DDN December 2022 DDN Dec_2022 | Page 15


‘ We ’ re in a position where those who want to can seize the ground and make a good job of it .’
happening ” or “ this is what we need ” and working together , a co-production of solutions .’ From there , all parties work can work together on a mutually agreed plan – key to delivery of which will be maintaining that trust , he says .
BUILDING TRUST ‘ I think commissioners are doing that ’ agrees executive director of new business at With You , Sarah Allen . ‘ As a provider we really invest in building trust with commissioners . I think the more open and transparent we are as an organisation the better .’ The additional funding coming into the sector has led to some ‘ really collaborative conversations ’ with commissioners , she says , and ‘ being really open around saying , “ These are areas we ’ ve not been able to focus on , we want to drive this forward – how do we do that together ?” It can also be about making sure the right partnerships are in place outside of these relationships , she stresses , if that ’ s what ’ s necessary to meet the needs of service users . ‘ No one provider can do everything on their
own – we need that collaboration locally . Commissioners are open for that innovation and working with us to do that , and I think that ’ s really exciting .’
However , while commissioners have been supportive with innovation , up to now providers may sometimes have had to go external sources to fund that innovation .
‘ Commissioners and providers need to be pragmatic in the context of current challenges , but also remain ambitious about improving the quality of treatment .’
‘ The benefit we have now is that additional money is coming into commissioning teams to be able to work side-by-side with us and see that through ,’ Allen says , ‘ rather than us hoping that we can secure funding through grants or trusts or additional funding streams to support it . If anything it ’ s going to help us plan to be more innovative and creative and think longer term , because those other funding streams would normally be one or two years . So I think there ’ s enormous potential to really grow
and embed that innovation across different services .’
The government is making ‘ a record investment in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery of £ 532m over three years , as our part of the bold ten-year drug strategy ,’ director of the Addiction and Inclusion Directorate at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities ’ ( OHID ), Rosanna O ’ Connor , tells DDN . ‘ This is to improve the capacity and also the quality of drug treatment to reduce harm and help people initiate and sustain recovery .’
There is new investment totalling almost £ 900m over three years , with £ 780m to improve treatment and recovery – of which £ 532m will be invested to improve local authority drug and alcohol treatment and ensure more collaborative invigorated partnerships , she says . ‘ We want to see high-quality services that meet local need and allow for innovation . As part of this , we are supporting partnerships to foster and support recovery communities and lived experience recovery organisations .’
ROBUST FRAMEWORK For commissioning to truly deliver it also needs a robust framework , and the government ’ s wideranging overview of what good commissioning should look like – the Commissioning Quality Standard ( CQS ) – was published in the summer in response to one of the key recommendations of the Carol Black review . ‘ What substance misuse has lacked over the time I ’ ve been in it – which is a decade – is central leadership on procurement , so it ’ s useful that commissioners know what they ’ re working with ,’ says executive director of development at WDP , Graham Howard .
Local authority commissioners have traditionally faced a wide range of challenges , he points out . ‘ They have to look at what national best practice is , NHS
‘ We ’ ve got to bring in a whole new generation of practitioners to meet the expectations of the new investment .’
procurement regulations , and their own local team who are across the procurement of all the services a council runs tendering processes for – that could include building contracts , cleaning , waste disposal , all kinds of things .’
CONSISTENT STANDARDS These local teams will want to apply consistent standards across those contracts , so if the new standard allows commissioners and procurement teams to work together to tweak tendering methods for drug treatment contracts where needed it will be ‘ really useful ’, he states . ‘ For example , sometimes you get price / quality splits that are very highly in favour of price , which I don ’ t think are very helpful when investment should be going to frontline delivery as much as possible .’ Commissioners may have had to use that split because the local authority uses it across all its procurement , so ‘ more of a sense of central best practice ’ for local commissioners to use will be very helpful , he states .