2016 has been a busy year for SSLP so far. We have become a social purpose company – you can see the principles that are built into our founding documents on our home page. We have moved into new offices, and we have started work with a range of new partners.
This year we have begun working the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime, the World Health Organization and local networks in the South West of England and several London Local Authorities. All new clients that we are enjoying working with.
We have also held a symposium on the state and future of digital Identification and Brief Advice, and run an expert advisory group on an IBA train-the-trainer toolkit in Copenhagen (see the article here)
Since the beginning of the year we have been developing our focus on a few key areas that we believe are important for reducing public health harms in 2016 and 2017. These are:
- Licensing as a prevention tool: Public Health involvement in alcohol licensing provides an excellent opportunity to tackle some of the negative impacts that alcohol can have in an area. The recent study of the impact of intensive licensing approaches by de Vocht et al concluded that there are long term population health benefits of more intensive licensing activity. There are many ways that Public health can add to these approaches.
- Price measures: Minimum Unit Price is still under consideration in Scotland, but other approaches are being considered and research into its feasibility and impact is still ongoing. Whilst Scotland, and to an extent, Wales and Northern Ireland, act as pathfinders in MUP, there is scope for some of the key population centres in England to investigate what MUP could mean for population health and how it might be applied. With Greater Manchester continuing its efforts around MUP there is an opportunity for London to work together to consider what MUP could mean for the capital.
- Identification and Brief Advice: After a long 7 years of trying to build IBA into a number of systems and settings, and with the end of the Direct Enhanced Service, it is probably surprising the promise that IBA shows for reducing alcohol related harm in 2016/17. The ability to digitize parts of delivery and the advances made in training and commissioning mean that IBA could be a significant harm prevention tool in 2016/17.
- The return of the strategic assessment: the benefits of supportive, external strategic assessments can be significant for local strategic partnerships. The CLeaR alcohol self-assessment, peer reviews and rapid reviews can all make a contribution.
- Tobacco control and smoking cessation: having had progress on smoking rates for many years, reductions in funding and restrictions of smoking cessation services may lead to this being an area for focus in 2016/17.
We can help with these or any other harm prevention issues you may be facing – please come and talk to us about what we can do to help.
Dr Matthew Andrews