"Commissioning-changing the label will not change the contents"

About: Ashley House

(as a relative),

I hear that after Xmas the services of Ashley House, will, after what must have been years of debate and meeting upon meeting be under the one hat of CRI. An all in one provider, taking the place of the existing agencies addaction, cdt so on and so forth.

Hooray everyone cheers, about time others moan, but hold on a minute everything is not really as it seems. What this means is not out with the old and in with the new, which, I believe, in a lot of peoples opinions is what it should be. It's more like changing the label and keeping the contents the same, in essence a mere marketing ploy.

There are some that will be screaming from their laptops as they read this, hold on, what are you trying say?

Well, it’s true that Ashley House has come a long way, and in striving to meet the requirements of the current drug policy actively encourages the likes of Abstinence Groups and Service User Involvement.

Changing the label and not the contents will not change the way an already, in my opinion, poor service runs. There is a distinct lack of any real management backbone which is further let down by staff with low levels of motivation.

In my experience the customary volunteering group is practically left unmanaged, to their own devices and certainly to the determent of any other service user (outside the clique 4).

For me, the one good thing that has come out of Ashley House in at least the last year has been TTP, that service should never have set foot inside Ashley House in the first place. The decision taken by the DAAT to award the contract in the first place was at the tax payers cost and also the cost of the service user. The repercussions are still reverberating around Ashley House now.

It does make me laugh out loud that the staff left from the debris of TTP leaving, I feel, now have to bite their lips and go against everything that tells them NA is the only way and have to promote other forms of recovery. The sooner that message gets out there the better. It is clearly a dangerous game to put such claims to such a vulnerable client base.

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Response from Steve Eastwood, Joint Commissioning Manager, Halton DAT We are preparing to make a change

Hi NA Noway,

Thank you for your comments

We are hoping to have the new Provider of our substance misuse service in place in the New Year. Because of some of the legal rules around fairness and competition the Drug Action Team has been unable to provide any great detail to either the people who use the service or the staff over the past few months. I am hoping that position will change very soon and we will be able to provide a great deal more information, and answer people’s questions regarding the changes that will take place over the next few months.

In looking for an organisation to provide the substance misuse service, the Drug Action Team wanted to make sure that any changes made would result in additional help to cover gaps we had identified in the current arrangements at Ashley House and creating more opportunities for people to leave the service, no longer using drugs or alcohol. To develop this new Substance Misuse Service we have been listening to what service users & carers using Ashley House have been saying about their experiences of the current set-up, and bringing in as many features as we can of successful recovery services from elsewhere.

I’d like to assure you that the intention is not one of ‘changing the label and not the contents’. Far from it. In the future you should expect to see more support for families and partners affected by someone’s drug or alcohol use, more opportunities for people to get involved in how the service runs, and a wider range of activities to take part in so that individuals have more constructive things to do with their time.

if you would like to contact me via Halton Borough Council I am more than happy to meet with you and listen to the concerns you have as well as take the opportunity to talk to you about the planned changes to the service at Ashley House.

thanks again


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Response from Philip Gibson, Team Manager, Ashley House

Dear contributor,

Whilst we acknowledge the points you raise as significant disillusionment with the service we must also acknowledge that the last service user feedback survey indicated that of a sample of 75 people questioned a 100% felt that they were ‘happy with the advice and support available’

I am however sorry that your experience of our services has resulted in this degree of disappointment. Our aim is to ensure that Ashley House is a centre of excellence and to help us achieve this we want to work in partnership with any service user or stakeholder who is disappointed in the service they receive .

The management team of Ashley House have all read and discussed your posting and we would like to offer you the opportunity to explore some of the issues you have raised with a view to resolution. Please contact me or any of the other managers if you would like to arrange this.

We would also like to reassure you that having one single service provider next year will allow us to maintain and improve how we work in relation to issues such as having one management system and a single information system.

Thank You

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