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Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action



Reduced Consumption

1. We will draft regulations to modify Schedules 3 and 4 under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 to:

  • put an end to off-sales premises supplying alcohol free of charge on the purchase of one or more of the product, or of any other product, whether alcohol or not;
  • put an end to off-sales premises supplying alcohol at a reduced price on the purchase of one or more of the product, or of any other product, whether alcohol or not;
  • prevent the sale of alcohol as a loss leader.

We will consult with the Scottish Government and Alcohol Industry Partnership and other key stakeholders on a regulatory impact assessment before laying these regulations in Parliament.

2. We will pursue the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol as a mandatory condition of Premises Licence and Occasional Licences granted under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

We will work with economists and researchers to consider the modelling work around specific minimum prices per unit of alcohol.

We will continue to discuss with the UK Government arrangements for controlling pricing and promotions of alcohol bought remotely and delivered to Scotland from England and Wales or beyond.

3. We will regulate to make it a condition of a premises licence or occasional licence that wine sold by the glass for consumption on the premises must be available as a 125ml measure.

We urge the UK to change its legislation to extend 25ml and 35ml measures to all spirits and to permit both measures to be served on the same premises, and, if and when the law is changed, we would intend to make it a mandatory condition that 25ml measures be available and offered as the 'default' measure.

Supporting Families and Communities

4. Our Youth Commission will explore the issues faced by young people in relation to misuse of alcohol beginning this spring and will report back with advice on actions which might be taken to address the issues they identify.

5. Over the course of the next year we will take forward work to review current advice to parents and carers around alcohol and associated issues in the context of this early years' framework, with input from the Youth Commission on Alcohol and Young People and other key stakeholders.

6. We will legislate to:

  • place a duty on Licensing Boards to consider raising the minimum age for off-sales purchases within their area, or part of their area, to 21 when they are reviewing their licensing policy statements.
  • enable Licensing Boards to apply such a condition without requiring a hearing in respect of every premise concerned.
  • give the Chief Constable and the local Licensing Forum powers to request that the Licensing Board consider the matter of an age restriction at any time.

7. We will establish a legislative power to apply a Social Responsibility Fee.

We will establish in 2009 mechanisms to allow key stakeholders to assist us in developing the detail of the Social Responsibility Fee.

8. We are taking forward plans to arrange a survey of the incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Scotland. We have seconded fixed term project support to coordinate this work, working in collaboration with the academic sector, health professionals and other key stakeholders. We will hold a stakeholder conference in the spring to take this forward jointly with all key interests.

9. We will continue to work with our partners at national and local level to improve substance misuse education in schools. A workplan has been developed with tasks designed to lead to better partnership working, improved support for those delivering teaching, and better awareness of the available teaching resources, to be implemented before the end of 2010.

10. We will continue to support a number of third sector organisations to provide youth work and/or diversionary opportunities. Further funding announcements will follow.

11. We will work through 'Promoting Citizenship through Football - A Government and Football Partnership' to identify and take forward opportunities for joint working with football on tackling alcohol misuse.

12. A Project Board has been convened to drive forward work on improving identification and assessment of those affected by parental substance misuse and sharing of appropriate information amongst agencies; and building capacity, availability and quality of support services. We expect to make significant progress on implementing these actions over the course of the next year.

13. We will continue to work through the Scottish Government-led Scottish Age-restricted Products Enforcement Working Group, which has representatives from all key interests including the licensed trade and hospitality sector, ACPOS, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, to identify any further steps which might be taken to ensure effective compliance with and enforcement of licensing laws.

14. We will undertake a review of how test-purchasing has been implemented in order to identify any lessons which can be learned and shared.

15. We will also work with Young Scot to further promote the Young Scot National Entitlement Card and to bolster its use and recognition as a proof of age card.

16. For this reason we will increase our funding for the Best Bar None scheme, to enable this to be extended more widely across Scotland.

17. We are working with local partners in Fife to pilot and evaluate a package of interventions in different locales, drawing on the experience of other partnerships, as well as social norms approaches. We hope that, in due course, the experience and lessons from the Fife pilot will be able to be drawn upon by other areas and adapted for their local circumstances.

18. Discussions are on-going about the scope for trading standards officers to be given a role, alongside the police, in enforcing licensing law in relation to off-sales and, specifically, in supporting test purchasing programmes.

19. We will develop sustained and tough enforcement measures such as the Safer Streets initiative, where we have provided over £2 million to Community Safety Partnerships to deliver extra initiatives to tackle alcohol-related violence and disorder over the festive period. We will also continue to support education initiatives such as Medics Against Violence, which involves a number of senior clinicians working with the Violence Reduction Unit to raise awareness amongst young people of the dangers of carrying a knife.

20. We will also focus on early intervention through the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence ( CIRV), the ground-breaking gang's initiative to tackle collective violence in the East End of Glasgow.

