Transform’s Board has recently carried out a comprehensive review of the organisation and the challenges we face over the next few years.
It has become clear that attaining a rational drug policy cannot be achieved by an exclusive focus on the Home Office and relevant politicians. To accomplish change we need to engage with opinion formers and decision makers on a much wider basis. We need to achieve policy climate change. Transform’s Board has agreed to prioritise work over the next five years in three key areas.
Firstly we will be highlighting the international dimensions to drug policy. Drug policy in the
Secondly Transform will be focusing on promoting wellbeing as the key paradigm for drug policy. In partnership with a number of academics we are looking at developing methodologies that allow the wellbeing impact of both existing and proposed drug policy regimes to be evaluated. This work will underpin our continued campaigning for the transfer of drug policy responsibility away from criminal justice agencies to public health authorities. The law enforcement strategies central to current drug policy generate considerable additional harms and have clearly failed. A public health and wellbeing approach to drug policy would be much more effective. However, to achieve this we need to build a wide coalition within the heath and allied professions in support of such an approach.
A major aspect of this work will be supporting the development of the Drugs and Health Alliance (DHA). The DHA is a coalition of agencies campaigning for drug policy to move away from failed criminal justice approaches and instead adopt a public health approach. Transform provides the secretariat for the DHA and in that capacity has recently received funding from the Pilgrim Trust which has enabled us to recruit
Thirdly we will be focusing on the economic impact of prohibition based drug policies. We will be carrying out or commissioning a number of studies to identify the cost of existing policies; both to public finances and to the wider economy. These will be supplemented by further work identifying the benefits of alternative policies based on legal regulation and control. This strand of our work will set out the strong economic case for adopting rational drug policies and further broaden the coalition supporting drug policy reform.
In addition to this refocusing of our research and campaigning work we have reviewed how we are organised and established a new organisational structure. This structure will see Transform’s staff organised into three teams, Research, Policy and Communications, and Operations. The Research team will be responsible for developing Transform’s ‘product’ both through directly produced work and by managing commissioned research projects.
The Policy and Campaigns team will disseminate our material and communicating the case for change.
The third team, Operations will focus on Transform’s funding and organisational management. A new post of ‘Director of Operations’ is being established with overall responsibility for management of the organisation. This post will work closely with Jane Slater, Operations Co-ordinator and they will both focus on human resources, funding, finances and project management. John Moore is currently filling this post on an interim basis.
The new strategy opens up a range of exciting possibilities for Transform and the restructuring utilises the strengths of our staff, enabling us to maximise Transform’s impact and influence.