Evaluation of a public health pathway for alcohol and substance users in the criminal justice setting in Nottinghamshire.

Evaluation completed May 2023

What does the research mean for Local Authorities?

This evaluation generated policy and service recommendations for criminal justice substance and alcohol services through a qualitative evaluation of an innovative service re-design. Learning helped us understand the processes involved in establishing this kind of service innovation. We also identified opportunities and barriers facing service providers in delivering such a service. Most notably, we recommended a mobile substance use worker role that would work across the custody suite and community setting as we identified strengths and weaknesses to substance use workers working in each of these settings.

What does the evaluation research mean for the Public?

This evaluation made recommendations to inform service development at the interface of criminal justice and treatment. These recommendations means that the local service may be better able to respond to the needs of those using the service and ensure accessibility and acceptability of service delivery.

How are the public involved in the evaluation?

The evaluation was developed through three co-production workshops involving researchers, local stakeholders and ex-users of the criminal justice system. Service users helped to shape the evaluation design and will provide ongoing advice in the development of research tools, devising strategies to engage with service users and help plan for the sharing of findings. Service-users were involved in the workshops and made helpful contributions to the discussion. 

Lay summary of research

What is this evaluation about?

Nottinghamshire Change Grow Live (CGL), has set up a new way of working with people with substance misuse issues in local police custody suites. The aim of this evaluation is to explore the development and implementation of the service.

What do we already know?

The previous service, the model Drug Intervention Programme (DIP) was how substance misuse services were delivered nationally and focussed on public safety and class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine. This new service fills a gap in services and increases the engagement with a range of people with both substance and alcohol misuse problems. The emphasis in the new service is on public health and services coming together to work in partnership.  

What don’t we know?

The new service treats people according to need, and severity of substance misuse in terms of how it impacts their life. There are three levels to the service ranging from information to sharing to intensive support from a case worker. We do not know how different groups, e.g., police and health services, will work together to run the service or whether this approach will improve health outcomes, allocate resources more effectively and meet the needs and expectations of those accessing the service.

Why is an evaluation necessary?

Our evaluation will help us to know whether this type of service design is a better way to deliver substance misuse services and to see if it can be introduced as intended and is accepted by those using it. 

How will it be carried out?

We will carry out interviews that will help us understand how the service was delivered and the involvement and relationship with other services. It will also help us to understand the experiences of people working within the service, and take into account the views and experiences of other service providers. This will help us assess the impact and experience of the service. 

What will we do with the results?

The findings will describe and explain how the successful project has been. It will explain whether the new service is an effective and viable way to deliver substance misuse services in police custody suites. It will also describe areas of good practice, for future development and improvement of the service.  

Local Authority

Nottinghamshire County Council

PHIRST South Bank Research Team

Dr Thomas Mills (PI), Prof Edward Chaplin (PI), Dr Manuela Jarrett, Dr Jaime Mallon, Denise Harvey

Contact: phirst@lsbu.ac.uk