Agenda item

Public Health and the Licensing Act 2003


The Committee received a presentation from the KCC Public Health Specialist regarding public health and the Licensing Act 2003, identifying areas of prevalent drinking problems and conditions in the Borough (please see supplementary).


Following Members questions the KCC Public Health Specialist explained that:


  • On slide 3 the ‘benchmark’ referred to in the key is the national average
  • Binge drinking is classified as drinking over a certain amount of units (8 units) in one drinking session i.e a bottle of wine or three strong beers a night would be classified as binge drinking
  • Currently a questionnaire called Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) is used by KCC Public Health which asks the user five questions about their alcohol intake and determines what kind of drinker you are classified as, as well as associated health problems
  • Public Health are more than happy to work with the ward Councillors in the areas of Gravesham that are most at risk of alcohol related health problems and to raise awareness of these issues
  • The information is taken from the office of statistics and hospitals so it would not necessarily cover the street drinkers that congregate in Gravesham Town Centre however this is the same for all districts in Kent; measuring the actual alcohol intake of each person in Gravesham would be an impossible task
  • The more deprived areas of Gravesham  are the ones who are at more risk for alcohol specific conditions, as shown on slide 4 of the presentation
  • This is the most up to date information KCC Public Health has on the subjects within the presentation and there have been no further predictions yet for under 18 specific hospital admissions past 2015
  • In 2011 Public Health became a Responsible Authority, to be consulted under  the  Licensing Act 2003. Health, however, is not one of the licensing objectives of the Act and licences cannot be refused  on the basis of health
  • With regard to the suggestion of a  pop up shop in high alcohol areas that informs people of the amount of units they are drinking, - funding would need to be set aside for it, but happy to look into working with Ward Councillors regarding the issue
  • GP practices are a very good way of promoting health and sensible alcohol consumption., KCC have offered payments to local practices to offer the IBA assessments as they do in   Thanet, but so far there has been a very low uptake
  • The KCC Public Health Specialist explained that since the budget came to KCC, it has been ring-fenced until March 2018 but that  there have been some reductions in the drug and alcohol services offered


The Assistant Director outlined a few additional points to Members:


  • The Public Health staff at the Gr@nd have been trained to  deliver IBA assessments 
  • KCC and districts (including Gravesham BC) are moving towards new ‘district health deals’ and an improved and more community based way of delivering their public health interventions. Partnership working will be key.
  • A lot of work has gone into looking at how deprived areas can be better engaged and putting focus on creating more awareness and education in those areas. 
  • The recently revised Kent Alcohol Strategy will be going to the next meeting of the Dartford Gravesham and Swanley  Health & Wellbeing Board
  • Many things can be done in conjunction with other partnerships including raising drink awareness and working with local schools to teach about the dangers of alcohol abuse
  • Public Health itself is not a licensing objective under Licensing Act 2003so we need to look at health data and the way it links to the other objectives ie prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of nuisance, public safety and protection of children from harm. Alcohol related domestic violence would be an example of such a linkage.


The Licensing Manager advised that hospitals have a set of routine questions that they ask any person admitted into the hospital for alcohol related reasons often having more information on where they live and drink than the Police do.


Cllr Thompson expressed the view that there should be less regulation and more education. With education the public will be more aware of what the drink is doing to their health and the strain it puts on the economy.


The Committee thanked the KCC Public Health Specialist for the informative presentation. 


Supporting documents: