- This article has been clarified: see final paragraph
DrugScope, the national membership charity for the drug sector, will close today because of financial difficulties.
A short statement that was posted on the charity’s website yesterday says: "It is with deep regret that the DrugScope trustees have taken the decision to close the organisation with effect from 31 March 2015. This has been brought about by a worsening financial situation for DrugScope."
A spokeswoman for the charity said the decision had been taken on 20 March and that staff had been informed on 23 March. The charity said that all 13 staff based at its London office will lose their jobs and the one member of staff working as part of the Making Every Adult Matter coalition will be transferred across to a coalition partner. It is hopeful that all five staff employed through its partnership with Scottish Training on Drugs and Alcohol will be retained, although it is possible that there may be redundancies, the spokeswoman said.
The charity was formed in 2000 from the merger of the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence, established in 1968, and the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse, established in 1973.
DrugScope’s income for the year to 31 March 2014 was £879,808, of which £503,310 came from government grants, its accounts show. Membership fees totalled £89,819 and the charity received donations of £1,284. It had total funds of £1.1m at the year-end.
The accounts say: "The drug and alcohol sector has been going through a challenging period of transition. The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse was abolished in April 2013, with its principal functions transferred to a new body, Public Health England. Local authorities have acquired significantly greater discretion over the allocation of their public health budgets, with the removal of the nominal 'ringfence' for drug treatment."
Income totalled £993,638 in the year to 31 March 2013, having been more than £1m for each of the four years before that.
Edwin Richards, chair of the charity, said in the statement that the decision had been taken "with a heavy heart". He said: "The focus going forward is on ensuring that the mission is carried on by other means."
- This article orginally said that the charity employed 19 staff in the year to 31 March and that it had not said how many people would lose their jobs. The charity has now provided this information.