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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Town House. View directions

Contact: Garry Watson, tel. 01224 523057 or email 

No. Item


Minute of Meeting of 21 December 2017 and matters arising pdf icon PDF 77 KB


The Forum had before it the minute of the previous meeting.


It was agreed that on line 4 of paragraph 1 on page 6, the word ‘report’ should be entered to read, ‘The report focussed…’.


It was agreed that in paragraph 7 of the same text, the phrase ‘service users’ should be replaced with, ‘participants to the study’.


There were no matters arising from the minute.


The Forum resolved:-

to approve the minute as a true record subject to the foregoing amendments.




Membership Updates


There were no membership updates.



Training - Alcohol Focus Scotland

The Forum is delighted to welcome Aidan Collins from Alcohol Focus Scotland, who will give a presentation on their recent licensing work and ‘Taking Stock’ report.There will follow an opportunity for discussion.


The Vice Chairperson welcomed Aiden from Alcohol Focus Scotland to the meeting.


Aiden conducted a training presentation accompanied by slides.


He discussed three key drivers, namely:


1)    Increased availability of alcohol;

2)    Increased marketing of alcohol, and

3)    low pricing


Aiden explained that the low pricing had led to people ‘pre-loading’ at home before going out.


He advised that, each year, approximately 96% of new licence applications are approved and pointed out that there are sixteen times more places to buy alcohol in Scotland than there are GP surgeries.  He added that deprived areas had, on average, 40% more alcohol outlets than affluent areas.


The Act created the requirement for local authorities to have a Statement of Licensing Policy, in response to which the various stakeholders had pooled their data in order to produce the ‘Taking Stock’ report, from which 5 key themes had emerged:


1)    Joint working/Collaboration;

2)    Inconsistency in policy/practice;

3)    Transparency, accountability and public participation;

4)    Legislative complexity and Litigation; and

5)    Resourcing of the Licensing System.


There were divergences, such as ‘harm’ as viewed by health vs non-health personnel, and public participation was identified as a huge issue, as people felt either intimidated/unsupported or they simply weren’t interested.


It was agreed that Forums were the key to getting everyone together.


Aiden concluded his presentation by saying that, although progress was being made,  careful consideration needed to be given to resourcing, to reduce the reliance on volunteers (Forums) and to guard against unacceptable workloads being undertaken by Licensing Standards Officers.


There followed an opportunity for questions and discussion.


Aiden circulated two handouts:

1)    The Licensing Resource Pack-Community Toolkit; and

2)    The ‘Taking Stock’ report.


Emily Queen noted the contribution of the local Unight group, which brought the Licence Trade, Police and other key stakeholders together.  She said that it had moved on from its initial ‘banned from one…banned from all’ policy and was now a much more collaborative group which was trying engage with and inform licensing policy.


The Vice Chairperson echoed Emily’s comments and said that the Police had been very open and honest; asking what the Licence Trade thought they were getting wrong, and had reacted positively to the feedback they received from the Trade.  The result was a Unight group which was now more productive and had a partnership atmosphere.


Aiden noted that there were issues around making sure that Licensing Boards listened to their respective Forums.


Update from Police Scotland


Deferred to next meeting.


Update from Licensing Standards Officer


Diane Sande advised that she was due to attend the annual Licensing Standards Officer meet-up.  She advised that the theme for this year’s meeting was Minimum Unit Pricing and she said that an update would be given to the Forum.


The Forum resolved:-

to note the update.


Update from Unight Representative


Sarah Wheeler advised that defibrillator training continued to be rolled out and that the group was currently focussing on the Statement of Licensing Policy, with ideas around overprovision.


The Forum resolved:-

to note the update.


Update from NHS Grampian and Alcohol and Drugs Partnership pdf icon PDF 486 KB

1.    Minimum Unit Price - our submission was made on 25th Jan 2018.  "Aberdeen City Licensing Forum is broadly in agreement with the evidence supporting the introduction of MUP as it will result in reducing negative outcomes relating to the over consumption of cheap alcohol and is intended to therefore ultimately save lives.  This will be of particular benefit to those hazardous and harmful drinkers residing in areas of highest deprivation.  Concerns regarding any unintended consequence of the Minimum Unit Price are noted and may still arise, but may be offset by evidence that shows that more individuals may in fact come forward for support and treatment, and that the Scottish Government will undertake a full evaluation of its impact." 


2.    ?Taking Stock - AFS report: Views and experiences of alcohol licensing in Scotland in 2016/17 reports on progress within the licensing system and makes recommendations for improvement. The report has been informed by the views of those involved in the licensing system who attended a series of regional events, held by Alcohol Focus Scotland in late 2016. The main findings that emerged from these discussions were:

  • The system is too complex and it is difficult for local people to get involved in shaping licensing policy and decision-making. 
  • There are disagreements about the role and purpose of alcohol licensing, particularly between those working in licensing and those working in public health.
  • Licensing hearings can be intimidating for people who aren’t legal experts and public information about licensing is inaccessible. 
  • Local licensing forums, the main mechanism for public engagement, aren’t functioning effectively so there is a lack of proper scrutiny of policy and decision-making. 

Full report can be viewed at


Additional documents:


Heather Wilson advised that pregnancy advice was currently being promoted and that posters were available.


She also advised that Rohan was seeking feedback on the report that was presented to the December meeting and it was agreed that comments could be submitted to the Clerk.


Heather further advised that Health and Social Care Partnership workshops were going to be taking place with the focus on improving and extending community participation.


The Forum resolved:-

that members would submit any feedback individually to the Clerk; and

to otherwise note the update


Update from Children's Services Representative


Deferred to next meeting.




The Forum was reminded that a Licensing Conference was scheduled for the 8th March in the Town and County Hall, Aberdeen Town House and that members needed to register to take part.


Gary Jobson advised the Forum that a project proposal, in respect of his Police Diploma, had been approved and that he would be circulating questionnaires to the Forum members in due course.