This briefing summarises NICE's recommendations for local authorities and their partner organisations on how to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. It supports local government in its public health role, including its leadership of health and wellbeing boards. The briefing also supports local authorities in their duty to commission alcohol misuse prevention and treatment interventions.

Data submitted by the Department of Health to the Health Select Committee (Government's alcohol strategy. Third report of session 2012–13) estimate the costs of alcohol misuse as follows:

  • NHS in England – £3.5 billion per year (at 2009/10 costs).

  • Crime in England – £11 billion per year (at 2010/11 costs).

  • Lost productivity in the UK – £7.3 billion per year (at 2009/10 costs).

The submission estimates that the total cost to society is about £21 billion per year. (This does not include the impact of alcohol misuse on families and communities.)

Local authorities, in collaboration with their local partners:

  • can influence where and when alcohol is consumed or sold

  • can enforce laws on underage sales

  • have an important role in ensuring licensed premises operate responsibly and collaborate to reduce alcohol-related harm

  • have a role in promoting and advising people about sensible drinking

  • have responsibility for commissioning alcohol prevention and specialist treatment

  • have responsibility for Health Check which, from April 2013 will include an assessment of how much alcohol someone drinks (NHS Health Check assessments are carried out nationwide on eligible adults aged 40–74).

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is an independent organisation providing guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.

For further information on how to use this briefing and how it was developed, see About this briefing.