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Research by Design Ltd. (2009) Protecting young people from alcohol related harm. Solihull: Research by Design.

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Licensing case studies:
In the second half of 2008, LBRO commissioned Research by Design Ltd to re iew a number of work-based projects focused on: preventing underage access to alcohol; improving compliance with The Licensing Act 20031; and reducing the burdens of alcohol-related harm on society.

To provide some background to these projects and put the issues of alcohol misuse in context, the National Audit Office claims2 that more than 10 million people are regularly drinking above the guidelines set by Government, and many of these are likely to suffer ill-health or injury as a result. Further, it reports that hospital admissions for the three main alcohol specific conditions (alcohol-related liver disease, mental health disorders linked to alcohol and acute intoxication) more than doubled in the 11 years between 1995-96 and 2006- 07 from 93,459 to 207,788, although this is in the context of a general rise in admissions of about a third over the same period. There were 8,758 deaths from alcohol-related causes in the UK in 2006, twice as many as there were 15 years before.

In July 2008 the Department of Health estimated that alcohol misuse costs the health service around £2.7 billion per year3. However it does not stop there; it also imposes wider costs on society, such as crime and disorder, social and family breakdown, and sickness absence. In terms of crime, the 2007/8 British Crime Survey reports that in the case of 45% of violent incidents the victim considered the offender to be under the influence of alcohol. Based on the survey findings, it estimates that there were 947,000 incidents of alcohol-related violence in 1999 (defined as assaults, robbery and snatch thefts in which the victim considered the perpetrator to be 'under the influence' of alcohol). Thus, the total annual cost of alcohol misuse to the UK economy has been calculated by the Cabinet Office at up to £25.1 billion4.

In respect to young people, the Department for Children, Schools and Families reports5 that although the proportion of 11 to 15 year olds who drink alcohol regularly is falling (from 28% in 2001 to 21% in 2006), the average weekly consumption of drinkers in this age range has increased very sharply. The number of units consumed by these young people is said to have doubled between 1990 and 2000 and has remained at the same level since. The work-based projects reviewed by Research by Design Ltd were selected to provide examples of good practices developed by local enforcement authorities across the UK. Those reported in this document are by no means exhaustive. They are however varied and cover a range of initiatives, from zero tolerance and firm action against those selling alcohol to young people to more educational and supportive responses to licensees, parents and school children. They also span a number of National Indicators, specified in the Local Area Agreements (LAAs), the central ‘delivery contracts’ between central government and its partners in England and now the only mechanism where central government agrees targets with local government.

The details of the projects documented in this report were gathered from the local authorities and police responsible for developing initiatives to reduce underage access to alcohol, published information that is available in the public domain and an independent telephone survey undertaken by Research by Design Ltd. The remainder of this section of the report provides a short summary of each of the projects. Fuller details are given in the main body of the report.

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