Evaluating Local Government Alcohol Policies
Alcohol is a leading cause of ill-health and mortality in the UK, with over 1.2 million hospital admissions each year in England attributable to alcohol consumption. Preventing alcohol-related deaths requires interventions that address the underlying determinants of alcohol consumption such as how easy it is to access and afford alcoholic beverages. Local authorities play a key role in tackling these underlying determinants through for example effective licensing, planning and community safety interventions. However, there is currently very little evidence about which local government policies are most effective, and in which contexts.
Our alcohol research project feeds into the wider SPHR alcohol programme by improving the way that research studies and policy evaluations support local government practice. We work in close partnership with local authority practitioners to co-produce research that is adapted to local needs. We use a number of research methods – including case studies, policy analyses and systematic reviews – to address our main research focuses: identifying which local government interventions are most likely to be effective in different contexts, understanding the types of evidence that are most useful to local government policymakers and developing new approaches to evaluating alcohol policies.
To date we have published two peer-reviewed academic papers, have presented at a local government practitioner conference and are conducting alcohol policy evaluations in two local authorities . We have established close working partnerships with a number of English local authorities and other relevant organisations, including Alcohol Research UK,UK Health Forum (collaborating on the Healthy Places web resource) and the Safe Sociable London Partnership.