CAP is based on the principles of partnership working, localism and value for money. CAP is unique in that it recognises that retailers/licensees are part of the solution.
The underlying philosophy behind CAP is that a partnership approach is the best way of tackling the issues around underage alcohol misuse. Underage alcohol consumption is a complex issue and will typically be tackled by a wide range of interest groups including children’s protection services, law enforcement agencies, community groups, health bodies, alcohol advisory groups, residents groups and retailers/licensees. The CAP model encourages and facilitates effective partnerships between these agencies and helps to align and maximise limited resources.
The types of partner organisations within a CAP would normally include:
- County Council
- Trading Standards
- Retail of Alcohol Standards Group (RASG) members
- Licensing teams
- Young People’s Services
- Local health and youth groups
- Safer Community teams
- Drug & Alcohol Action Team
- Local retailers/publicans
- Local schools
A strength of CAP lies in its links with the Retail of Alcohol Sales Group (RASG) which brings together the main off trade alcohol retailers found on the high street. CAP has shown that a partnership approach, with retailers working with trading standards and police, is more effective than an adversarial approach in tackling problems of underage drinking.
Although CAP is a nationally recognised and funded initiative, individual schemes are designed to deliver locally devised and controlled solutions to problems that are unique to a specific locality. Each CAP scheme operates in a clearly delineated and usually compact community and draws on local partners to manage delivery at grassroots level. This means in effect that it is local community that shapes, delivers and measures the impact of the CAP scheme.
The CAP area does not necessarily need to coincide with a local ward boundary but if it does so this is likely to make data collection for evaluation purposes easier. Experience suggests that CAP schemes are best managed in areas of no more than 25-30 off licence premises plus on trade establishment. Inclusion of one or two of the larger retailers who are part of the RASG helps ensure essential retailer support. Recently we have trialled larger sized CAPs - these include the borough wide Reading CAP and city wide Cardiff CAP. Early indications are that these work well, provided resources are deployed to areas of greatest need and appropriate partners involved at local level.
Value for money
CAPs are designed to be cost neutral; they do not duplicate existing activity but facilitate and encourage effective dialogue and partnership working amongst agencies who already have a statutory duty to prevent underage sales and/or are have as their aim the reduction of underage drinking and the associated harms to communities.