Today the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) has published a report condemning the Public Health Responsibility Deal for Alcohol, suggesting it has “worsened the health of the nation”.
The report’s main findings include:
- The Responsibility Deal is not endorsed by academics or the public health community.
- It has pursued initiatives known to have limited efficacy in reducing alcohol-related harm.
- The evidence on the effectiveness of the Responsibility Deal is limited and unreliable, due to ambiguous goals and poor reporting practices.
- Where evaluation has been possible, implementation has often failed to live up to the letter and/or spirit of the pledges.
- The Responsibility Deal appears to have obstructed more meaningful initiatives with a stronger evidence base behind them.
What is the Responsibility Deal?
The Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD) was launched in 2011 as a
voluntary partnership between the government, commercial organisations,
public bodies, academics and NGOs to promote public health goals. Through
a set of non-binding pledges, these actors – and in particular industry – are
expected to take steps to reduce health harms.
The RD is organised into four networks addressing particular challenges,
each with distinct sets of pledges: food, alcohol, physical activity and health at
work. This paper evaluates the success of the Responsibility Deal Alcohol
At present (November 2015), there are 11 different pledges made in relation
to alcohol under the RD, each attracting different sets of signatories. These
are laid out in the report here.