In late 2013, DrugScope carried out the first State of the Sector study on behalf of the Recovery Partnership. Focussing primarily on partnership working, non-treatment related activity, support needs, the impact of recommissioning and, where relevant any funding changes, the resulting report attracted significant interest from policy makers and key stakeholders.
For example, Marcus Roberts, DrugScope’s chief executive, presented the findings to the Inter-ministerial Group on Drugs. Public Health England took a steer from the report in setting their 2014-15 work plan focussing on employment and housing, and the report was picked up by the media, including in a column by Owen Jones in the Independent.
This year, State of the Sector is back, with the survey being launched in a couple of weeks. Whereas in 2013 we limited the scope to adult community and residential services, in 2014 we’re also looking to hear from young people’s services and prison services.
To help us design questionnaires that will hopefully give us a deep understanding of the current issues for the sector, and how it is addressing them, we’ve consulted widely. We’ve spoken to government departments, executive agencies like Public Health England, and – crucially – agencies and service managers with significant experience of providing and managing the types of services we’re keen to hear from.
In addition to the online surveys, learning more – and being able to say more – about the experience of services is crucial, which is why this year, we’ll be carrying out a number of short interviews with service managers from across the country - something that gave real depth to our understanding of the quantitative results of the survey when we did it last year. We’ll also be interviewing three chief executives, as we did last year, to help us present the strategic picture alongside local experience.
How to take part
We’ll be launching three questionnaires in September – one each for adult community and residential, prison services and young people’s services. As we are interested in developing a deep understanding of the circumstances services are facing and how they’re adapting to them, the questionnaires are quite substantial and in places ask for detailed information. To assist you in completing the survey, you might find it useful to have the following to hand:
- The number of clients accessing your service;
- Their support needs
- Details of any changes to your funding and the length of your contract;
- Any other services you work in partnership with, and
- To what extent your clients are able to access other specialist services.
One of the reasons last year’s report was so influential was because of the numbers taking part. This year we’re aiming for more participants again.
We’re conscious that some of the information we’re asking for is potentially sensitive, and that some opinions might be contentious. We take confidentiality extremely seriously: all responses will be kept anonymous, and when we include direct quotes in the final report, we’ll take care to ensure that no potentially identifying information is included – in fact, once a quote has been identified for inclusion, that’s the only editing we do. We hope that services will be reassured by this and will be frank in their responses.