Drinkaware sought a supplier to carry out an impartial and objective appraisal of its website accuracy, following criticism in late 2018 related to the launch if its Drink Free Days campaign. This followed Drinkaware swiftly responding to correct any identified inaccuracies and refute the claim of an intent to mislead the public.
The overarching goals were to consider:
- Is the Drinkaware website misleading?
- Does the site differ significantly from comparator sites?
- Are there any reasons to be concerned about the site?
The goals were broken down into the following objectives:
- Assess website for accuracy, clarity and completeness;
- Evaluate ease of access and navigation;
- Appraise accuracy of citation of UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs’) Low Risk Drinking Guidelines (2016) and compare with other websites;
- Consider improvements to the communication of UK CMOs’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines;
- Review processes for creating, adding, reviewing, replacing and removing website content.
The independent research, strategy and digital design agency, Nomensa was commissioned following a two-stage tendering process to carry out this review.
An independent expert panel was formed to provide oversight to the website review process. The panel comprised:
- Professor Martin Burton (Director, Cochrane UK);
- Professor Bernie Hannigan (Director of Research, Translation and Innovation, Public Health England: PHE);
- Professor Fiona Sim (Chief Medical Advisor, Drinkaware’s independent Medical Advisory Panel).
Key findings of the review:
- No substantive reason was found to be concerned about the accuracy of the website content.
- No evidence was found within the 50 pages reviewed that the Drinkaware website is intentionally misleading the public.
- When compared to similar types of site, the content on the Drinkaware website was found to be of similar level of accuracy and well-tailored to the ‘general public’ audience at which it is aimed.
- While there are areas in which the website publication processes could be improved or updated, no reason was found for serious concern about the Drinkaware website’s contents.
Drinkaware is working to implement the review’s recommendations for suggested improvements, together with recommendations from a parallel assessment undertaken to strengthen the behaviour change effectiveness of its website content and tools.