As we head into the Easter week-end, a good excuse in the past to drink to excess for me as it is a 4 day week-end I thought we’d reflect on those who’s job it is to pick up the pieces of substance abuse and dependence
State of the Sector – by DrugScope on behalf of the Recovery Partnership
DrugScope conducts an annual appraisal of the drug and alcohol treatment sector on behalf of the Recovery Partnership; taking a snapshot of the current conditions for and adaptation of the sector in England.
Drawing on an online survey of managers of adult community and residential services from across the country followed up with in-depth interviews and the views of Chief Executives, State of the Sector provides a detailed insight into the changing nature of drug and alcohol treatment services, the partnerships that are vital to creating recovery outcomes, and challenges for the system.
State of the Sector 2014-15
168 respondents completed or mostly completed the community and residential questionnaire with a further 21 responses from prison services. Amongst the community and residential responses 19% were residential services, 77% community services with the remainder being a mixture of mutual aid and other services. 24% were NHS services, 62% provided by charities, with the remainder from elsewhere in the public sector, the private sector, social enterprises and partnerships between sectors.
Key findings from the 2014 – 15 report include:
- 53 per cent of respondents reported a reduction in frontline staff and 40 per cent a reduction in back office staff and managers;
- 62 per cent reported an increase in the involvement of volunteer recovery champions and 47 per cent an increase in the use of other volunteers;
- Over half (54 per cent) of community services had been through tendering or contract renegotiation since September 2013; just under half (49 per cent) were expecting this to happen between September 2014 and September 2015;
- The change of funding experienced by respondents was an average net reduction of 16.5 per cent although this masks volatility, with substantial increases and decreases reported;
- Respondents reported that funding changes had a negative effect on service delivery overall, with core services, outreach, education, training and employment support and health services all showing a net deterioration.
This organisation representing professionals tackling drug and alcohol abuse was forced to shut on the 31st March after 15 years because of ‘worsening financial situation’.
DrugScope was a national membership organisation for professionals working to tackle drug and alcohol abuse and represented more than 400 organisations involved in treatment, supporting recovery, young people’s services, drug education and services for prisoners.
It provided an important voice for those working in the drug and alcohol sectors and proved an authoritative and influential contributor in Whitehall and Westminster. Its topical, non-judgmental and evidence-based approach to drugs also ensured it a high media profile.
The organisation was founded in 2000 after a merger between the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence and the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse.
Edwin Richards, the chair of DrugScope’s board of trustees, said: “It is with a heavy heart that the board has taken this extremely difficult decision. We are grateful to all of DrugScope’s staff for their hard work, skill and commitment. I am saddened for DrugScope members whose support for the organisation has been at the heart of its work and governance. The focus going forward is on ensuring that the mission is carried on by other means.”
Dr Marcus Roberts, the chief executive, said the charity had had the opportunity to represent the “exceptional individuals and organisations” who support individuals and communities affected by serious drug and alcohol problems. He said: “This is one of the most marginalised groups in our society and the work of the drug and alcohol sector saves and transforms lives and plays a critical part in creating safe and healthy communities.”
This is beyond sad and really not good news for the sector at all 🙁