A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by F I R S T's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from F I R S T is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
28 | F I R S T
Chair Alan Russell
The Walk and Talk group
at Dollar Glen
Fife Intensive Rehabilitation and Substance Misuse Team
(F I R S T) was set up in 2003 as a community-based
rehabilitation service for Fife residents (16+) with substance
misuse issues wishing to change their lifestyle. The service
does not prescribe or offer counselling; rather it works with
individuals experiencing a host of difficulties that prevents them
from “moving on” in their lives, free from substances. The chair
of the organisation is Alan Russell; however, April Adam, the
service manager, tells
The Parliamentary Review
Our structure
We are a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. Responsibility for
the organisation lies with our voluntary board of directors, with the day-to-day
management overseen by me. Our funding is from Fife Health and Social Care
Partnership, Fife Alcohol and Drug Partnership and Fife Council.
The service has three bases, with the main office in Kirkcaldy. The other two sites
are for appointments and group work only, and are in Glenrothes and Dunfermline.
Our service is delivered by a highly skilled and qualified workforce who provide
tailored support to the clients at private appointments each week. Every client has a
dedicated worker, which is so important to them.
Our activities
Our programme involves undertaking core skills work and attendance at auricular
acupuncture sessions. If the client wishes, a family member can be involved in
»Chair: Alan Russell
»Service Manager: April Adam
»Established in 2003
»Based in Kirkcaldy, Fife
»Services: Community and
residential rehabilitation
»No. of employees: 19
29F I R S T |
their care. Once stability has been
achieved, a range of group work
is offered to the clients, involving
health, educational and environmental
elements such as the “Walk and
Talk Group”, cycling, gardening,
drumming and the “Heritage and
Communities Group” (visiting places
of interest in Fife and beyond).
Recent visits have included Edinburgh
Castle and the National Mining
Trained volunteers are available to
support clients on a one-to-one
basis as well as on the group work
programmes, with many volunteers
having had a substance misuse issue
themselves previously.
Our community rehabilitation service
is not limited by time, and clients are
supported in achieving their goals
before moving on into the Recovery
Community. There are organisations in
Fife providing such support including
AA, NA, CA, SMART, Fife Recovery
Group, Restoration and our own
Peer Support Group. Recovery via
community rehabilitation is possible.
F I R S T can evidence that.
However, there are some who require
a residential stay to conquer their
addiction. Our highly successful
residential rehabilitation service,
operational since 2014, allows
individuals who have tried and
exhausted all other avenues of support
to beat their addiction without success
to undertake a 26-week programme at
a residential unit of their choice, based
on suitability to meet their needs.
We have four units available to us for
selection as a result of a tendering
process undertaken prior to the
Once a referral has been received for
this service and following a robust
assessment and extensive preparatory
work (both undertaken by our
residential rehabilitation co-ordinator)
the client is admitted to the residential
unit selected in Scotland. Our member
of staff is in regular contact with both
F I R S T’s Heritage and
Communities Group
during their recent visit
to the Scottish Parliament
Our service is
delivered by a
highly skilled
and qualified
who provide
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30 | F I R S T
the client and the unit throughout
the period of care, with the aim of
undertaking reviews, offering support,
keeping in touch with the unit and
liaising with family members who
remain in Fife.
This service has achieved many
successes, and we now have
individuals four years later who remain
drug and alcohol free. Through our
model of robust assessment, fully
preparing the client for entering the
unit and the ongoing support for the
client in rehab and their family, we’ve
helped achieve this.
An excellent spin-off from the
residential rehabilitation service is
the Family Support Group. These
meetings are held monthly at
F I R S T’s main office in Kirkcaldy,
Fife. Clients in rehab, those expecting
to go and those who have completed
rehab meet at F I R S T, along with
family members to support each
other. One member of the group does
a “share” – that is, they share their
life story with others speaking on
what their life was like with addiction
and where they are now. This support
network is praised by all who attend;
a lot is gained from doing it.
Everyone at F I R S T strives to offer a
quality service to all its clients. There is a
great emphasis on “user involvement”
– consulting our clients and
implementing suggested changes to
further improve if possible. Consultation
sessions are held annually at various
venues throughout Fife as well as
the issuing of annual questionnaires.
Regular dialogue takes place between
staff, service users and their families
for opinions andcomments.
The service is registered with the Care
Inspectorate, and for the last two
inspections (one unannounced) the
service has scored six (“excellent”) for
(a) “Quality of Care and Support” and
(b) “Quality of Staffing”. We adhere
rigidly to the “Quality Principles”
– that is, standard expectations of
care and support in drug and alcohol
services ensuring that our service
users who are looking to address
their problem drug and/or alcohol
use receive high-quality treatment
and support that assists long-term
sustained recovery and keeps them
safe from harm.
Providing a quality service requires
highly trained competent staff. In this
regard we have a multidisciplinary
team qualified to master’s level in
a number of disciplines, including
nursing, social work, community
education, health and social care and
business management.
All staff receive regular supervision
and attend monthly coaching sessions
as a team to further enhance their
working practice with our client group.
Staff are trauma-informed and use
motivational interviewing as well as
cognitive behavioural therapy skills
when working with clients. The service
currently holds Investors in People
status at gold standard.
All staff receive
supervision and
attend monthly
sessions as a
team to further
enhance their
F I R S T’s Cycling Group
at the Forth Road Bridge


This article was sponsored by F I R S T. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister