How to start your own liquor accord

The motivation to form an accord must start at a local level. There are no restrictions preventing any person from setting up an accord, but obviously the person or group must be associated with a liquor licensee or a stakeholder agency (e.g. local branch of an industry association, or local or state government).

Note: Before adopting liquor accord strategies, you should obtain separate legal advice on the implications of trade practices laws and other legal requirements.

Step 1: Define your accord area

Accord areas are often defined by geographical boundaries, such as local council areas, police divisional and district boundaries, or a unique entertainment or community precinct.

The area must be local and easily managed by the accord coordinator (see Step 4 below).

Step 2: Involve the right people

Enlisting the right people and maintaining their support is vital to the success of your liquor accord. Those involved in accords are community representatives that are affected by issues in your area. These can include:

  • liquor industry business members
    • brewers
    • hotels
    • registered clubs
    • restaurants
    • vessels
    • other licensed premises
  • liquor industry association representatives
  • community and welfare group representatives
  • Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) officers
  • Queensland Police Service officers
  • Queensland Health officers
  • emergency services
  • members of local council
  • body corporate managers
  • transport providers
  • entertainment and sporting clubs and venues.

Step 3: Funding your accord

Although not expensive to manage and maintain, accords can be supported by a small subscription fee. A fee may be used to cover the costs associated with newsletters and promotional material.

Local councils and government agencies may provide additional support by way of a special grant. Alternatively, suppliers and service providers for your members may also provide sponsorship. Sponsors should be approved by all accord members.

Step 4: Establish a steering committee

Set up your steering committee at the very beginning. These people will drive the accord development from the original idea, to a working group and on to implementing the strategies.

The steering committee seeks support from accord participants. It is responsible for:

  1. determining committee composition
  2. determining the accord area
  3. gathering key data, including a list of all liquor outlets by type, offences committed, and problem locations
  4. identifying key local issues
  5. identifying and inviting participants to the accord
  6. coordinating meetings
  7. ensuring inclusive communication across all stakeholders
  8. coordinating promotion of the accord
  9. developing an evaluation plan
  10. preparing a draft accord document for review by participants
  11. identifying strategy options for review by participants
  12. coordinating implementation of strategies.

Accord participants (including the steering committee) must be keen to contribute their time and resources to strategies. Equal contribution of ideas and action from all members is vital to the accord's success.

If you join the steering committee or workgroup you will be required for 3 to 5 meetings before the first formal accord meeting. The launch and bi-monthly or quarterly meetings generally last no more than 2 hours each.

Step 5: Nominate an accord coordinator

The accord coordinator is the central point of communication and management of the accord. The coordinator should:

  • ensure regular communication between the participants through meetings, newsletters and emails
  • monitor accord initiatives and report to stakeholders
  • delegate tasks to accord participants
  • ensure the continuity and relevance of the accord.

Step 6: Develop local strategies

Liquor accords develop local solutions for local issues. Your accord must include unique strategies to address issues specific to your local area and the people who visit the area.

Strategy examples for liquor accords provide specific examples under 3 broad topics:

  • responsible service of alcohol
  • improve safety and security
  • commitment to being good neighbours.

You can tailor these strategies to suit your local situations.

Step 7: Document your accord

Formalise your accord with a document that is signed by all participants. Make the document as simple as possible. It will be used to align local business practices with meeting the objectives of your accord strategies. Consider if using the amended Pro-forma Liquor Accord Arrangement is right for your liquor accord.

Your liquor accord document will:

  • formalise the principles of the accord members
  • act as a voluntary agreement between participants
  • not substitute or impact the normal liquor licensing enforcement or development approval processes.

You should get legal advice on the implications of trade practices laws and other legal requirements before adopting liquor accord strategies. For more information, read Legal protection for your liquor accord.

Step 8: Promote and launch your accord

You have created an accord for the benefit of the community and local industry. Now you need to let everybody know about it. Tell them what the liquor industry, government, local businesses and community are doing to enhance their community's wellbeing.

Hosting an official launch can be useful in attracting media interest, especially if attended by a minister, members of local parliament, senior government officials and industry and community leaders.

Consider a catchphrase that summarises the initiatives of your accord. For example, 'Think the Drink' is a good catchphrase for a successful liquor accord strategy.

Get to know your local media outlets (newspapers, television, radio and social media streams). Send a media release or call to inform them of your liquor accord and its strategies. Provide opportunities for interviews and use any catchphrase/s in media exposure to get your strategy message across efficiently.

Posters, stickers and drink coasters are useful promotional tools. Be sure to check for copyright issues (of logos etc.) when preparing your promotional material.

Step 9: Evaluate your accord

Evaluating your accord is important; it tells you if it is successful and why. Accord members must develop an evaluation process with agreed standards and leading indicators.

Ask yourself:

  • Have there have been fewer negative community impacts?
    • alcohol-related incidents, crime and road trauma - ask Queensland Police Service
    • alcohol-related complaints - ask OLGR
    • anti-social behaviour - ask licensees
  • Have you achieved your objective (the reason for your accord)?
  • Was it an efficient use of time and money?
  • Who has benefitted?

Phoning stakeholders is a simple way to gain feedback on your accord. Assess how best to refine your accord if it has been unsuccessful.

Review your accord regularly to ensure that it is not contrary to the Liquor Act 1992 and other current legal requirements as they apply.

Reasons for unsuccessful accords

Common mistakes can prevent an accord from succeeding. These include:

  • making the accord too formal or rigid
  • selecting unmanageable or irrelevant boundaries
  • unrealistic objectives
  • unreasonable demands on the industry
  • irrelevant strategies
  • lack of leadership or drive
  • lack of monitoring
  • lack of feedback
  • not including all relevant types of licensees as accord members to best achieve the accord's objectives and strategies.

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