Decision details

Allocation of national drugs funding for additional drug treatment crime and harm reduction activity in 2021/22

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member - Health and Wellbeing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Sefton Council submitted a grant application to central government for additional drug treatment crime and harm reduction activity.  The grant aims to help local areas drive down the crime associated with the drug market, particularly acquisitive crime and violent crime, and the rise in drug-related deaths. The application has been successful and £489k has been awarded to Sefton. (See Appendix 1)


The Contract Procedure Rules require the authorisation of a Cabinet Member to allocate £407k to the current provider of Substance Use: Assessment, Treatment and Recovery Services (Ambition Sefton) Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust for delivery of the interventions approved within the funded application.


There is provision for this allocation via a contract variation under Regulation 72 of the Public Contract Regulations which states:


“Contracts and framework agreements may be modified without a new procurement procedure in accordance with this Part in any of the following cases:

b) for additional works, services or supplies by the original contractor that have become necessary and were not included in the initial procurement, where a change of contractor—

(i)cannot be made for economic or technical reasons such as requirements of interchangeability or interoperability with existing equipment, services or installations procured under the initial procurement, or

(ii)would cause significant inconvenience or substantial duplication of costs for the contracting authority,

provided that any increase in price does not exceed 50% of the value of the original contract;

(c)where all of the following conditions are fulfilled: —

(i)the need for modification has been brought about by circumstances which a diligent contracting authority could not have foreseen;

(ii)the modification does not alter the overall nature of the contract;

(iii)any increase in price does not exceed 50% of the value of the original contract or framework agreement.


The National Drugs Funding could not have been envisaged at the initial procurement by the LA. The funding opportunity was announced in Q4 of 2020/21 with no prior notice. The Grant funding is one - off for 12 months to reduce the impacts of substance use.


Many of the intended beneficiaries are already engaged in the Substance Use: Assessment, Treatment and Recovery Services (Ambition Sefton) commissioned from Mersey Care NHS Trust by the council.


To commission another service to provide the required interventions would be a duplication of existing service provision and costs. The additional grant funding does not exceed 50% of the original contract annual value.




(1) Cabinet Member approval is given for the proposed contract variation to the current contract with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust for the current service, Ambition Sefton to deliver the funded interventions; and


(2) the Head of Health and Wellbeing / Director of Public Health is authorised to formalise the agreement to add via a contract variation an additional £407K to the contract with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust for the provision of Substance Use: Assessment, Treatment and Recovery Services (Ambition Sefton).


Reasons for the Decision


·       The external funder has approved the application and the breakdown of all funded activity.

·       The allocation of £407k is to support a range of Treatment, Assessment and Recovery interventions for the local substance misuse population, building on and improving access to existing evidence-based activities.

·       Many of the potential beneficiaries have an already established relationship with the current service provider.

·       The proposal involves scaling up existing interventions provided by the service; pharmacology interventions for clients already engaged in the service; post detoxification rehab for clients who have been assessed and are known to the service. Recovery interventions for clients who are engaged in or exiting treatment from the service.

·       The current service provider has well established Treatment, Assessment & Recovery pathways in place across the system and are best placed to successfully deliver the interventions within the limited 12- month time period.


Alternative Options Considered and Rejected: (including any Risk Implications)


The only other option would be to procure another provider to deliver against the additional funding and this has been rejected due to economic and operational reasons, along with not having enough time to conduct a procurement exercise given the Grant conditions.


Publication date: 16/07/2021

Date of decision: 16/07/2021

Effective from: 27/07/2021

Accompanying Documents: