Drugscope, the national organisation representing the drug treatment sector, has published a briefing exploring the public health reforms and their expected impacts on drug and alcohol services.
The briefing explains the key changes including:
In April 2013, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse will be abolished and its key functions transferred into Public Health England. Most of the current budget for drug and alcohol services will be transferred to Directors of Public Health employed by Local Authorities, who will also be statutory members of the new Health and Wellbeing Boards.
Directors of Public Health (DPH) will be responsible for delivering public health outcomes in their local area, will control the bulk of drug and alcohol funding and will oversee a department or directorate that will be responsible for delivering the outcomes from the local Health and Wellbeing Strategy. Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) will set out local strategies through the development of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWSs). A new executive agency, Public Health England (PHE), will take the national lead on public health issues from April 2013.'
On 10 January 2013, the Government announced the ring fenced public health grants for upper tier and unitary local authorities for 2013-14 and 2014-15. A total of £2.66 billion in 2013 -14 and £2.79 billion in 2014-15 will be available to local authorities to spend on public health services for their local populations. This money absorbs an estimated £800 million to a £billion plus of current drug and alcohol funding. This means that approximately a third of the local authority grant for public health will be comprised of money that has to date been invested in drug and alcohol interventions, including what was contained in the 2012-2013 pooled treatment budget and the former health support component of DIP (total around £460 million).
A briefing on Primary Care Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Commissioning and Provision Against a Backdrop of Localism has been produced by The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Substance Misuse Management in General Practice (SMMGP). The briefing considers the future impact of the changing commissioning environment on primary care drug and alcohol treatment.
The Cabinet Office and the LGA are launching an academy to help senior public servants improve commissioning, reports the Guardian.