Licensing and Enforcement 

Alcohol Licensing and Public Health: an opportunity for prevention

Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (2011), councils have greater powers in relation to licensing, and Public Health - now a Responsible Authority under the Licensing Act 2004 - will play an active part in licensing decisions.  In order to support responsible authorities in playing an active part in licensing decisions, the Safe Sociable London Partnership Licensing and Enforcement workstream includes:

1. Licensing Process

The Safe Sociable London Partnership has developed a process for Directors of Public Health to engage effectively and efficiently in licensing application processes and thereby increasing the involvement of public health in one of the key approaches to reduce alcohol related harm.  

The process has been developed to provide a helpful starting point, providing systematic, consistent approach for identifying applications that might want particular consideration.  Although a standardised process it can be localised to meet the needs of boroughs, as we acknowledge that although the issues and harms can be similar each borough is unique and individual in its makeup and dynamics and therefore will have different focuses and issues to address.

2. Licensing Data Pack

We have developed an interactive Licensing Information Pack to support responsible authorities create an evidence base for local, alcohol related strategies and decision making, in line with the four objectives of the 2003 Licensing Act.  The pack is designed to signpost to resources of evidence that highlight the impact of alcohol-related issues on health, crime and anti-social behaviour.  

Brings together public health, police and local authority officers involved in licensing to share knowledge and hear presentations from expert practitioners in the field.  Previous events have included speakers from the legal field discussing issues around Public Health and Licensing; best practice examples such as licensing issues around protection of children; workshops and networking opportunities. 

With changes to licensing legislation and processes bringing in new partners and extending public involvement (through the removal of the proximity test) local Statements of Licensing Policy (SOLPs) are becoming crucial in the application of local licensing.  They can provide licensing processes with a basis for the testing and use of innovative approaches, the involvement of Public Health, community engagement and robustness to legal challenge. As more activist approaches to licensing develop, the importance of the SOLP as a framework for how process and legislation can be applied to better reflect the priorities of local authorities’ populations is growing. By reviewing SOLPs we can assess their fitness for purpose and provide guidance for the development of new SOLPs to take into account innovation, public health, community involvement and robustness to legal challenge, thus improving the framework in which local licensing activity takes place and ensuring there is continuing scope for innovation.

4. Review and Analysis of Local Statements of Licensing Policies in London