Part B: Components of effective s295(b) collaboration
B1 Shared purpose
B 1.1 Identify a common intention
A shared sense of purpose is fundamental to effective collaboration to reduce alcohol-related harm.
This position builds on a common view of priority issues and a sense of being ‘on the same side’ with respect to reducing these aspects of alcohol-related harm.
One aspect of the complex, multi-causal nature of alcohol-related harm is multiple perspectives on issues, success criteria, and effective and preferred approaches.
A simple overarching theme or intention that is relevant and appealing to all or most stakeholders can be used as a reference point in all work.
A clearly recognised shared goal of reducing alcohol harm in sports settings and encouraging best practice in licensing underpinned a multiple stakeholder approach to reduce alcohol-related harm in Canterbury sports clubs.
A shared overarching purpose in joint work to reduce alcohol-related harm does not preclude agency personnel holding different positions on specific issues. There are many examples where agencies have continued to work collaboratively while having on occasion taken different positions on specific cases or situations.
B 1.2 Align with existing plans to reduce alcohol-related harm for the region
This section covers:
Ideally, joint regulatory agency/officer work in line with s295(b) aligns with and is included in an overarching plan to reduce alcohol-related harm for the region.
These local/regional approaches or plans identify issues, prioritise areas for attention and set out agreed goals for reducing alcohol-related harm.
The aim is a range of complementary approaches in a broad framework that reflects wider regional priorities related to alcohol-related harm.
Regulatory agencies and their wider organisations have a core role in this type of planning and strategising. Ideally, the process will also involve a broader group of stakeholders with an interest in reducing alcohol-related harm. This may include community, iwi, Māori organisations, health providers and other groups such as Healthy Families and ACC, etc.
A co-design approach to planning works well to create buy-in and build commitment from partners to achieve goals. Critically, it drives motivation and alignment of incentives.
It is likely that such an alcohol harm reduction plan will involve a mix of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches in both alcohol licensing and other areas that work to reduce alcohol-related harm. For example, alcohol licensing actions will complement a range of other tools and approaches that may not be directly related to licensed premises, such as alcohol ban areas, built environments that foster safer drinking, and health promotion activities.
Click here for examples of multifaceted alcohol harm reduction plans.
Alcohol Accords are an example of a subset partnership group working toward reducing alcohol harm. Accords may be hospitality led or may operate with a higher level of regulatory agency involvement. An Accord complements the regulatory environment that exists under New Zealand legislation. It is a proactive, non-regulatory way of bringing about safer streets, neighbourhoods and communities.
Overarching plans for alcohol harm reduction take a number of forms and are not intended to take the place of individual regulatory agency plans. Rather the aim is to complement these, focusing on areas where agencies can gain efficiencies and effectiveness through collaborative planning and service delivery.
Each agency will have its own respective priorities, but where there are mutual areas of interest, agencies can work jointly to more effectively address identified areas of alcohol-related harm.
For example, the Christchurch Alcohol Action Plan (CAAP) states that the CAAP alcohol harm reduction approach sits alongside, and is not a substitute for, the statutory alcohol licensing system. The Police, licensing inspectors and Medical Officer of Health continue to exercise their statutory functions, duties and powers independently under the licensing regime prescribed in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
Regulatory agencies will have a role in implementing an alcohol harm reduction plan even though some delivery will take place through other functional units within public health and the district health board (DHB), Council and Police, and through non-regulatory stakeholder organisations.
For example, a strategic objective in the CAAP to “Expand upon existing strategies to reduce harm within licensed environments” identifies such actions as:
- Encourage all staff who sell or supply alcohol to complete the ServeWise online training
- Work together with sports clubs to reduce alcohol-related harms
- Continue to work with stakeholders in planning and managing large events.
At times, initiatives within these actions will engage some or all three agencies, other parts of their wider organisations and other relevant external stakeholders. Other initiatives may operate with a much smaller subset of that wider group.
The organisation primarily driving planning processes will vary between locations. Ideally, though, the finalised plan will be jointly owned at regulatory agency level, or a higher organisational partnership level for wider plans with non-regulated environment goals, as is the case with the CAAP.
For example, a 2017 strategic level overview completed as a first step towards developing an alcohol harm reduction plan for Queenstown Lakes District Council was primarily driven by the Council but with significant input from Public Health South and New Zealand Police, as principal partners, and consultation with licensees and a broad range of other stakeholders.
In another example, the non-government organisation Alcohol Healthwatch was the coordinating agency for the development of Action on Alcohol 2013–2018. This plan of action to reduce the harm from alcohol in Auckland resulted from collaboration between groups publicly funded to reduce alcohol-related harm in Auckland, including Auckland Regional Public Health, Hāpai Te Hauora, Police, Auckland Council and addiction services.
Delivery of an alcohol harm reduction plan and its component actions needs to respect the boundaries of the Council Licensing Inspector role ie, the duties and functions the role is funded for and their requirement to act independently from their territorial authority. Nevertheless, the territorial authority needs to ensure the licensing inspectors are supported to undertake their roles, including under s295(b) and with agency alcohol harm reduction plans. However, there is scope for some support in other areas as evidenced in plans developed to date.