Measuring the overall effectiveness of the response to the drug problem is an important objective of drug policy. Resources are best directed towards interventions and strategies which are most likely to lead to a reduction in problem substance use and an improvement in public health, safety and well-being.
The national drugs strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, commits to operationalising a performance measurement system by 2020. The system is primarily concerned with the overall effects of implementing the drugs strategy at a population level, including the effects on the health, well-being and quality of life of people living in areas served by the Drug and Alcohol Task Forces (DATFs).
Work is ongoing in the Department, in association with key stakeholders, on the revision of the 'Task Force Handbook'. It is intended that the revised handbook will contribute to improving the overall governance and accountability of Task Forces. This work is an important preliminary step in the development of a performance measurement system.
The performance measurement system incorporates a resource allocation model to enable DATF funding to be allocated on a more equitable and rational basis, which takes account of underlying need in local areas and targets those communities which face a higher risk of substance misuse. The criteria to be used to determine the allocation of resources to Task Forces will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including DATFs.