Retailers across England and Wales are being given access to a new tool to help guard against underage sales and cut through some of the confusion that exists between different local authority areas.

The Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) Assured Advice Guide to Preventing Underage Sales provides an easy to follow product-by-product guide, and help with staff training and effective record keeping.

The guide is the second part of the Primary Authority scheme delivered in partnership with Surrey County Council. The scheme, launched in March, is the first of its kind in the convenience sector and is available to all ACS members.

Primary Authority is a status recognised by law, meaning that the policies and procedures published cannot be challenged by the police, trading standards or environmental health officers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said the guide could “revolutionise the way independent retailers managed compliance.”

“It provides the same protection and consistency only previously available to big retail chains,” he said.

“Members face high risks in this area, and also that they are presented with range of confusing and competing requirements, especially between different local authority areas. ‘Assured Advice’ cuts through all this and provides definitive procedures that once followed cannot be challenged from one area to the next,” he added.

For more details on the ACS Assured Advice Scheme and how retailers can sign up, visit