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Evaluation of the Drug System Change Pilots

Published: May 2012


The Drug System Change Pilots, or DSCPs, were set up to test how drug treatment delivery in prison and the community could be improved, by adopting more user-led, outcome-focused approaches. 

We led a collaboration commissioned to evaluate seven pilot partnerships in 2009.

Specific objectives of the pilots were to:

  • Describe the range of activities, how treatment delivery systems were changed and the outputs of each pilot area.
  • Assess the outcomes and impacts for each pilot area, and for the programme as a whole.
  • Identify innovation and good practice.
  • Provide comparisons between pilot partnerships. 


You can download the full report, some key findings were:

  • The importance of partnership working in affecting change in the area of drug treatment.
  • That pooled budgets, system-wide performance monitoring, strong leadership and the commitment of senior stakeholders are important foundations to achieving continuity of care for prisoners and ex-offenders.
  • Facilitators to delivering effective single points of assessment for ex-offenders include independence from existing treatment providers, a central location for easy access, clearly defined referral routes and adequate levels of well-trained staff.


This mixed-method evaluation had three components:

  • Qualitative longitudinal case studies involving depth interviews and focus groups with staff and service users across the seven pilot areas.
  • Quantitative analysis of administrative data, to measure the impact of the DSCPs on service users and their outcomes.
  • Economic evaluation to assess the costs and benefits of delivering the DSCPs.