National Treatment Agency for Substance
SUMMARY BUSINESS PLANOCTOBER 2001
The National Treatment Agency is a Special Health
Authority created by the Government on the 1st of April 2001 to
raise the quality of drug treatment in England. This summary of
the NTA's initial Business Plan has been prepared in advance of
key staff joining the agency and reflects the broad thrust of
NTA activity rather than detailed workplans which will be included
in the NTA's Corporate Strategy document available in March 2001.
The commissioning and delivery of high quality
effective treatment for drug misusers is fundamental to the success
of the Government's drug strategy "Tackling Drugs to Build
a Better Britain". The NTA is the vehicle through which the
Government intends to improve the availability, accessibility
and effectiveness of drug treatment in England.
The United Kingdom Drug Strategy identifies
doubling the availability of treatment as a key target.
`To increase participation of problem drug misusers,
including prisoners in drug treatment programmes which have a
positive impact on health and crime by 66 per cent by 2005 and
by 100 per cent by 2008.'
Achieving this underpins all the NTA's activities.
Improving the quality of treatment has to accompany
the growth of services if the Drug Strategy is to succeed. The
NTA will seek to drive up the quality of treatment in three ways:
High quality commissioning is the key to the
NTA's success. Guidance and support will be provided to Drug Action
Teams and their Joint Commissioning Groups on all aspect of the
commissioning process from needs assessment to contract monitoring.
Management Information systems will be developed to enable DATs
to performance manage service providers and meet the NTA's information
needs without unnecessary duplication.
DATs will be expected to commission and services
will be expected to deliver practice which is evidence-based,
appropriately delivered, outcome focused, and integrated into
a system of care management. To equip DATs and service providers
to meet this agenda the NTA will:
Distil and disseminate best practice
drawn from research.
Collaborate with others to initiate
research into effectiveness.
Develop a system of standards and
accreditation for services, individuals and programmes of intervention.
Enhance the competence of managers
and staff across the treatment sector and manage a strategy to
attract and retain high quality staff.
The NTA's Regional Managers will work with DATs
and service providers locally to improve the quality and effectiveness
of treatment available to their community. Working closely with
DPAS and other regional structures the NTA's Regional Managers
An authoritative treatment lead in
A clear line of communication and
accountability between the NTA as the manager of the pooled treatment
budget and DATs as in the bodies with local responsibility for
ensuring that the budget is spent to best effect.
The means through which the NTA will
hold the agencies represented around the DAT table to account
for poor performance.
As part of this performance management process
the NTA will develop capacity to monitor local drug treatment
spending and work with DATs to ensure they have access to meaningful
management information on which valid judgements about performance
can be based.
The treatment currently available too often
excludes significant portions of England's diverse population.
The NTA will work to develop systems of treatment which respond
to the needs of the whole population identified through regular
needs assessment. We need to ensure that appropriate relevant
and accessible services are available to currently marginalised
groups. The Race Relations Amendment Act will oblige commissioners,
services, and the NTA to address deficits in the provision of
services to black and minority ethnic populations, but the NTA
needs to build on this to improve the appropriateness of services
for women, young people, stimulant users, those living in rural
areas, individuals with complex needs and others who have historically
been excluded. One of the ways in which the NTA will seek to meet
this challenging agenda will be by ensuring users are involved
in the development of its policies and expecting DATs and service
providers to mirror this.
The NTA's priorities during its first six months
activity reflect its needs as a new organisation the agenda inherited
from government departments and current Ministerial priorities.
Priority 1NTA Role and Structure
Set up the NTA and achieve an early indication
from Ministers of the Agency's role in alcohol treatment.
Priority 2Workforce Planning
Recruitment, retention and improving the competence
of managers and practitioners require urgent attention if the
Government's investment in treatment is to yield best value.
Effective commissioning and performance management
by DATs demands the development of robust management information
Priority 4Reducing waiting Lists
The geographical variations in access to services
are unacceptable. Agencies need to learn from colleagues how to
organise their services to enable speedy access.
The current services for problematic stimulant
use are patchy. Identifying and implementing effective treatment
is a key priority.
Priority 6Reducing Drug-Related Deaths
As part of a wider Harm Reduction agenda the
NTA needs to cooperate with the Department of Health to implement
the actions identified in the Government's response to the Advisory
Council on the Misuse of Drugs report on Drug-Related Deaths.
Priority 7Addressing Diversity
Action to ensure equal access to relevant and
appropriate services for the whole population, regardless of age,
gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability or location, will be
a theme across all NTA activity.
Priority 8Criminal Justice
The reduction of drug related offending is a
key component of the NTA's success.
Priority 9User Involvement
Involving service users in the planning and
monitoring of treatment is a priority for Ministers and will inform
all the NTA's work.
Priority 10Young People
Appropriate dedicated services for the minority
of young drug misusers requiring treatment need to be developed.
The NTA will work closely with the Home Office Drug Policy Directorate
to ensure that this work is fully integrated into the Young People's
strand of the Drug Strategy.