Community alcohol partnership (CAP)

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

Award nominee

Some headline figures show that alcohol-related crime costs the UK £7.3 billion per year and alcohol-related injuries and illness cost the NHS £1.7 billion per year. These figures mask the impact that alcohol abuse can have on communities and individuals. As local government sets out on its journey to create stronger, safer and more prosperous communities we must ensure that no part of our community is ostracized - be it young people or businesses.

Cambridgeshire County Council developed the Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) to tackle underage consumption of alcohol through developing new ways of partnership working that brings together agencies and individual groups with a common mission. This collaborative approach illustrates how regulatory services should approach their work to deliver better community outcomes. In terms of local authorities, the partnership represents true multi-agency working, comprising Trading Standards (County Council), Licensing and Street Enforcement (District Council) and Parish/Town Councils, together with their respective councilors. Parents however are also crucial members of the partnership.

The starting point on our journey to implementing the CAP was based in our regulatory service. In 2004 we had failure rates in test purchase operations of nearly 60%. As a result we embarked on a campaign of enforcement, but by using zero tolerance tactics we were only able to bring this rate down to 29%. The Balding Survey of young people added two additional factors which shaped our activities: it showed that direct sales from minors were a small part of the supply chain and that proxy purchasing and parental supplies were more prevalent. As part of a fundamental review of our work in this area we had officers work in retail outlets and engage with young people. In early 2007 we had discussions with the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group to work in partnership with them to tackle the underage consumption of alcohol. From this the CAP was born and a pilot established.

The Partnerships have received high-level support and engagement from the local level. Furthermore, the project also set out to influence national policy development for the benefit of our citizens, and to this end we developed a joint lobbying and influencing strategy. From there we developed a toolkit to help other authorities to adopt CAP in their own local areas. Twelve authorities across the country have implemented CAP using the toolkit, which illustrates its applicability to a diverse range of communities. The toolkit identifies key principles and offers solutions to the common barriers, enabling other authorities to maximise the drivers for success.

In sum, the CAP represents a truly collaborative approach to tackling an issue of national concern. By aligning the work of local authorities, and with government bodies and law enforcement sending one clear message to young people and communities, the CAP has achieved a reduction of the incidence of underage sales and a change in the behaviour and culture of young people; thereby delivering long-term benefits, by involving, inter alia, parents, children, schools, youth clubs and the police.

Award info
Award category: partnership working
Award type: nominee
Award year: 2009
Project type
Sector: Public health and social welfare/affairs
Type of activity: cooperation
Keywords: Alcohol abuse, young people, prevention
Short English description: The CAP represents a truly collaborative approach to tackling an issue of national concern
Further information
Organisation: Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards Service
Other applicants: Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards Service
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved:
Country: United Kingdom
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

Community alcohol partnership (CAP) (52.2188687° N, 0.0660036° W)
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