Better Regulation Delivery Office
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Fresh action in battle against underage sales
LBRO is to work on fresh proposals to tackle the issue of sales to children of alcohol, cigarettes and other age-restricted products.
The move follows publication of Better Regulation of Age Restricted Sales: A Retail View, submitted by the independent Age-Restricted Products Review Group, representing major businesses, trade associations and professional bodies with around 250,000 retail outlets.
LBRO has welcomed the report which calls for the law on underage sales simplified and made more effective, with the current 18 separate pieces of legislation unified. Its authors make 12 recommendations, including closer working between regulators and businesses and more effective test-purchasing.
LBRO Chairman Clive Grace said: "Many businesses invest heavily in controls to prevent young people from buying age-restricted products, but feel that regulators do not acknowledge their contribution.
"Local businesses have ‘on the ground' knowledge that can be put to good use in preventing illegal sales and tackling wider issues arising from them such as antisocial behaviour. We hope these recommendations will lead to a new relationship between store owners and regulators, in which the business plays a central role as part of the solution."
LBRO will work on proposals for:
Simpler legislation: Retailers face inconsistent expectations. A simplified approach would reduce illegal sales of age-restricted products and reduce burdens on businesses. Clearer expectations of retailers would support business to train their employees more effectively.
Extension of Primary Authority: Expansion of Primary Authority (see editors' notes) could offer a more consistent approach to managing age-restricted products. Common approaches could be developed through inspection plans, incorporating internal training and test purchasing that many businesses already do.
Better guidance: Retailers expressed concern over the targeting, organisation and follow-up of test purchasing. New guidance should provide clarity: for example, ensuring that businesses are informed when staff refuse sales to test purchase volunteers, and tackle uncertainties around online purchases.
Enhanced visibility of local authority support: Businesses should be encouraged to take advantage of local regulators' advice, training and award schemes, and more could be done to share best practice and experiences of local authorities.
For the recommendations and the full Age-Restricted Products report, go to: www.lbro.org.uk/publications-external-research.html