21. We will shortly publish a research report, which will set out a range of approaches that could be used across Scotland to support drunk and incapable adults. We will arrange an event for stakeholders to disseminate the findings and encourage the assessment of needs and development of appropriate approaches at a local level.

22. The Scottish Government continues to press the Department for Transport to give serious consideration to a reduction in the drink driving limit and the introduction of new police powers for random breath testing.

Positive attitudes, positive choices

23. We will bring forward regulations that will:

  • restrict the display of any marketing material, or other material or activity relating to alcohol, in off-sales premises to one of the two alcohol display areas permitted by paragraph 13 of Schedule 3 of the 2005 Act (inserted by section 3 of the Licensing (Mandatory Conditions No. 2) (Scotland) Regulations 2007).
  • ban any marketing material in any licensed premises that refers to any price other than the price at which the product is currently being sold (per bottle, pack, or measure and/or the price per 100ml or litre) or that makes any reference to sale at a reduced price (for example, "Was £5.99, now £2.99").

The precise detail of these measures will be set out in draft regulations and the Scottish Government and Alcohol Industry Partnership and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to comment on these before they are presented to Parliament.

24. In addition to these restrictions, we consider there is considerable scope for producers and retailers to develop, as part of a co-regulatory approach, a code of practice for promotional activity.

25. We have decided, for the time being, not to introduce alcohol only checkouts, however we may revisit this issue if retailers do not comply with the spirit of our other actions on off sales. Given this decision, the question as to whether those operating such checkouts should be at least 18 years old does not apply.

26. We will continue to work with health and industry partners, where appropriate, on the promotion of messages to help people change their behaviour, and on joint initiatives such as Alcohol Awareness Week.

27. We will continue to work with partners to develop and promote workplace alcohol policies, noting that the workplace can be a key point of connection with individuals in the promotion of a healthier relationship with alcohol. We will seek to apply more proactive management-led workplace programmes on tackling alcohol misuse, starting from within Scottish Government, with a view to rolling out action across the public sector and encouraging similar action in the private sector.

28. We continue to believe that alcohol product labelling could be significantly improved and we are discussing with the UK Government how this could be taken forward.

29. We urge the UK Government to develop a UK approach to advertising which unequivocally protects children from exposure to alcohol advertising, whether on television, on line, or in the cinema. We believe that one way of achieving this is to apply a ban on television alcohol advertising before the 9.00pm watershed.

30. We would welcome the development of a co-regulatory approach to on line alcohol advertising - working with industry, the UK Government and advertising regulatory bodies, which could address this issue effectively. This could also extend to billboard advertising.

31. We will monitor the implementation of the Scottish Government and Alcohol Industry Partnership Sponsorship Guidelines and consider whether further action is required.

Improved Support and Treatment

32. We announced a record investment towards tackling alcohol misuse in our 2008/09 budget, totalling £120 million over the next three years. This represents an increase of over £85 million to previous allocations.

33. We will establish a working group to update core services

or alcohol treatment and support. This will re-visit the principles underpinning the Alcohol Treatment Services Framework; identify and update effective interventions; and set out guidance on development of integrated care pathways which take into consideration multiple and complex needs.

34. We will support the evaluation of brief interventions pilots in other settings or which can contribute in other ways to the evidence base. Initially pilots already being taken forward are in NHS 24 and the area of criminal justice.

35. We have set up a national Delivery Support Team to provide leadership to NHS Boards on the delivery of the target and to co-ordinate key support functions. This Team will work to support NHS Boards providing help, advice and guidance as necessary.

We have begun a programme of visits to NHS Boards to hear feedback first hand on progress, identify good practice and offer further individualised support where appropriate. We will hold a conference for NHS Boards in 2009 to demonstrate distance travelled and share good practice.

36. To support NHS Boards in achieving the new target for brief interventions we have commissioned NHS Health Scotland to develop and coordinate a 3 year national training programme to ensure that frontline staff across the country are competent and confident in the delivery of brief interventions. Thereafter we will ensure that training on brief interventions is recognised as a core aspect of workforce development in NHS Scotland.

37. The Scottish Government is currently considering the Group's proposals on reform of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships with a view to making a statement on the way forward as soon as possible.

38. We have commissioned NHS Health Scotland to drive forward a piece of work to create a national training and development strategy to support a competent, confident, valued and flexible workforce.

39. Our forthcoming Action Plan for population mental health improvement, Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland, to be published in Spring 2009, will recognise the relationship between alcohol and mental health. Where appropriate this relationship will be a key feature of related actions and commitments.

40. We are also keen to explore the opportunities for developing psychological therapies as a generic form of behavioural change intervention which can lead to positive outcomes not only for those with mental health issues but also for those with co-morbidities arising from alcohol and drugs misuse.

41. In 2009, we will conduct a review of current plans and practice for the identification and treatment of offenders with alcohol problems in criminal justice settings and identify good practice.

We will also convene a stakeholder event to disseminate the findings of this review and agree action on how best to ensure development and implementation of integrated care pathways for offenders with alcohol problems.