7.3 Liquor licensing

Local government: Results of the 2005/06 audits.

Local authorities exercise a range of important regulatory powers under various pieces of legislation. One of these is the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 (the Liquor Act), which makes local authorities responsible for issuing licences for the sale or supply of liquor to the public. The system of regulatory control established by the Liquor Act is designed to help reduce liquor abuse.

In their capacity as District Licensing Agencies, local authorities must consult and collaborate with other agencies that have their own statutory powers under the Liquor Act – principally the Police and Medical Officers of Health. The audit will examine how local authorities work with these regulatory partners.

Through the exercise of its liquor licensing powers, each local authority affects the safety and well-being of its community. The Liquor Act requires each local authority to discharge specific statutory responsibilities, but also gives each local authority, in performing that role, some scope to reflect the particular expectations of its own community. We will examine how each local authority gives effect to those expectations through its liquor licensing policies and practices.

The audit will examine liquor licensing activities in a representative selection of local authorities. We expect to provide assurance that, in the selected authorities, policies and practices comply with the requirements of the Liquor Act and that local authorities are performing this function consistently, effectively, and efficiently. The audit will also identify issues facing the sector, promote good practice, and highlight areas for improvement.

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