At Work: Partnerships - Compact in action - Enfield Council and theEnfield Drug Action Team

Casper van Vark

London council consulted voluntary sector to establish one-stop drug treatment shop.

The background

In 2003, Mike Ahuja, head of transformation and scrutiny services at Enfield Council, met the police to discuss hitting difficult targets to reduce burglary and street crime. The police said 80 per cent of those crimes were related to drugs, but there were no proper facilities for drug users in Enfield.

It became clear that a drug treatment centre was needed and that the project would need to involve partners from both the public and voluntary sectors.

The action

A group of organisations came together to talk about the service, including Enfield Community Drug Action Service, Enfield Council, the Metropolitan Police, the Probation Service, the Mental Health Trust, the Primary Care Trust, Connexions and Enfield Drug Action Team.

The Enfield local Compact, launched in 2001, provided a framework for discussions. It had grown out of a working group of representatives from different sectors that was set up after a multi-agency event held in 2000, called 'getting it right together - a voluntary sector Compact in Enfield'.

The voluntary sector was a strong participant because Enfield Voluntary Action was the driving force behind forming the Compact.

"Without the Compact we wouldn't have had the framework to work together so effectively," says Ahuja. "The whole drug treatment service is multi-agency, and the Compact helped give the sector an influential voice. I levered £240,000 out of Neighbourhood Renewal funding. The drug treatment centre had opened within six months."

The outcome

The centre provides a spectrum of services. Apart from direct medical intervention, users can, for example, access counselling and volunteering services.

"We've exceeded our targets for the number of people treated," says Ahuja.

"These are some of the most vulnerable and most troublesome people, and we're completing far more treatment sessions than we could otherwise.

The Compact helped us pull all those partners together from the statutory and voluntary sectors and put them under one roof."

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