Local practice examples
There are a number of data sources about young people’s alcohol consumption that
enable us to build a national picture of the proportion of young people who drink
regularly, how this has changed over time and the characteristics of these young
people. Local authorities can access information about young people’s drinking behaviour
in their area from the TellUs4 survey (Chamberlain et al 2010). This allows local
authorities to compare local responses to other authorities and to regional and
national results. TellUs4 was a sample survey, however, and not all schools in a
local authority will have participated, which is worth considering when drawing
conclusions and assessing performance.
C4EO’s interactive data site at www.c4eo.org.uk enables local authority managers
to evaluate their current position in relation to a range of key national indicators
and to easily access publicly available comparative data on young people’s alcohol
Information is available at the national level to inform the development of local
practice. This includes information about young people’s patterns of alcohol use
and the principles that might best be followed to inform programmes to reduce alcohol
use among young people.
At the local level, it would be possible to identify whether young people’s use
of alcohol is included in a range of documents that inform local practice when working
towards the Every Child Matters five outcomes. Local policymakers can also draw
on other local proxy data in including youth A and E admissions, school exclusion
data and licensing authority data to build up a more comprehensive picture of the
nature of young people’s alcohol misuse.
However, it is likely that other information about local contextual factors that
influence young people’s use of alcohol will need to be collected – perhaps through
action-oriented young people- and/or practitioner-led forms of enquiry.
There is much research on young people’s consumption of alcohol and the factors
associated with consumption. Much of this is in the form of surveys and there remains
little which enquires into the cultures of young people’s (and their families’)
use of alcohol. Evidence is beginning to emerge about the sorts of activities and
programmes that have shown some promise with regard to reducing alcohol consumption
among young people.
However, most studies have been conducted in the USA and there is a need for further
enquiry – particularly evaluations – into the experiences of different constituencies
of young people, including those from black and minority ethnic communities and
among young people of different ages (such as 11-13-year-olds as well as older young