Summer 2013

The challenge

Lambeth Council wanted to look again at alcohol licencing in the borough, thanks to public health problems and disorder relating to the night time economy. The goal was to balance the needs of residents and overstretched services with those of revellers and small businesses, to create a borough that was aspirational, secure and where people look after each other. Proposals included:

  • requirements that license holders demonstrate engagement with neighbours
  • a joint commitment to enforce the terms of licenses
  • ‘purple flag’ schemes to reward good management of town centres at night
  • voluntary self-policing by businesses (e.g. self-imposed policies like “no single can sales”)

How we approached it

We were commissioned to carry out the consultation with stakeholders. We drafted materials and carried out a large-scale engagement process, reaching into different sectors and groups, across different parts of the borough. It included online and offline surveys, email submissions, and interviews with businesses and other stakeholders. The findings were weighted to reflect six different ward clusters, which represented roughly the different types of areas in Lambeth.

What happened

There were well over 1,000 responses to the consultation, including 350 street surveys with residents, and nearly 300 conversations with other stakeholders. Ideas like ‘late night levies’ and ‘one strike rules’ for serving underage people were deliberated and amended to reflect the public consensus, and a set of recommendations went forward about how channels could be kept open between stakeholders and the authority as changes were brought in.