Auditors investigate transfer of addiction services

News that Audit Scotland is investigating the controversial transfer of addiction services in Argyll and Bute has been welcomed by MSP Jackie Baillie.

The Dumbarton constituency MSP called for an investigation after third-sector organisations raised concerns about potentially serious flaws in the tendering process.

Argyll and Bute Council’s Alcohol and Drugs Partnership announced last November that Addaction Scotland would take over the running of addiction services from locally-based third sector organisations, including Helensburgh Addiction Rehabilitation Team, from January 1.

An extension of one month was applied to the contracts of existing providers following an urgent appeal from Jackie and Argyll and Bute MSP Mike Russell MSP before Christmas, allowing third sector organisations to continue providing support for vulnerable people until the end of January.

However Jackie believes the contracts should now be extended further until Audit Scotland completes its investigation.

“I contacted Audit Scotland after speaking to some very concerned staff and services users from HART so I welcome the decision to review the commissioning process,” she said.

“The services provided by HART, and other groups across Argyll and Bute, are a lifeline to vulnerable adults affected by addiction so it is vital that the commissioning process is subject to independent scrutiny.”

Last week Addaction released a press statement about its recent performance in Argyll and Bute; it make specific reference to several towns but does not mention the Helensburgh area: Addaction_first_week_in_argyll n bute_160115