Local government alcohol-related data

The purpose of this support sheet is to assist local governments to collect their own data to better inform strategy and actions efforts. This will also assist in measuring impacts of and actions being implemented over time.

Keeping record of alcohol-related activity or issues that relate to the business of your council does not have to involve complex data systems or analysis skills.

The below table provides some examples of the type of data and information local governments can collect. Where possible, it is recommended that all information is recorded by time of day and location.

Data type Examples Data sourceWhat can this data tell you? 
Alcohol-related noise complaints. ·       Categorised and recorded noise complaints, including enforcement options used.·       Complaints register. ·       Environmental Health.Noise complaints that show a definite link to excessive consumption of alcohol products may indicate a need to look at the local availability of alcohol and to liaise with the relevant people involved about the role of alcohol in the issues at hand.
Alcohol-related litter.·       Clean-up costs associated with events & licenced premises. ·       Volume collected. ·       Type of litter.·       Waste management. ·       Security patrols. ·       Environmental Health.Alcohol-related litter can provide local government workers with information on where people congregate when drinking as well as the types and volumes of alcohol products being consumed. Alcohol-related litter information collected can be used to liaise with local licencees and business operators about concerns or inform assessments of liquor licence applications. Large amounts of litter left by groups in parks or other public spaces could indicate a need to develop strategies for managing rubbish disposal and collection.
Community security patrol data·       Number of callouts that were alcohol-related. ·       Type of incident where alcohol was a contributing factor. ·       Location of call outs.·       Security patrols. ·       Community Safety. ·       Security.Information that security patrols can collect will often be more timely and specific to the locality than other external sources of data and can inform planning and other relevant local government decisions to support and uphold community amenity.
Alcohol outlet count and density ·       VCGLR’s liquor licenses map. ·       Number of liquor outlets. ·       Location of liquor outlets.·       Planning.Identify distance from one outlet to another and proximity to community-based facilities, such as schools and sports clubs. This data can be mapped against the locations where alcohol-related crimes and incidents occur to represent the connection between alcohol outlet density and community problems.
Maintenance and management of public space ·       Number of incidents associated with alcohol-related property damage, damage to bus stops, graffiti, flora and fauna. ·       Clean up costs associated with damage. ·       Security patrols. ·       Environmental Health.Identify public places where alcohol was a contributing factor to antisocial behaviour.
Alcohol-related sponsorship of sporting clubs and events ·       Tracking of community sporting club sponsorships by big alcohol product brands via leasing agreements. ·       Tracking of cultural and arts events sponsored by big alcohol product brands.·       Via event permits. ·       Vic council leasing agreements.It is well evidenced that alcohol product promotion and placement can influence consumption.  Mapping sponsorship by big alcohol product brands can provide council insight into where product placement and promotion could be influencing increased issues associated with alcohol product consumption and provide opportunity to better direct council efforts, particularly where young people and vulnerable groups may be negatively influenced and impacted.
Community attitudes and concerns  ·       Number of community concerns relating to alcohol product consumption through complaints register or community surveys. ·       Community Services Officer ·       All relevant departmentsIdentify concerns by community and business related to alcohol that needs further investigation.
Resident and business complaints·       Complaints by residents recorded using specific software. May involve electronic service request systems or excel. More elaborate programs such as ‘Electronic Document Management systems’ are sometimes also available.·       Email available for people to write to council and register complaints. ·       Electronic complaints system. All departments. Identify concerns raised by residents and businesses related to alcohol product consumption that needs further investigation.
Liquor licence applications ·       Number of existing licence by licence type.·       Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation. ·       All departments dealing with liquor licences (e.g. Environmental Health, Planning).This data can give you information about the number and mix of licenced premises in your area. This data can be mapped against the locations where alcohol-related issues occur.
Community consultation regarding high-risk licence applications ·       Through use of community and business surveys.·       All departments dealing with liquor licences (e.g. Environmental Health, Planning).This data can be used to identify the existing concerns by the community. Potential to identify any gaps in local government key strategic documents that could be addressed to manage future community concerns.

This tool was developed by, and adapted with the permission of the WA Mental Health Commission, WA Local Government Association, and Dr Melissa Stoneham.

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