In November last year it was announced that Iceni, a long-running frontline drug service which gained nationwide recognition in the wake the murder of five Ipswich sex workers, would have its funding cut. Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) opted to end Iceni’s contract following a tendering process which saw one of the country’s major drug service providers, Crime Reduction Initiative (CRI), win out as the key successful bidder, alongside the Essex-based Open Road charity, to run the county’s network of drug services in the east of England.
But the decision led to accusations, chiefly from Iceni’s director Brian Tobin, that the two year long tendering process carried out by Suffolk was biased towards big providers such as CRI – and that the local knowledge and expertise of Iceni would be lost and replaced by a new, ‘chain-store’ style drug service. Tobin, described the decision as “farcical
and a huge injustice”.
Many in the drugs field say that the battle for contracts to provide drug services is increasingly a David and Goliath affair.
Below, the key players – Suffolk DAAT, Iceni and CRI – explain their side of the story.