An external evaluation found that the Achieve Drug and Alcohol Service’s approach to partnership-working is effective in supporting recovery from substance misuse, and could be rolled out in other geographical areas
Drug and Alcohol Recovery services for Bolton, Bury, Salford and Trafford have been praised in an evaluation report, undertaken by SQW, an independent research and consultancy organisation.
The Achieve Partnership, led by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), brings together cross-sector organisations, to provide support and treatment, for those struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction.
This includes wrap around support for a range of social needs which can have a huge impact on recovery, such as housing, employment, training and education and mutual aid.
The partners are:
- Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (Lead)
- Big Life Group
- Early Break
- Great Places Housing
- Intuitive Thinking Skills
- Salford CVS
- Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (part of Northern Care Alliance)
- Those on the Margins of Society (THOMAS)
The external evaluation report found that this collaborative and holistic approach to supporting people with addictions is ‘overwhelmingly positive’, and successful in responding to ‘the multifaceted and complex needs individuals present with’.
The key findings of the report were:
- All partners ‘displayed resilience’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, by adapting and keeping frontline services open throughout.
- The partnership model works effectively, with GMMH providing ‘effective leadership and modelling the necessary culture and behaviours’, with all partners benefitting from access to NHS training, resources and platforms.
- People who had received support and treatment through the service were ‘very positive’ about this experience. They benefitted from referrals and signposting across partners.
- The role of GMMH as the lead for recovery services is crucial, and has had a positive impact on relationships with partners and commissioners. It has also led to efficiencies in the use of public funds.
- There is potential for this service model to be replicated in other geographical areas.
The report also highlighted a number of recommendations to further improve the Partnership’s offer. This included: awareness-raising and training for partners to thoroughly understand the offer of each partner; and further opportunities for information-sharing, evaluation, co-design, and reflection on and celebration of the work done.
The findings of the independent review were announced at a celebration event on 13th July. This included talks from a range of community partners and people who have benefitted directly from the range of support on offer, particularly through support from asset funding, building and sustaining recovery across the partnership.
One service user, who takes part in community gardening projects run through the Partnership, alongside receiving housing and addictions support said:
“It’s all about being a part of, and contributing to, the community that I was only ever on the margins of before. It gives me a sense of purpose, and that is priceless. I am so grateful for this.”
Kate Hall, Head of Operations for Addictions Services at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) said:
“In January 2018, GMMH were awarded the contract to deliver really exciting and innovative services across the GM boroughs of Bolton, Salford and Trafford. This was the first ‘cluster commissioned contract’ outside of London.
“GMMH and Big Life Group commissioned SWQ on behalf of the Achieve Partnership to undertake an independent evaluation of our Achieve Drug and Alcohol Recovery services so that we could truly understand how effectively we are delivering support and treatment, and what further opportunities there may be to improve this.
“Partnership-working is at the very heart of our approach to supporting people to recover from substance misuse problems, and it is fantastic to see it praised so highly in the SQW report. It is so encouraging to see that service users and stakeholders speak highly of the service, and value GMMH as the lead provider.
“The report found that our service model is unique and innovative, bringing public and third sector partners together to effectively deliver high quality, holistic care and treatment to those struggling with addiction, whilst also maximising the opportunities to utilise public funding efficiently and boosting the community support available, now and in the future.
“We are now committed to implementing the further recommendations underlined in the report, and will work with all our partners to prioritise embedding them into our service model.”