Terms of reference

1. Name

The organisation will be called the Substance Misuse Skills Consortium, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Consortium’.

2. Nature and objectives

The Consortium is a standing advisory group to develop and support a sector-led consensus in England on improving the substance misuse treatment workforce. Its objectives are to support the substance misuse treatment sector to:

  • Identify workforce needs required to promote and sustain beneficial treatment outcomes for service users, their families and communities
  • Review and develop workforce initiatives with a view to retaining and attracting the existing and future workforce
  • Enable employers and commissioners to equip practitioners and managers with the requisite competences.

The Consortium’s initial work programme was supported by the NTA to develop a national skills framework and the underpinning resources needed by services wanting to implement elements of the framework (such as guidance, evidence, competencies frameworks, implementation guides, manuals, toolkits, training networks, etc).

3. Membership

The Consortium will aim for an initial membership of around 40-60 organisations including:

  • Organisational providers and consumers of substance misuse treatment
  • Royal Colleges and other large professional and membership organisations representing the organisations above or their staff
  • Other organisations agreed by the Executive to represent interests relevant and useful to the Consortium’s activity, such as Sector Skills Councils, human resources and higher education bodies.

Membership is open to any organisational/institutional body in England that belongs to one of these groups and that supports the Consortium’s objectives.

Member organisations will be required to nominate a single named representative. Only this named representative will be able to attend Consortium meetings but the named representative of a member may be substituted at any time by notification in writing to the Secretariat.

Associate members and observers

Although not able to join the Consortium as full members, a wide range of other organisations and individuals are stakeholders in the Consortium’s work and are welcome to sign up as associate members and to benefit from its resources and activities. Associate members will not be able to attend formal Consortium meetings, unless invited to attend by the Executive as observers or elect executive members and officers.

The Consortium may agree that some non-members may attend its meetings as observers. These observers will usually be individuals who work for:

  • a government department or related agency, including the UK devolved administrations
  • a strategic NGO/agency that shares the aims of the Consortium.

4. Membership fees

There are currently no membership fees for joining the Consortium

5. Officers of the Consortium

The officers of the Consortium will be:

  • Chair
  • Vice Chair

In the first instance, temporary officers will be appointed by the Executive Committee at its first meeting but, within six months of this meeting, officers will be elected according to the following process which will then remain in force:

All candidates should be nominated and seconded by ‘full’ members and write a supporting statement of 200 words outlining their reasons and suitability for the position of chair or vice chair. This should be sent (by email) to the Secretariat by the deadline set.

The appointment of chair or vice chair will be for a period of one year, at the end of which the post holder may retire or seek re-election (for a maximum period of three further years).

6. Secretariat

All secretariat functions will initially be provided by DrugScope, Adfam and FDAP.

7. Committee

The Consortium will be managed through an Executive Committee consisting of the elected Chair and Vice Chair, and appointed posts reserved for and ensuring representation from:

  • Adfam (representing carer interests)
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • British Psychological Society
  • Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals
  • DrugScope
  • Skills for Health
  • National HR Group for Substance Misuse Services
  • Association of Higher Education Programmes in Substance Misuse
  • Public Health England
  • Two statutory sector major providers of drug treatment
  • Two voluntary sector major providers of drug treatment
  • A substance misuse commissioner
  • A service user in recovery
  • A service-user representative
  • The College of Social Work
  • Alcohol Concern

The members of the Executive Committee shall be drawn from the nominated representatives of members, as defined in clause 3.

The Executive Committee will be convened by the Secretariat of the Consortium and held no less than three times per year.

The quorum required for business to be agreed at the Executive Committee meetings will be six.

The Executive Committee will have powers to appoint sub-committees as necessary and appoint advisers to the Executive Committee as necessary to fulfil its business. It may also co-opt up to three individuals who may or may not be the representatives of members of the Consortium.

8. Skills Hub

The Skills Hub is a free online resource library run by the Skills Consortium. It offers practitioners, service-managers and commissioners quality-assured evidence on delivering high quality drug and alcohol treatment. Resources may be approved for inclusion within the Skills Hub if they:

1. Are sufficiently relevant for UK drug and alcohol treatment services

2. Are likely to enhance the quality and or outcomes of treatment

3. Can readily be used by keyworkers, other clinical staff and or managers of services without substantial changes

4. Could realistically be implemented in UK services

5. Are based on staff competences that are likely to be available in UK services

6. Are derived from recognized, robust evidence-bases and theory

7. Are in accordance with safe, ethical and non-discriminatory practice

8. Fit within the Skills Hub framework

9. Are up-to-date

10. Are not commercially marketed and are available for free or minimal cost

11. Please note the Skills Hub signposts to resources but does not guarantee the standard or relevance of their contents.