Responsible drinking programmes
supported by European spirits producers

• “Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP)”
COUNTRY United Kingdom
TIMING 2007 > Ongoing


  • The Wine and Spirit Trade Association


  • Community Alcohol Partnerships bring together local retailers & licensees, trading standards, police, health services, education providers and other local stakeholders.
  • The Retail of Alcohol Standards Group (RASG) was set up in 2005 by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA). RASG members have provided funding for CAP since its inception in 2007.
  • CAP funding partners for 2015-2017 are Aldi, Asda, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), Bargain Booze/Conviviality Retail, Co-op, Diageo, Heineken, Lidl, One Stop, Marks and Spencer, Molson Coors, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, SHS Drinks, Spar, Tesco and Waitrose. 
  • Also partnering are: Police, Trading Standards, Youth Services, Schools, Local charities and Residents Associations.


  • To tackle the problem of underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.
  • To help shape a society in which communities work in partnership to ensure that children do not drink alcohol and where all underage people learn to develop responsible attitudes to drinking as they become adults.


  • CAP’s origins lie with the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group (RASG), set up in 2005 by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), to tackle underage sales and purchases of alcohol.  In addition to developing Challenge 25 to tackle the supply of alcohol, a pilot was tested in St Neots, which sought to influence demand via a combination of enforcement, education and community engagement.  The results of this were sufficiently promising for RASG to fund a more extensive pilot project in Kent in 2009, incorporating the lessons learned in St Neots.  Following positive independent evaluation of the Kent CAP, CAP became a Community Interest Company (CiC) in 2011. The CAP model has been tested and shown to work in a range of settings that include inner city, suburban and rural environments.  A combination of enforcement, education, engagement of the community and businesses, and provision of diversionary activity for young people is the hallmark of the CAP model.  CAP is based on a partnership approach that includes co-operation between a range of local authority departments. 
  • CAP activity is always locally determined but will generally encourage and include a focus on education, enforcement, public perception, communication, diversionary activity and evaluation.
  • The core activity of Community Alcohol Partnerships includes: 
    • Education - Each CAP includes some educational aspects. These might include partnering with local schools to deliver age appropriate alcohol education, teacher training support and parental advice and guidance;
    • Enforcement Activity - CAPs focus on both the supply and the demand side of underage drinking and treat retailers as part of the solution and not part of the problem. The enforcement activity is informed by all stakeholders, who share information and co-ordinate their response. Police patrols are supported by evidence from stakeholders and follow up activity co-ordinated with the local authority and retailers;
    • Training - CAP retailers champion the use of Challenge 25 and also support independent retailers with training including on conflict resolution, identifying fake ID and how to make a challenge. They ensure that all messages and literature are co-ordinated across the CAP area, targeting specific groups where appropriate.
  • The early CAPs tended to run for around 12-18 months and focused exclusively on underage issues but increasingly CAPs are being maintained over longer periods of time and many that have successfully reduced underage alcohol misuse widen their focus to other forms of harm e.g. street drinking or drunkenness among 18-24s
  • comprehensive website contains more information on the initiative.


  • CAPs have been set up in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and there is an extensive network across England.
  • The number of CAPs has more than doubled from 57 at the beginning of 2014 to 124 by the end of 2016.   23 schemes were launched in 2016 and 20 new schemes are being planned as of early 2017. Their plan for the next four, is to double the number of active CAP schemes accross the UK from 150 to 300. 


  • CAP’s evaluation framework was developed for CAP by London Metropolitan University in 2012 and reviewed by Arcola Research in 2016.  It provides a means for CAPs to measure their performance against key objectives. A revised evaluation framework that takes into account Arcola’s recommendations will be made available in 2017 and published on the CAP website.  
  • Since 2013 all CAPs have been required to conduct a baseline and post intervention evaluation using the CAP evaluation framework or another agreed set of measures.  CAPs are further encouraged to use third party evaluators where possible.  Five CAP schemes have been subject to independent academic evaluations with positive results in each case.  
  • 2016 saw
    • Proxy or agent purchase and attempted proxy purchase CAP evaluations show that on average alcohol-related youth anti-social behaviour fell by 40% in CAP areas.  Barnsley CAP reported a 30% drop compared with a 7.4% drop in a matched control area while County Durham CAP achieved a 25% reduction (rising to 50% during school holidays) compared with a 15% drop in a matched control area in Darlington. Furthermore, seizures of alcohol from under 18s drinking in public fell by 85% and attempted purchases by under 18s fell by 75%. 
    • Several CAPs achieved a 100% pass rate following Challenge 25 training and almost all reported significantly improved multi agency partnership working and a “joined up” approach to tackling underage drinking that included retailers as part of the solution.
    • In CAP areas there was a significant reduction (41-65%) in attempted proxy purchase. 
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