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Changing behaviours of hazardous and harmful drinkers with a new product


In 2014, Lambeth council and CCG identified that 18-26 year olds were most likely to be drinking at harmful or hazardous levels, but least likely to have received support to change their behaviours to improve their short- and long-term health and wellbeing. Lambeth turned to Partners in Creation to better understand the drivers behind 20-somethings’ behaviours. Our co-creation between commissioners and 20-somethings led to the invention of ‘IBA direct’ – a way to reach hazardous and harmful drinkers across the ages that other interventions are failing to reach.


The challenge

Identification and Brief Advice (IBA)

is a well evidenced behaviour change

intervention, but is failing people,

especially younger people. IBA is

almost exclusively carried out in a

Primary Care setting where currently

it is only offered to 6-7% of risky

drinkers, more often older people[1].

People in their 20s who are drinking

at hazardous or harmful levels are

almost entirely ignored.


The results

Using our Action Based Co-creation 

methodology, Lambeth 20-somethings

co-created a new concept of

IBA: ‘IBA Direct’. Marketed as the

‘London Challenge’ it has proven to

be an extremely effective method to

engage 20-somethings – a notoriously

difficult group to work with – in alcohol reduction behaviour change. Over the course of two days, more than 400 people took the full IBA, of which 64% were either increasing risk, higher risk or possibly alcohol dependent.


Benefits of the Action Based Co-creation method include:

  • Level of insight and understanding of the 20-somethings’ hidden attitudes and beliefs towards alcohol and public health messaging

  • Rapid speed to market of ‘IBA Direct’ from concept to working product

  • Quantity of additional ideas to engage 20-somethings

  • Opportunity for the client to participate directly with 20-somethings – hearing first-hand about their needs, and contributing to the end product.

The London Challenge was adopted by Merton Council in 2016 and is available for local authorities across the capital.  


Additional insights from the project

Despite received wisdom, 20-somethings are interested in the possible impact of alcohol on their health and wellbeing and welcome finding out their personal risk level.  But they don’t recognise themselves in current public health language, so can’t engage in response to marketing campaigns.


The method

  • Focus groups with different segments of 18 to 24 year olds across the borough to identify attitudes, beliefs and behaviours around alcohol consumption, including barriers to change.

  • Action Based Co-creation workshop to invent a blueprint of prototype to develop and pilot on streets of Lambeth.

  • Evaluation independently carried out by the Health Innovation Network.

"Action Based Co-creation revealed unexpected actionable insight into what would make 20-somethings engage with an alcohol intervention (and what would put them off). It also delivered a detailed and innovative 'blueprint' for how to make these ideas work in practice - ideas that were proven in a real-world pilot of the new concept of 'IBA Direct'." 


James Morris, Alcohol programme manager, Lambeth Council /
NHS Lambeth CCG

Action Based Co-creation with 20-somethings and commissioners led to a rapid and detailed development of a new product that was rapidly taken to market


[1] Comparison of brief interventions in primary care on smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: a population survey in England. Jamie Brown, Robert West, Colin Angus, Emma Beard, Alan Brennan, Colin Drummond, Matthew Hickman, John Holmes, Eileen Kaner and Susan Michie (Br J Gen Pract 2016; 66 (642): e1-e9. DOI:

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