Health & Wellbeing Service - Manchester

Responsible Alcohol Sales


We have developed a number of activities to control the impact of alcohol misuse in the community since the Licensing Act 2003 came into effect in 2005. As part of our commissioned work to promote and support responsible retailing, Manchester’s local alcohol strategy aims to ensure alcohol is sold responsibly by:

  • Ensuring that licensed premises have information about the law, their responsibilities, and good practice in the sale of alcohol
  • Promoting and supporting responsible retailing through initiatives to recognise and reward good practice
  • Raising public awareness of the benefits of responsible retailing and using well-managed premises
  • Developing partnership work with the Licensing Authority, Responsible Authorities, and local retailers, including data-sharing where appropriate
  • Ensuring that targeting of enforcement activity is intelligence-led and based on information from a range of sources, including responsible authorities and local communities

Our programmes of work aim to support the use of existing laws, regulations and controls available to all the local partners to minimise alcohol related harm.

Preventing and dealing with drunkenness training


Do you work in alcohol retail? Did you know you could be fined up to £1,000 for selling alcohol to a person who is drunk, or knowingly allowing it to be sold? Ensure you and your staff understand your legal responsibilities and are able to recognise signs of drunkenness.

Public Health Development Service, in partnership with Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council, provide FREE 1 hour training sessions to licensed premises across the city.

Training sessions include:

  • General awareness of the effects of alcohol
  • Legal duties in relation to under age sales, selling alcohol to a person is drunk and the Mandatory Code on Selling Alcohol Responsibly
  • How to recognise when a person is drunk using a checklist of common signs
  • How to refuse service with increased confidence

Training is designed for managers, supervisors and alcohol retail staff in both on and off-licensed premises and is accompanied by a free retailer pack containing customer signage, pocket checklists for staff, and a laminated refusals pass. 100% of alcohol retail staff who have attended the training recommend it. For more details on training materials and resources, click here.

To book a refresher session for your premises, contact Liz Burns to discuss your requirements.

Responsible Alcohol Sales resources


To order supplies of any of these resources or for further details about Responsible Alcohol Sales training, please contact Liz Burns

  • Responsible Alcohol Sales training booklet focuses on Challenge 25, recognising signs of drunkenness, refusal skills and drugs awareness.
  • Know Your Limits display notice explains s141 of the law in relation to selling alcohol to a person who is drunk.
  • Know Your Limits bar staff checklist includes tips and advice on how to prevent and deal with drunkenness (accompanies Responsible Alcohol Sales refresher training).
  • Know Your Limits/Challenge 25 lanyard pass includes a reminder of signs of drunkenness as well as notice explaining the law in relation to selling alcohol to a person who is drunk (comes with free lanyard).
  • Check Your Units aims to help local businesses commit to taking local action in support of the Alcohol Pledge within the Public Health Responsibility Deal.
  • Licensed Premises Log Books are available to order and include relevant recording forms to authorise staff to sell or supply alcohol, document refused sales, incidents, and staff training records
  • ‘No Street Drinking’ signage for premises situated in an alcohol restricted area (i.e. a DPPO area)
  • Responsible Alcohol Sales Order Form contains a summary of key material currently available, both nationally and locally, and is listed against the relevant measure within Manchester City Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy 2011-2016


How to report licensing issues


This guide aims to support community staff to share concerns, complaints or doubts about ‘licensed premises’ or ‘temporary events’. You may be a community safety officer, health or social worker, or youth worker, seeing or hearing about ‘licensing issues’ (without realising) in your day-to-day work. With over 2500 licensed premises across the city, you can play a vital role in helping us to do something early before the problem goes from bad to worse.

The Licensing Act 2003 provides a clear focus on the promotion of 4 main objectives when licensable activities are undertaken:

  • Prevention of crime and disorder
  • Prevention of public nuisance
  • Public safety
  • Protection of children from harm

It is important we ensure the necessary protection of local residents, visitors to the city, our service users, children and vulnerable groups. Here are some examples of relevant issues:

  • Irresponsible drinks promotions including drinking games
  • Bars, clubs or shops selling alcohol to someone who is already drunk
  • Sale of alcohol to underage children and young people
  • Shops, supermarkets, bars or clubs not checking proof of age I.D.
  • Adults buying alcohol for kids outside (known as “by proxy” sales)
  • Drug use or drug dealing including so-called ‘Legal Highs’
  • Overcrowded premises
  • Anti-social behaviour in or around the premises
  • Noise breaking out
  • Children exposed to adult entertainment, drunk or rowdy behaviour
  • Children at risk of child sexual exploitation
  • Ignoring the Smoke Free laws
  • Litter / broken bottles outside the premises

To download a copy of our 2009 Guide to Reporting Licensing Issues....

City centre Reduce the Strength pilot


To reduce alcohol-related problems in an anti-social behaviour hotspot, a ‘Reduce the Strength’ initiative was piloted as part of a partnership approach to promoting responsible alcohol retailing by local authority, police and public health officers. Off-licences were invited to voluntarily stop selling high strength beers, lagers and ciders at 6.5% abv or above and ‘Responsible Alcohol Sales’ training provided free of charge. The project highlights the value of Integrated Neighbourhood Teams working with public health to deliver multi-component programmes to reduce harm in and around licensed premises.

Price survey 2010


The Core Cities Collaborative Price Survey was undertaken in areas of Manchester with the highest numbers of alcohol specific hospital admissions. Price within the cheapest top ten products varied between 11p – 16p per unit. If there was a minimum unit price of 50p, the cheapest alcoholic product identified within this survey could not be sold for less than £16.87 rather than £3.99 at time of survey.

Project Report 2008/2009


The Responsible Alcohol Sales Project 2008-2009 was developed and delivered by the Tackling Alcohol Related Crime (TARC) group in order to address particular objectives identified in the Manchester Alcohol Strategy 2008-2011. The aim of the project was to encourage responsible alcohol retailing in Manchester through three activities.

Project Report 2005-2008


The NHS Drinking Responsibly Project had an overarching aim to contribute to an existing partnership approach to raise alcohol retailers’ standards of social responsibility with a particularly emphasis on training and promotion of responsible drinking at point of sale. Initially funded by Neighbourhood Renewal Funds (June 2005-March 2007), the project was mainstreamed from April 2007 funded by Choosing Health. Conclusions from the report were presented at the Club Health Conference 2008.