The Quality Principles: Standard Expectations of Care and Support in Drug and Alcohol Services

The Quality Principles: Standard Expectations of Care and Support in Drug and Alcohol

Services have been developed to ensure anyone looking to address their problem drug

and/or alcohol use receives high-quality treatment and support that assists long-term,

sustained recovery and keeps them safe from harm.


These Quality Principles are central to the implementation of the Scottish Government's Quality Improvement Framework for drug and alcohol treatment and support services.

The Quality Improvement Framework is the focus of the next phase of delivery of The Scottish Government's national drugs and alcohol strategies - its purpose is to ensure quality is embedded and evidenced across all services in Scotland. Quality in the provision of care, treatment and recovery services and quality in the data that will evidence the medium and long-term outcomes of people in recovery.

The Quality Improvement Framework is made up of:

  • a set of Quality Principles supported by the Recovery Philosophy - developed in collaboration with current service users, those in longer-term recovery and staff working within services;
  • revised planning and reporting arrangements for Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs);
  • a programme of development for the drug and alcohol workforce - that is anyone who has a role in improving outcomes for individuals, families or communities affected by problematic drug and alcohol use;
  • the development of a single integrated data collection system for drugs and alcohol (DAISy); and
  • support and guidance for ADPs - including commissioning guidance, supported self-evaluation and the Quality Principles Toolkit.

The Quality Improvement Framework should support and drive a culture of self-assessment whereby services are commissioned based on evidence of meeting these principles of care, which will be measured by a range of tools including an agreed set of quality indicators of recovery, and are open to being supported to make improvements to the quality of the service.

This approach to improving the quality of alcohol and drug services is in line with the four pillars of the Scottish Government's approach to public service reform, summarised as:

  • greater investment in the people who deliver services through enhanced workforce development and effective leadership;
  • a sharp focus on improving performance, through greater transparency and innovation;
  • greater integration of public services at a local level driven by better partnership, collaboration and effective local delivery;
  • a decisive shift towards prevention.

In responding to national priorities, Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) will be able to devise their own improvement goals and measures to drive quality improvement at a local level. Quality Principles, improved data and evidence, and planning and reporting requirements will all contribute to effective Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) across Scotland, where there is a clear need for an integrated approach to service planning, commissioning, design and delivery.


Email: Hilary Smith

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