers.

British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds declared the latest commitment as "certainly the best way forward".

"It is great to see the scheme expanding and it is a strong endorsement that partnership working in this area delivers results" she said.

“The BBPA, along with Drinkaware and National Pubwatch, is a key supporter of local alcohol partnerships and is already undertaking activity to raise awareness of the law surrounding serving people who are drunk; a key focus area in the Home Office strategy, and we look forward to working with the new LAAAs on this initiative.

"Brewers and pub operators also look forward to working with agencies and stakeholders at a local level to tackle any problems in the night-time economy."

Drinkaware ​chief e​xecutive Elaine Hindal added: "​Drinkaware’s now nationwide scheme to tackle vulnerability in the night-time economy – Drinkaware Crew – started in the Nottinghamshire LAAA and we look forward to expanding Drinkaware Crew into new areas and continuing in collaboration to develop new interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm.”

Related topics: Legislation

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