DDN Magazine July 2023 DDN July_2023 | Page 10



In a follow-up to last year ’ s commissioning series , we look at how the elements of a strong partnership can fit together

Last year we ran a three-part series looking at what ’ s next for commissioning in the wake of Dame Carol Black ’ s Independent review of drugs , the drugs strategy and the new money that followed it ( DDN , October 2022 , p12 ; November , p12 , and December- January , p14 ).

Commissioning had become fragmented , said the Black review , with deteriorating partnerships between local authorities , housing and criminal justice agencies , among others . The government ’ s Commissioning Quality Standard ( CQS ) then set out what it thinks good commissioning should look like , with a vision of a person-centred treatment system and integrated approach – a document that was broadly welcomed by commissioning staff . So when it comes to commissioning , what does a strong partnership look like ?
CONNECT WILTSHIRE Connect Wiltshire is a new service that integrates drug and alcohol treatment from Turning Point and the Nelson Trust with homelessness charity Julian House and DHI ( Developing Health and Independence ). The latter , which was originally set up
to help bridge the gap between substance misuse and housing services , operates its own social lettings agency , as well as offering supported housing , while the Nelson Trust has a strong focus on women ’ s services .
The service launched on 1 April this year , so it ’ s ‘ still in its infancy ’, public health principal for building resilience at Wiltshire Council , Kelly Fry , tells DDN . ‘ There ’ s been a lot of scoping , a lot of stakeholder engagement . We ’ ve coproduced the specification based on local need and prevalence , but also being mindful of the Dame Carol Black review recommendations , so for us it ’ s been an amalgamation of various different strands that have come together into that one specification .’
INCLUSIVE SERVICE Turning Point is lead provider , and has sub-contracted arrangements with Julian House , DHI and Nelson Trust . ‘ That was because we felt there would be better collaboration , better resilience , better working practice , and we ’ re already seeing evidence of that even though we ’ re in those early stages ,’ says Fry . ‘ We wanted more of an inclusive life-course model rather than having silos for young people and adult services .’ One key aim
was to address the potential for people to fall through the cracks when they turned 18 , she says , ‘ so we ’ ve factored in an 18-25 service as well which should help keep people in treatment and support when they need it . The idea is that it ’ s based on need , so they ’ d move with their key worker throughout their journey .’
‘ I ’ m pleased with how the service is working ,’ adds senior operations manager at Turning Point , Tina Roberts . ‘ We ’ ve worked previously with our partner agencies Julian House , DHI and Nelson Trust but now we ’ re working as an integrated , collaborative service . Even though it ’ s only been a few months , I would encourage other commissioned services to combine and work together . We ’ re taking a holistic life-course model where there ’ s support for adults , young people , and supported housing to ensure continuation of care – the clients don ’ t have to retell their story by going from one service to another .’
VITAL LINKS When it comes to those vital housing links , Julian House has a wide client base after working in Wiltshire for a number of years , so there ’ s a full journey ‘ in terms of early intervention , support , prevention , harm reduction
advice , right the way through to supported accommodation and recovery ’, says Fry . ‘ We ’ ve also given Connect our prescribing , supervised consumption and pharmacy elements as well – again , we just felt that it made sense as they ’ re the clinical leads . We can oversee it as commissioners , but they know what ’ s working well and what isn ’ t .’
FORWARD MOMENTUM At the moment the partners are still meeting every two weeks , which is a ‘ really important as part of mobilisation ’, Fry stresses . ‘ We ’ re really keen to keep the momentum going , making sure we ’ re all on the same page .’ There will be at least monthly meetings , as well as the regular meetings around grants , meaning ‘ constant discussion with the key partners ’, she says .
One concern about recommissioning was the potential for a dip in service provision , Fry says , ‘ so we really want people to invest in Connect .’ This has meant a keen focus on getting the message out about new identity and culture , and so far the partnership arrangements have been bedding in well , she says . One example is the supported accommodation element from
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