The Orientation and Integration of Local and National Alcohol Policy

Over the last decade, the 'problem' of alcohol has been at the forefront of public policy.

Since 1997, the Labour Government has introduced an unprecedented number of laws, regulations, guidance documents and policy statements on alcohol. Foremost amongst these have been the Licensing Act 2003, the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England (2004), and Safe. Sensible. Social: The Next Steps in the National Alcohol Strategy (2007).

Alcohol policy is also conceived and implemented at the local level. These national-local policy interconnections involve the integration of sometimes disparate areas of concern, jurisdiction, and priority.

Different actors within discreet institutional settings - such as government departments, local authorities, the drinks industry, professional organisations and non-government organisations - perceive alcohol problems and seek to influence policy in various and potentially inconsistent ways.

This project employed a twin-site qualitative case study approach, combined with nationwide interviews with policy stakeholders and documentary analysis to investigate the following.

  • How different local and national actors perceived alcohol policy and how they sought to influence policy formation?
  • How national policy frameworks, priorities and guidance interacted and/or integrated with local policy statements, objectives and practices?
  • Any areas of divergence and convergence between the trajectory of local and national alcohol policy?
  • Any tensions and contradictions between the views and approaches of different actors within the policy formation process.
  • Understandings of 'partnership' and the governance of populations through the integration of policy and practice in public health, community safety, education and treatment services, urban management and licensing.

Project Publications

Hadfield, P., Lister, S., and Traynor, P. (2009, forthcoming) 'This Town's A Different Town Today: Policing and Regulating the Night-time Economy', Criminology and Criminal Justice. 9/4. To be published with Open Access in November 2009.

Hadfield, P., Lister, S., and Traynor, P. (2009, forthcoming) 'Alcohol Insights: The Orientation and Integration of Local and National Alcohol Policy', London: Alcohol Education Research Council. To be published on the AERC website in November 2009.

Hadfield, P. (2009) 'Sailing the Seas of Alcohol: Frantic Steering and Creative Rowing' conference / working paper presented at the Australian Drug Foundation: Thinking Drinking 3 Conference, 5 August 2009, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.