Launched in Manchester in 2003, Best Bar None is a Home Office-backed scheme that works with the alcohol industry, police and local authorities to promote responsible drinking and higher professional licensing standards.
With active programmes across 70 towns and cities, evidence is emerging that Best Bar None schemes contribute to a reduction in alcohol-related disorder and boosts the town’s economy.
The four finalists
Nominated for Most Innovative Scheme and Best New Scheme, Bolton’s scheme has had a huge impact since its launch in January 2017. Seventeen of the Greater Manchester town’s 25 town centre venues are accredited under the scheme, with a further six set to join this year. In the first nine months of operation, the scheme’s implementation resulted in a 33% reduction in violent offences committed in licensed premises.
Sheffield has been nominated for Best Overall Scheme and Most Innovative Scheme. The steel city’s scheme has been in place for seven years and in 2017 was the most successful to date. Sheffield also became the first scheme to launch a Best Bar None app, which it has now shared with a number of other regional schemes across the country.
Host to the longest nominated scheme, Plymouth has actively engaged 55 venues in the past decade, which has resulted in a significant reduction in crime and alcohol-related admissions to A&E. The first of two nominated schemes from the south-west will vie for the Best Overall Scheme and Most Innovative Scheme awards.
Finally, Torquay has been nominated for Best Overall Scheme and Most Innovative Scheme after establishing its programme in January 2016. It now has 19 licensed premises on board and has already seen a 18.6% decline in public order offences.
Best Bar None national co-ordinator Mick McDonnell said: "I would like to thank all those schemes that took the time to enter the awards this year.
“It is always encouraging to read about the different initiatives our members are developing in order to make the local community a safer place, and I am pleased and proud that we are able to recognise and reward the best of those.
"The standard of entries this year was particularly high, so the four schemes that reached the final did particularly well. I would like to congratulate them for getting to this stage and I wish them all the very best in the final."
The awards ceremony splits a £5,000 prize across three categories, with £3,000 awarded to the winner of the Best Overall Scheme and £1,000 to winner of the Most Innovative Scheme and Best New Scheme awards.
Awards will be presented on 5 February at the House of Lords.