New principles for underage sales reinforcement have been hailed as a step in the right direction towards co-operation between retailers and regulators.

Published by the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO), the framework sets out an agreed list of shared responsibilities and reasonable expectations for businesses, employees, young people, parents and regulators. It is designed to help create a better partnership between all parties affected by underaged sales.

Responsibilities for businesses include promoting a culture where young people always expect to be challenged to show identification to put in place appropriate controls to prevent breaches of age restrictions and to provide effective training to those responsible for implementing the controls.

Businesses should also expect that regulators be accountable and transparent in their approaches to have clear guidance on legislation and to be informed in writing of the outcome of a check on compliance by test purchase or inspection.

It is hoped that these principles will lead to a new code of practice for businesses and regulators that provides greater clarity for all involved.