Public health and alcohol licensing study – update from first stakeholder workshop, September 2017 update

First stakeholder workshop – 13th September 2017

On 13th September, we held the first stakeholder workshop for the Public Health and Alcohol Licensing (PHAL) tool study, at LSHTM, Keppel St, London.  The aims of the workshop were to:

  1.  Share early findings from the study with public health and other local authority practitioners engaged in alcohol licensing;
  2.  Explore practitioners’ experiences of using research outputs in their work, to identify the most effective formats and channels for sharing research findings with practitioners.

Workshop participants

We were pleased to welcome around 30 practitioners from across different local authorities in London, and who represented a wide range of professions including public health, licensing, trading standards, police and others.  We also welcomed several academics interested in alcohol licensing research.

Workshop format

In the first part of the workshop we heard presentations from the PHAL study team summarising some of the early findings emerging from the study so far, and there were opportunities for questions and discussion about the study.  In the second part, we broke into small groups to reflect on and discuss experiences of using research outputs in practice, the kinds of messages and formats of research that are most useful, and the different kinds of audiences that might be interested in hearing research findings eg from the PHAL study.

Early findings from the PHAL study

In the presentations, the study team described exploring practitioners’ perceptions of how to strengthen public health contributions to alcohol licensing processes in local authorities, drawing on data collected through ethnographic observations of public health practitioners’ licensing work, a survey of practitioners across London, and focus group discussions with a range of licensing stakeholders.  Three key ideas appear to be emerging from the first phase of the study analysis:

  • There’s a varied picture of levels of public health involvement in alcohol licensing across different local authorities in London, and varied perceptions of influence over the process.
  • The importance of relationships and engagement between public health and other responsible authorities seems very clear.
  • Despite perceptions of public health as a ‘lesser partner’, there are examples of practitioners finding ways to act on applications and influence broader policies.

Stakeholders’ reflections

Participants at the workshop stated that they were interested to hear that the relationships between public health and other responsible authorities can shape levels of confidence in contributing to the licensing process, and that there are examples of public health practitioners using data to make effective representations.

Participants indicated that sharing case studies of good practice is an effective way to communicate research findings among public health practitioners, and between them and other responsible authorities.  They also suggested ways in which the findings from the study could be tailored towards a range of audiences including licensing teams and local authority councillors.

The next workshop

A second workshop will be held in February or March 2018 when the final findings from the study will be shared, and we will invite stakeholders to help us identify the next steps for putting into place the study’s recommendations.

For more information about the PHAL study or the next stakeholder workshop, please contact Joanna Reynolds:

Keep an eye on the project website for more updates and details on how to sign up for the next workshop.