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Issue:- 28/29  October 2009

Supermarket cheap booze offers fuelling surge in alcohol harm

A rising tide of super-cheap supermarket alcohol deals is contributing to the big increase in alcohol-related harm in the North West, according to a mystery shopper survey conducted by North West wellbeing and health campaigners, Our Life.  In visits to supermarkets in 6 towns and cities in all 5 regions of the North West, Our Life found that ultra-cheap offers were widespread, with alcohol being promoted and sold at pocket-money prices. Our Life's head of campaigns and advocacy Calum Irving said:- "The results of our survey are staggering. Across the North West alcohol is being sold and promoted irresponsibly by supermarkets and what’s more, we can prove it. When you can buy 18 bottles of Becks lager for £5 from Tesco or a two-litre bottle of cider from Sainsbury’s for £1.21, or just 14p per unit, you have to wonder whether the supermarkets aren’t using cheap alcohol as a deliberate promotional tool to attract customers." 

According to Our Life, who have published a report on their findings to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week this week, alcohol is now 75% more affordable in relative terms than it was in 1980. The same period has also seen a massive rise in the incidence of alcohol related harm and violence across the North West and the rest of the UK. Figures released this week say that England will see 90,800 alcohol-related deaths over the next ten years. The financial cost of alcohol-related harm to the NHS in the North West alone is already estimated to be in excess of £400 million per year.  "Supermarket super-cheap deals are also having a devastating effect on local pubs, many of which are having a difficult time in the current recession.  In some of the supermarkets we visited the amount of cheap booze piled up in the aisles and the sheer number of offers had to be seen to be believed. In an Asda in Widnes, out of 202 packs of beer, 105 were on special offer and in the same shop over half of the wine on sale was on special offer." said Lrving.

Our Life claims that the supermarkets are responsible for the creation of a culture where the expectation of cheap alcohol is the norm rather than the exception. A culture which campaigners claim is driving up consumption and related harm.   "Everyone loves a bargain but the supermarkets' headlong rush to outdo each other in selling cheap alcohol is having grave consequences for the region's health.  We know that the most harmful drinkers buy their alcohol from the supermarkets and young drinkers pre-load before hitting the pubs and clubs. These super-cheap deals are making it too easy for people to drink at harmful levels. It is irresponsible behaviour from companies who often say that they have their customers' interests at heart and it has to stop." said Our Life chief executive Dr Alison Giles.

Our Life is calling for a code of conduct for the off-trade and legislation to introduce a minimum price per unit to tackle irresponsible alcohol promotions. "Supermarkets have to realise that they have a responsibility for what they sell and how they sell it.  It cannot be a coincidence that we see rising alcohol harm in the North West on the one hand and pocket-money drinks prices on the other. People in the North West can see the link between price and excessive consumption and they want action now to address the problem."

The report Supermarket Scandal: Super-cheap Alcohol Sales in the North West is available from Our Life.

Coaching & mentoring skills to be rolled out across the North West

SENIOR executives across the North West are set to benefit from a suite of qualifications developed by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), recognised by Ofqual. Launched today, the new range of qualifications have been created in response to research and consultation showing that the majority of employees want to develop their skills with a support network of coaches and mentors.

The qualifications range from the Level 3 Award, Certificate and Diploma in Coaching and Mentoring (equivalent to A-Levels) through to the Level 7 Award, Certificate and Diploma in Leadership Coaching and Mentoring (comparable to Masters degree level). Designed to meet the needs of first-time managers, and the more experienced business leader, the programme of qualifications will cover a wide variety of topics. These range from understanding organisational culture and mentoring for teams and individuals, through to performance management and the strategic development of staff.

The new qualifications complement CMI’s existing Level 5 qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring (equal to a first degree level). Individuals undertaking the programme do not have to possess previous qualifications, although it is expected that individuals will be working at the level of the qualification they are studying.

Roger Murphy, CMI Regional Manager North West says:- “In today’s fast moving and cost-conscious business environment, there is a strong case to be made for coaching and mentoring to be made available to all employees. Everyone needs someone they can turn to for advice, however critical, and if the knowledge economy is going to become a reality, we need staff to have the capability to share what they know.”

According to research conducted by the CMI across the UK, 68% of managers say that coaching is an effective method of learning. 23% prefer to learn from colleagues; whilst 15% argue that they are more comfortable seeking the advice of managers in other organisations.  CMI’s research also shows that online coaching is becoming more frequent as organisations recognise the time and cost savings of blending traditional learning methods with emerging technologies. E-coaching for example, was used by 14% of directors in 2008, compared to 10%, 12 months previously. In the same period, use of discussion forums by middle managers jumped 8 points, to 36%.

Roger McCartney continues:- “There has been a significant surge in the use of new media as a coaching tool, primarily because employers are beginning to recognise that capturing knowledge is just as important as sharing it. Through technology, not only can individuals receive coaching and mentoring support. Now they can refer to the support they receive online at a time and place that suits them best.”

CMI’s new qualifications are offered by Approved Centres across the UK and can be delivered as individual courses, or linked to in-house company training programmes. 

Further information about the new qualifications can be found online at:-

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