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Alcohol Harm Index (formerly HaLO tool)

Directors of Public Health are designated as one of the Responsible Authorities for all alcohol licensing decisions in England. Since there is currently no explicit licensing objective around health, any representations need to be based on the Licensing Act 2003.

There are four licensing objectives which underpin the Act and which need to be taken into account and promoted throughout the licensing process. 

The licensing objectives are: 

Public Health’s role 

As a Responsible Authority, Public Health teams: 

The purpose of the Alcohol Harm Index is to enable Public Health to consider all alcohol-related health harms when considering a licensing application.

Development of Alcohol Harm Index

In 2016, Public Health England with support of the Home Office and the Department of Health developed and piloted an analytical tool to help public health teams fulfil this role. Subsequently, versions are used by local authorities in Cornwall, Wigan and Leeds. Somerset County Council Public Health have developed a version of this tool to inform the licensing process. 

Like other’s versions, it is designed as a straightforward one-stop resource with links to various data sources to provide supportive evidence linked to alcohol related harm. The tool provides an overall comparative county wide “harm ranking” at a Lower-layer Super Output Area level (LSOA)*. The results from the tool will be used as part of Public Health’s representations to licensing applications. 

Somerset's Alcohol Harm Index calculates relative risk of alcohol harm within Somerset and is not intended for comparisons outside of the local context. 

An in depth methodology can be viewed here.

Who should use this tool 

This tool is publicly available for anyone to use and refer to. We encourage anyone making a new alcohol license application to use the tool:

How to use the Alcohol Harm Index

  1. Select a postcode from the dropdown box. Using the search function will make this easier.
  2. The tool will then tell you which LSOA this postcode sits in. 
  3. Select the relevant LSOA from the second dropdown box.
  4. Click 'Proceed' to generate the report. This will show risk scores for each data indicator and an overall risk score.

Alcohol Harm Index Tool 

*Lower-layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) are small areas designed to be of a similar population size, with an average of approximately 1,500 residents or 650 households. There are 32,844 Lower-layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in England.