- Drinks companies keeping consumers in dark about risky drinking
- Reducing alcohol consumption can address health inequalities
- Alcohol-specific deaths remain at very high levels
- Oh Lila goes digital
- Global first alcohol policy set to save hundreds of Scots' lives
- AFS welcomes minimum unit pricing for alcohol
- Walker's crisp ad exposes children to alcohol marketing
- Truer picture of alcohol harm revealed
- Focus on link between alcohol and obesity
- Alcohol causes 3,700 deaths in Scotland every year
- Last Christmas for heavily discounted alcohol
- Scotland's licensing system needs clearer direction
- Minimum pricing blog
- Minimum pricing gets green light
- Reflections on GAPC 2017
- Alcohol brands and young people
- Time for honest conversations about alcohol
- Q&A on alcohol marketing
- UK children anxious about parents' drinking
- Quarter of Scots drink above guidelines
- Alcohol producers failing to inform public
- Concern over alcohol-related deaths
- We need to make it easier for people to drink less
- Worrying rise in alcohol-related deaths
- Minimum pricing will save lives
- Pocket money prices for alcohol continue
- Scotland's alcohol problem laid bare
- Cheap alcohol is costing Scotland dear
- One drink a day can increase breast cancer risk
- Poverty linked to increased harm from alcohol
- What next for reducing alcohol harm in Scotland?
- Scotland must do more to turn tide of alcohol harm
- Concern as funding for alcohol services cut
- Budget: No change in alcohol duty
- Scottish Government urged to curb alcohol marketing
- Consumers have the right to know health risks
- Chancellor urged to tackle cheap, strong cider in Budget
- Online help for families affected by alcohol
- Alcohol-free childhood is healthiest option
- SWA granted leave to appeal minimum pricing
- Drink drive warning
- Scottish Greens call for action on alcohol marketing
- Scottish Government receives European alcohol award
- SWA will appeal to UK Supreme Court
- Half of alcohol being sold under 50p per unit
- SWA urged to respect minimum pricing decision
- Alcohol and mental health are closely linked
- Minimum pricing can be implemented in Scotland
- Alcohol sold at pocket money prices
- Scotland has so much to gain from reducing how much we drink
- AFS welcomes revised alcohol consumption guidelines
- Emergency services face shocking levels of alcohol abuse
- Every child has the right to grow up safe from alcohol harm
- Public health must prevail over big business
- New toolkit to help children affected by family alcohol problems
- Price check reveals cheap cost of strong alcohol
- Sales increase underlines need for minimum pricing
- Time to kick alcohol out of sport
- Alcohol linked with stomach cancer
- AFS calls for compulsory health warnings on alcoholic drinks
- Are supermarkets 'responsible retailers' when it comes to alcohol?
- Scottish health charities call for excise duty rise to tackle cheap alcohol
- Alcohol campaigners unite to call for stronger protection from alcohol advertising to children
- New resource for people concerned about alcohol in their community
- Minimum pricing decision delayed until summer
- No completely 'safe' level of drinking
- New alcohol guidelines published
- Minimum pricing - European court ruling
- Alcohol fuels ambulance assaults
- 82% of Scots agree drink driving is unacceptable
- Scotland's alcohol strategy - what next?
- Scotland leads way in evidence-based alcohol policy
- New report reveals impact of alcohol on emergency services
- Alcohol: a global concern
Scotland's licensing system needs clearer direction
New report shows action needed to ensure licensing works more effectively to protect people and communities from alcohol-related harm.
Eight years since the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 came fully into force, Taking Stock: Views and experiences of alcohol licensing in Scotland in 2016/17 reports on progress within the licensing system and makes recommendations for improvement.
The report has been informed by the views of those involved in the licensing system who attended a series of regional events, held by Alcohol Focus Scotland in late 2016. The main findings that emerged from these discussions were:
- The system is too complex and it is difficult for local people to get involved in shaping licensing policy and decision-making.
- There are disagreements about the role and purpose of alcohol licensing, particularly between those working in licensing and those working in public health.
- Licensing hearings can be intimidating for people who aren’t legal experts and public information about licensing is inaccessible.
- Local licensing forums, the main mechanism for public engagement, aren’t functioning effectively so there is a lack of proper scrutiny of policy and decision-making.
Newly constituted licensing boards across the country have started to gather information on alcohol harm to inform their local licensing policies, due to be published by November 2018, which will guide their decision-making for up to 5 years. As the Scottish Government develops its refreshed alcohol strategy, it must turn its attention to addressing the widespread availability of alcohol and provide greater direction and support to boards.
With the number of licences granted across Scotland continuing to increase, Alcohol Focus Scotland is calling on Scottish Government to provide stronger national direction to ensure this is brought under control. Further recomendations to Scottish Government include:
- Clarify the role and purpose of the licensing system
- Update national guidance to local licensing boards
- Commission an in-depth review of the functioning of local licensing forums
Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said:
“Licensing is devolved to local boards so that decisions can better meet the needs of local communities. Unfortunately, too often the people and communities affected by licensing decisions are unable to voice their opinions because of the complexity of the system.
“Despite one million Scots drinking too much, and the harm this causes to individuals, families and communities, we have seen an increase in the number of licensed premises over the last six years. It seems that every corner shop now sells alcohol, as well many petrol stations, sandwich bars and coffee shops. We need a clearer expectation from Scottish Government of how licensing can and should contribute to reducing consumption and harm in communities across Scotland. And we need greater consistency, transparency and accountability from local licensing boards on how they are delivering on this.
"The Scottish Government’s alcohol strategy refresh and licensing boards’ preparation of their licensing policy statements provide a real opportunity to address some of the issues raised in this report and ensure our licensing system is fit for the future.”
Alan Murray, Senior Community Nurse Addictions at NHS Lothian said:
“As the recent chair of a local licensing forum I have witnessed first-hand the obstacles that local licensing boards face in developing a licensing policy that effectively addresses the overconsumption of alcohol in our communities.
"All of our authorities tasked with addressing this pressing public health concern should take note of this detailed work by Alcohol Focus Scotland and work together to develop an effective strategy to tackle this important public health issue.”
Vered Hopkins, Lead Officer at Dundee City Alcohol & Drug Partnership said:
“Over the past four years progress has been made in Dundee to develop a well-informed and evidence-based overprovision policy. The policy provided the City’s Licensing Board with the evidence and approach it needed to either turn applications down or place additional conditions on licences.
“However, it was acknowledged that it is not possible to follow the advice of the overprovision policy in every case, and that discussions and decisions regarding applications for licences are complex. The original overprovision policy has now run its course and the Dundee Licensing Board are currently considering adopting a new overprovision policy.
“To further support the Licensing Board and to ensure a reduction of alcohol-related harm in Dundee, it is our intention to increase the involvement of local individuals and communities in discussions about specific applications for licences”.