Localism and austerity

The Localism and Austerity research project, which ran until April 2012, documented the impact of increasing localism and decentralisation, alongside decreasing public service expenditure, on action in local areas to tackle the problems associated with illicit drugs. It aimed to:

  • Illustrate how across the country local priorities and strategies to address substance use problems are being affected by the changing landscape of public service commissioning and delivery, fiscal constraint, and the building of the ‘Big Society.’
  • Draw lessons from case study examples of emerging responses to new partnership configurations and the devolving of responsibilities and management of resources in tackling problems associated with illicit drugs.
  • Identify from available evidence the likely consequences of decisions to cease or reform activities and interventions in order to reduce expenditure and/or improve service delivery.
  • Pull together the evidence in order to describe the different patterns of change and highlight potential problem areas for monitoring to assist individuals and organisations working in the field to identify key issues to be addressed in this period of rapid change.

The final report from the project, Charting New Waters: Delivering drug policy at a time of radical reform and financial austerity, was published in April 2012.

The research included:

The project was funded by Barclays. Follow up work, looking specifically at the potential impact of changes to young people’s services, is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.


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