Public health participation in alcohol licensing decisions in England: the importance of navigating "contested space"

Somerville, Linda Alexandra, Thom, Betsy ORCID logoORCID: and Herring, Rachel ORCID logoORCID: (2020) Public health participation in alcohol licensing decisions in England: the importance of navigating "contested space". Drugs and Alcohol Today, 20 (4) . pp. 323-335. ISSN 1745-9265 [Article] (doi:10.1108/DAT-05-2020-0025)

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The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act of 2011, added ‘health bodies’ as responsible authorities in licensing and, in practice, Directors of Public Health undertook this role. Despite this legislation facilitating the inclusion of public health in partnerships around licensing in England, wide variations in involvement levels by Public Health professionals persist This article is based on the findings from interviews that explored the experiences of public health professionals engaging with local established partnerships around alcohol licensing. Qualitative data were collected through twenty-one interviews in a purposeful sample of London boroughs. These data were combined with analyses of relevant area documentation and observations of fourteen licensing sub-committee meetings in one London borough over a seven-month period. Thematic analysis of all data sources was conducted to identify emerging themes.

This study highlighted the importance of successful navigation of the ‘contested space’ (Hunter and Perkins, 2014) surrounding both public health practice and licensing partnerships. In some instances, contested spaces were successfully negotiated and public health departments achieved an increased level of participation within the partnership. Ultimately, improvements in engagement levels of public health teams within licensing could be achieved.

The paper explores a neglected aspect of research around partnership working and highlights the issues arising when a new partner attempts to enter an existing partnership.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Public health, alcohol licensing, contested spaces, professional identity
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
Item ID: 30423
Notes on copyright: Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited
This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact
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Depositing User: Rachel Herring
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2020 12:52
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 19:43

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