DDN June 2017 DDN July2017 | Page 4

‘... clear failing on the part of Lifeline .’



THE LIFELINE PROJECT , which provided services to around 80,000 people , has closed as a result of financial difficulties . Staff at the charity , which was established in 1971 , were told last month that it was aiming to transfer its services to other providers .
The organisation ’ s data on the Charity Commission website for the last financial year show that it had income of £ 61.8m and spending of £ 60.5m , as well as £ 3.2m of own-use assets and £ 9m of other assets . Its total liabilities were listed as £ 5.9m .
Ex-UKDPC chief executive Roger Howard resigned from Lifeline ’ s board last November after raising concerns about management and governance issues . He also raised the concerns with the Charity Commission .
‘ I was reminded of the lessons arising from Kids Company – the failure of governance and leadership ,’ Howard told DDN . ‘ Yes , austerity is there , there have been substantial reductions in the ring-fenced grant for treatment , the constant re-tendering process is incredibly challenging – and staff did brilliantly in sustaining through that . But you have to ask the question of why is it that CGL , Turning Point , Addaction , Phoenix or any of the other organisations are coping with the sort of managerial and governance demands being placed upon them . I think that ’ s where there was a pretty clear failing on the part of Lifeline . It ’ s easy for the field to think that this is all the result of big bad commissioners and funding constraints , but in this circumstance I think that narrative probably needs to be challenged .’
The pressure to deliver more services against a background of financial uncertainty made it ‘ vitally important that all organisations in this sector are impeccably well-run and well governed ’, said WDP chair Yasmin Batliwala . ‘ That is why it I look forward to the results of a full investigation into this regrettable development , which was surely preventable .’
From this month onwards , a large number of Lifeline services will be taken over by change , grow , live ( CGL ), with the transfer of more than 1,000 staff and 40 delivery contracts . This will allow the services ‘ to continue to exist without withdrawing vital treatment and support , ensuring that minimum possible risk is caused to service users ’ lives ’ says CGL . Service users will be able to expect ‘ the same level of treatment and care ’, with referrals continuing as normal and service contact details staying the same for the time being . ‘ CGL are looking to help and , quite rightly , to preserve as many services and staff as possible ,’ said Howard .
‘ Our engagement with Lifeline over the last few weeks has been explicitly to make sure that service users are safeguarded , there ’ s continuity of service provision and that employment is protected ,’ CGL ’ s executive director Mike Pattinson told DDN . ‘ They approached us around what support we could offer , and then asked us about transition of services . Our engagement was at their request .’
CGL has written to Lifeline staff and aims to provide as much stability as possible in the short term , added Pattinson . ‘ Clearly our explicit involvement with Lifeline staff could only start once Lifeline had communicated to their employees themselves . We ’ re working to protect as much employment as we can , but we ’ ve also said we do need to make sure that the services that are transferring are on a stable , sustainable financial footing – that ’ s the commitment we ’ ve got to make . There are a number of issues we ’ re going to have to look at , but our intention is
‘... clear failing on the part of Lifeline .’
roger HowarD
to protect employment , protect service users and protect continuity of service .’ Lifeline was contacted for comment for this story . Any Lifeline staff transferring to CGL and who have questions or concerns should contact servicetransfer @ cgl . org . uk
AROUND 2.9M UK ADULTS now use electronic cigarettes , according to a report from ASH . The number has increased fourfold since 2012 , when there were just 700,000 users , and for the first time the 1.5m ex-smokers using the devices outnumber current smokers using them . However , although most people use e- cigarettes to stop smoking there is still a great deal of ‘ dual use ’, the document says . ‘ The message for the 1.3m vapers who still smoke is that they need to go further and switch completely ,’ said ASH chief executive Deborah Arnott . ‘ It ’ s excellent news that the number of vapers who have quit smoking is continuing to grow , but there are still 9m smokers compared to only 1.5m vapers who don ’ t smoke at all .’ Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain 2017 at ash . org . uk
POLICE IN WILTSHIRE have issued a warning to parents following incidents in which around 20 young people received medical treatment after taking the prescription drug Xanax . All of the incidents took place within a single week in the Salisbury area , and there is increasing concern that the drug – the brand name for the potent benzodiazepine alprazolam – is gaining popularity among young people , partly as a result of its perceived celebrity associations ( DDN , April , page 6 ). All of the young people receiving medical treatment in Wiltshire were 15-16 years old , say the police . ‘ Taking any drugs which haven ’ t been specifically pre - scribed for you can have serious or even fatal consequences , and we urge parents / guardians to talk to their children about the dangers ,’ said Inspector Pete Sparrow .
MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE TO HELP VETERANS with the underlying issues that cause problem drinking , says the charity Combat Stress , as most put off seeking help until their 60s . ‘ As many as 43 per cent of veterans registered with Combat Stress have a current problem with alcohol misuse ,’ said chief executive Sue Freeth . ‘ We ’ re all too aware that many of the veterans use alcohol or drugs to help them to manage their trauma and emotional health . More support is needed to increase awareness
among veterans of the dangers of drinking harmful levels of alcohol , to help them recognise they need help , and to assist them in engaging with specialist services sooner .’
A MAJOR NEW NATIONAL SURVEY on the impact of addiction and recovery on family members has been launched by Adfam and Sheffield Hallam University , with funding from Alcohol Research UK . The Family Life in Recovery project aims to provide insight into the experiences of family members to support and encourage others , as well as create the first evidence-based resource to recommend which support services
Prof DaviD Best are ‘ urgently needed for family members of people at each different stage ’ of recovery . ‘ Much is known about the economic and social costs of addiction and problematic drug use , but we know very little about what happens to family members of those using or in recovery , and how they manage their own wellbeing through this incredibly stressful and challenging process ,’ said project lead Professor David Best . Survey at www . surveymonkey . co . uk / r / LTKX65N
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