Page 6 - DDN 1403 web

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Generally, services appear to be facing
challenges around supporting people
to accumulate recovery capital, with
housing, jobs and support for complex
or multiple needs all highlighted as
areas of concern:
Housing was the most commonly
encountered support need after
support to overcome dependency –
unsurprising, as NDTMS data indicates
many people accessing treatment
have some sort of housing problem.
However, housing and housing
support was the most commonly
identified local gap, including the
ability to access particular types of
accommodation, such as drug and/or
alcohol-free supported housing.
Management of overall health was
the second most encountered support
need. While availability of physical or
general health services does not seem
problematic, more respondents felt
that access to mental health services
had worsened than improved over the
last 12 months. Several expressed
concern about the threshold for mental
health support and that raising it meant
that many people were going without.
The problem of support for people with
complex needs or dual diagnosis
remains unresolved.
Employment, training and education
(ETE) came fourth on the list of support
needs and was the third most
mentioned local gap. What’s
interesting is that, in response to
another question, very few
respondents said ETE support wasn’t
available locally, and many services
reported a partnership with Jobcentre
Plus and/or Work Programme
providers. It may be that while the
support is available, it isn’t achieving
the sort of results services would like
to see and be part of.
In short, while the findings aren’t
calamitous – and in some respects are
pretty positive – there are some areas
of work that look as though they’re
struggling, and many of the areas
where services and partnerships
appear to be facing difficulty are
related directly to recovery capital.
Later this year, we’ll be repeating
the exercise to see how the sector is
faring now that the new commissioners
and funders are bedded in, and we’ll
be looking in more detail at the findings
from 2013. As
State of the sector 2013
focused primarily on community and
residential drug and alcohol treatment,
we’re also aiming to do some work
looking at prison treatment and young
people’s services. Please keep your
eyes open for them – the more people
who take part, the more reliable the
findings will be.
Full report at
Paul Anders is senior policy officer at
Drug treatment in the UK is
regarded as world class – effective,
evidence-based and supported by a
wealth of data, with figures from the
National Drug Treatment Monitoring
System (NDTMS) showing how far
the sector has come.
However, it’s now acknowledged
that treatment itself is only one of the
things that contribute to a successful
outcome. Making a long-term trans-
formation relies on a range of factors –
referred to as recovery capital – that
can be boiled down to straightforward
ideas like improved health, a job,
somewhere to live and friends. Building
these resources is an important part of
starting to make a change, and often an
essential part of sustaining it.
The advantages to building
recovery capital are clear but the
environment is, if not hostile, then
certainly challenging. The treatment
sector is in a state of flux and the
external environment is also changing,
with jobs and homes hard to come by
and public services undergoing
significant changes.
The Recovery Partnership was
keen to learn more about how the
sector is adapting to the changing
environment, and how it is managing
to provide the type of support needed
to build lasting recovery. While NDTMS
and the other hard data the sector
collects tell an important story, to learn
more about non-treatment related
activity and the reality at a local level,
talking to services and the people who
work in them was crucial.
State of the sector 2013
research (see news story, page 4)
aimed to do this by a number of
means – an online survey, telephone
interviews with chief executives and
Paul Anders
shares some key findings from, and the
thinking behind, the Recovery Partnership’s
State of
the sector 2013
News focus |
6 |
| March 2014
‘In short, while the
findings aren’t
calamitous – and
in some respects
are pretty positive
– there are some
areas of work that
look as though
they’re struggling.’
local managers and four regional
‘Building Recovery in Communities’
summits last autumn in which more
than 200 people participated. The
survey itself was completed by around
170 services, while around a dozen
interviews were conducted, primarily
with services in local authority areas
where there was an especially low or
especially high public health allocation.
Given the breadth of what the
Recovery Partnership wanted to learn
about, it’s hardly surprising that the
findings are best described as mixed.
Some key points include:
There is no evidence so far of
systemic disinvestment. Roughly twice
as many services reported a decrease
compared to those reporting an
increase, but the average increase
was larger than the average decrease.
This may be evidence of a trend
towards larger contracts and fewer
providers in a given area and this is
consistent with in-year figures from
the Department for Communities and
Local Government, which suggest
that, broadly speaking, funding has
been maintained in 2013-14.
There is some engagement with
health and wellbeing boards and police
and crime commissioners, but variable
levels of awareness of the contents of
joint strategic needs assessments
(JSNAs) and police and crime plans –
particularly the latter. Where people
were aware of the contents of local
plans and assessments, several
expressed concern that the focus was
more on crime and anti-social
behaviour than treatment. In the case of
JSNAs, there were concerns that drugs
and alcohol were insufficiently reflected,
which may not be problematic if the
boards are working on the principle that
if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, but it’s
something to watch out for.