Fears that Fife drug user support to be slashed

John O'Brien of LOST
John O'Brien of LOST

PLANS to put services which try to help drug abusers kick the habit out to tender have been criticised, reports MIKE DELANEY.

The move has shocked staff and users who have said they believe agencies working in the field have been given until July to wind up their current operations.

After that, it is alleged, the agencies will then get the chance to re-tender to continue providing the services under new contracts.

It has further been claimed that there have been major flaws in the consultation process over the proposal and in tender documents put together by Fife Council and the Alcohol and Drug Partnership.

“Service directors and managers are unhappy that, yet again, the most vulnerable people are being targeted by bureaucrats, as there has been no impact assessment done on communities if current providers do not ‘win’ the new tenders,” Fifetoday was told by one ‘insider’.

“The new tendering contracts mean that multi-national companies will be able to tender, with no knowledge, or history of the issues in Fife, so a medical treatment followed by a psycho-social care model will be replaced by a money only model. If local services lose out to larger groups, there will be 60 employees made redundant, or re-deployed.

“Some of these agencies, whose working life in the kingdom ranges from two to 20-odd years, are under immediate threat.”

Nine services are named as being at risk, including the Glenrothes-based DELTA project and the Lee O’Brien Solvent Trust run by John O’Brien, pictured.

Mark Steven, partnership and policy co-ordinator, Alcohol and Drugs Partnership commented: “Fife ADP is currently in the process of assessing applications for a range of substance misuse services in Fife.

“This Scottish Government funding is aimed at delivering better services and better outcomes for people affected by drug or alcohol problems. The ADP recognises that a grant funding application and monitoring process can  be a challenge to drug and alcohol agencies. It is, however, a tried and tested way of ensuring  help is available to people affected by drug or alcohol use.”