News in Brief

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Probation promises

The government has launched an invitation to tender for organisations ‘looking to turn offenders’ lives around’ as part of its controversial ‘transforming rehabilitation’ strategy (DDN, June, page 6). The public would ‘finally benefit from the best of the private and voluntary sectors, working together with the public sector, to cut reoffending,’ said justice secretary Chris Grayling, with contracts expected to be awarded and mobilised by 2015. www.justice.gov.uk/transforming-rehabilitation/competition

 Family feelings

Adfam has launched its annual writing competition for families affected by drugs or alcohol, with a grand prize of £150 and £100 prizes for runners up. Entries for Family Voices 2013 should be no more than 500 words and sent to Adfam, 25 Corsham Street, London N1 6DR or emailed to carols@adfam.org.uk. The Adfam/DDN Families First conference will take place in Birmingham on 21 November. Details at www.drinkanddrugsnews.com 

Volatile subject 

A new national support service for people affected by the misuse of aerosols, gases and solvents has been launched by specialist agencies Re-Solv and Solve It, with funding from the Department of Health. Although more than 50,000 people in the UK misuse volatile substances, little support has been available for them or their families. www.communityforrecovery.org

Care power

The government intends to legislate to give the Care Quality Commission (CQC) statutory independence, ‘rather like the Bank of England has over interest rates’, according to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who will relinquish powers to intervene in the CQC’s operational decisions. The measures will be included in the Care Bill, which passes through the House of Lords this month. 

PHE portal

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new ‘data and knowledge gateway’, with a range of tools covering areas such as alcohol, drugs, housing and deprivation, at datagateway.phe.org.uk. An updated alcohol and drugs support pack has also been developed to support the joint strategic needs assessment process and local health and wellbeing strategies. Pack at www.nta.nhs.uk/jsna2013.aspx