Select Committee on Home Affairs Memoranda


Submitted by Bradford Drugs and Alcohol Action Team


  The national strategy in its current form is a clear and positive framework for the Government to state its aim in tackling drug misuse. Bradford Drugs and Alcohol Action Team does not wish to comment on the strategy itself, but has some comments on current problems in pursuing its implementation at a local level.


  There is a need to rethink and clarify the role of DATs as the vehicle for delivering the National Strategy at a local level, particularly in terms of their legal status, and the infrastructure support needed to cope with the workload.

  In the light of the modernising local government agenda it is important that there is clarity in the DATs' links to strategic bodies such as Local Strategic Partnerships.

  The shape of the modernised health service will impact on planning and commissioning processes across DAT areas, for example the abolition of Health Authorities as a key local planning structure and the development of Primary Care Trusts as commissioning bodies.

  Social Services departments are the subjects of change, with the rise in joint care trusts. Such moves will impact on their role as commissioners and key funders for community care services.

  Drugs and Alcohol, since 1993 has been part of the Community Care processes, featuring in local Community Care Plans. These plans have increasingly become inappropriate in the planning of substance misuse services given the importance attached to DAT reports/plans, treatment plans HIMPs and Young People's plans.

Alcohol Issues

  Much of the strategy has close links with the misuse of alcohol and its impact on society. The delay in publishing the National Alcohol Strategy and the targeting of new resources to drug only interventions makes it difficult to develop services covering both areas of work. It is crucial that there is a clear strategy integrated with drug misuse as soon as possible.

  The role of the NTA could be broadened to take account of alcohol treatment, with the DATs' role nationally also being expanded to take on alcohol. Such moves may assist in the development of an alcohol strategy but will remove "planning blight" in some districts who may still be waiting for a national strategy.

Targets and Baselines

  Many of the targets in the original strategy were formulated without reference to baselines, which did not exist. Information from agencies required through the DAT Template does not appear to necessarily be coherent with information required in other arenas. It is crucial that these targets and information requirements are reviewed and if necessary replaced in the light of more recent evidence based research and political and social developments. Such targets must be measurable and relate to other local and national strategies, and should be formulated in consultation with local DATs, commissioning bodies and other interested parties.


  The new pooled budgets for treatment services are a positive step and have enabled DATs to plan treatment services according to local need in a coherent manner. The evolution of the further budgets with a broad brief for service development is also positive, eg Young People's Budgets, Communities Against Drugs.

  There are still particular initiatives, which come very suddenly, with extremely short timescales for very specific areas, eg Positive Futures, Progress2work. It is frequently difficult to integrate them into overall planning processes, and they may cut across areas of work already in progress.

  The ability of DATs to undertake long-term planning related both to the National Strategy and local need does require some stability of funding and some flexibility in its use. Further work needs to be done to make the best use of existing base budgets, bringing them in the pooled budget planning process.

September 2001

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