In Scotland, the number of premises licensed to sell alcohol is controlled through a system of local licensing boards. Legislative changes in recent years have given such boards an objective of ‘protecting and improving public health’. Research has suggested that the controlling the number of licensed premises and therefore the availability of alcohol can reduce alcohol-related harm. This study involves qualitative interviews with individuals across Scotland working mainly in public health or in alcohol and drug partnerships who have worked on licensing issues in recent years. The study aims to identify how these individuals and their organisations have attempted to influence local licensing policies and decisions in Scotland, and in their experience, what factors are important in helping and/or hindering those efforts.