Drinkaware is funded by drinks producers, retailer and pub companies, who, in total, pledge around GBP5.2m each year to the charity.

Drinkaware is funded by drinks producers, retailer and pub companies, who, in total, pledge around GBP5.2m each year to the charity.

A former senior civil servant is set to lead an independent audit to assess the "effectiveness" of industry-funded charity Drinkaware in the UK.

Sir Hugh Taylor, ex-permanent secretary at the Department of Health and now chairman at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, will chair a five-strong panel looking at whether Drinkaware is meeting its objectives. The charity, set-up in 2007, aims to "increase awareness of alcohol harm", "improve attitudes" and "positively change behaviour" in the UK. 

It is funded by drinks producers, retailers and pub companies, who, in total, have pledged around GBP5.2m (US$8.1m) each year, up until the end of 2012.

"This is a timely moment to carry out an independent audit of Drinkaware’s effectiveness," said Taylor. 

Joining Taylor on the panel will be Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance; Jeremy Beadles, Heineken UK's corporate relations director; Chris Heffer, the Department of Health's deputy director alcohol and drugs; and Ben Page, Ipsos MORI's chief executive. 

The panel will select auditors, then publish a report based on the audit. It will then get a response from Drinkaware to the report’s recommendations.

Derek Lewis, Drinkaware's chairman, added: "The establishment of this independent panel, ... is evidence of the trustees’ commitment to ensuring that the current review is rigorous, inclusive and transparent."