Agenda item

From Harm to Hope: Combating Drug and Alcohol Misuse


Mr Gary Hutchings, the Council’s Public Health Strategist, advised that the 10 year Strategy, formulated in December 2021, had stemmed from the Dame Carol Black review in 2021, following an 80% increase in drug and alcohol-related deaths since 2012.  The Strategy had been bolstered by a three-year grant and had received supplementary national funding from the £85.7m allocated to local authorities as the commissioners of drug and alcohol services.  Collective accountability had been established for the metrics and criteria had had to be met including a needs assessment. 


The Office of Health Inequalities and Disparities (OHID) had overseen this funding, known as the Supplementary Substance Misuse Treatment and Recovery Grant (SSMTRG).  The Council was currently in its second of three years of SSMTRG funding and had also secured £599k as an annual Rough Sleeper Drug and Alcohol Treatment Grant which would end in March 2024.  The supplementary grant complemented the existing £3 million annual contract, primarily managed by Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL), the main service provider.  This collaboration had facilitated the funding of hospital-based clinical teams, community outreach teams for homeless individuals, and specialised interventions for inpatients experiencing homelessness.


The SSMTRG also funded a holistic clinical team, linking hospitals, communities, criminal justice intervention workers and mental health services.  Governance of the project had been established through terms of reference by the Safer Hillingdon Partnership, ensuring operational roles were identified and action plans were enacted.  Several meetings and panels had been formed to oversee different aspects of the Strategy, such as the Combating Drugs and Alcohol Partnership Board and the Drug and Alcohol Mortality Review Panel.


Metrics and outcomes were overseen by OHID, utilising the National Drug Treatment and Monitoring System to track reductions in drug use, drug-related crimes, deaths and increased engagement in outcomes.  Hillingdon had showcased remarkable performance across these metrics, exceeding London averages in several areas.


Ms Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health, advised that the framework required the Council to report as part of the funding requirements.  The impact of the additional funds had been huge with £1.1m of SSMTRG expected in 2024/25, enabling Hillingdon to ramp up its support.  Ms O’Neil had chaired the review that had taken place in relation to ‘B’, a case study that was set out in the report.  There had been many risk factors, any combination of which could have resulted in suicide.  This review had provided partners with the opportunity to be more preventative and to make improvements to ways of working.  It was anticipated that additional funding would be forthcoming from 22025/26 after the three-year funding agreement had ended. 


A national data system had been put in place for drug and alcohol services that showed month-on-month progression.  Although the reporting system had been a challenge, it was strictly monitored.  Ms O’Neill would be happy to circulate more detailed statistics to the Board after the meeting. 


Consideration was given to teeing up with services such as Children’s Services and Housing.  It was noted that these teams might be privy to information or behaviours that might indicate a need for drug and alcohol services.  For example, a tenancy breakdown might be as a result of drug or alcohol issues.  It was suggested that consideration also be given to looking at the children’s pathway.  Every contact needed to count and family hubs needed to be brought into this too to ensure that it was joined up.


Ms O’Neill advised that the drug and alcohol services were currently out to tender.  Children living with parents that had drug and alcohol issues had featured more prominently in the service that was now being tendered. 



1.    the content of this report be noted and the Board be assured that Hillingdon was meeting the requirements of the Harm to Hope Strategy, including the importance of the three-year fixed term funding that would improve outcomes for residents, their families, and communities whose lives were adversely affected by drug and alcohol addiction.

2.    the operational delivery and oversight requirements to establish a Hillingdon ‘Combating Drug and Alcohol Partnership Board (CDAPB)’, responsible for the operational implementation of the strategy, performance and outcomes, and use of the three-year investment, referred to as the supplementary substance misuse treatment and recovery grant (SSMTRG) be noted.

3.    the concurrent tendering of the Hillingdon Adult Community Addictions Service contract that sets out a new model of service delivery that would sustain some improvements being achieved through the additional funding be noted.

Supporting documents: