North Eastern Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force: Tender for an Independent Evaluation of Funded Projects
North Eastern Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force
Tender for an Independent Evaluation of Funded Projects
Introduction / context
In 2003, ten Regional Task Forces covering the entirety of Ireland were set up on foot of recommendations from the Government’s National Drugs Strategy (NDS). This was to facilitate a more effective response to the substance misuse problem across Ireland and involve those directly affected by the problem in the development of a region based strategic plan. Furthermore, in late 2013, following the recommendations of the Steering Group Report on the National Substance Misuse Strategy, alcohol was incorporated into the remit of all Task Forces.
The North Eastern Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force (NE-RDATF) brings together members, representing the community, voluntary and statutory sectors, public representatives and key interest groups to develop and co-ordinate a collective and integrated response to drug and alcohol problems in the north east region which covers the counties of Cavan, Louth Meath & Monaghan. It supports a range of community-based projects and initiatives which respond to drug and alcohol problems. These projects and initiatives have been established under the Task Force remit to develop and co-ordinate a collective and integrated response to drug and alcohol problems across the region. The terms of reference for Drug & Alcohol Task Forces are as follows:
- To coordinate the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy in the context of the needs of the region/local area
- To implement the actions of the National Drugs Strategy where Task Forces have been assigned a role
- To promote the implementation of evidence-based local/regional drug and alcohol strategies and to exchange best practice
- To support and strengthen community-based responses to drug and alcohol misuse
- To maintain an up-to-date overview on the nature and extent of drug and alcohol misuse in the area/region
- To identify and report on emerging issues and advocate for the development of policies or actions needed to address them
- To monitor, evaluate and assess the impact of the funded projects and their continued relevance to the local/regional drugs task force strategy and to recommend changes in the funding allocations as deemed necessary
As directed by the Drugs Policy Unit (DPU) in the Department of Health, all Drug and Alcohol Task Forces need to ensure the following is prioritised when allocating funding on an annual basis:
- Needs identified in the region with reference to emerging drug trends and patterns in substance misuse, the evidence base for interventions and the importance of maintaining the drug focus of initiatives
- Outcome of evaluation process of individual projects. Any proposal to make a material change to the purpose of a funded project must have Departmental approval
- The need to safeguard public funding. The DATF should be informed of any financial control and/or governance issues prior to decisions on individual project allocations
- The need to protect front line service provision in line with Government policy. It is expected that DATF’s should seek to make reductions, if applicable, primarily from funding provided to projects in respect of administration, including pay and non-pay costs
- Financial sustainability of a project
- Ongoing monitoring to identify and address gaps in service provision based on evidence to maximise resources and minimise overlap or duplication
Previous instructions which issued from the DPU required that projects were to be assessed against key elements:
- They must be drug and alcohol targeted and evidence-based
- They must show and record tangible outputs and outcomes
- They must contribute in a measurable and meaningful way to the regional drug strategy
- They must address current gaps and local needs in their areas/region; and
- Demonstrate clear links with the priorities as set out in the National Drug Strategy and the Regional Strategic Plan.
Evaluation of Existing Projects
At present, the NE-RDATF directly supports seven projects throughout the region dealing with issues of substance misuse and related social problems. Given the current challenges within the Irish economy, the NE-RDATF now wish to develop a clear understanding of how its current and future resources can best be utilised to meet the changing needs of the population in the region, and to prepare for the advent of population based funding in the years ahead. To undertake this assessment, we wish to engage a Consultant/Contractor to evaluate current funded Projects and to develop a roadmap for future targeted projects in conjunction with the identified goals of the National Drugs Strategy 2017-2025 and its recent Mid-Term Review, recent HSE reports and the Slaintecare implementation strategy; and in relation to potential reorientation of services in line with the emerging needs of the region.
The requirements of this assignment are as follows:
Conduct an evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of each of the seven funded projects and provide a report on each project separately and working together under the following headings:
- Aims & Objectives of Project - Assess the aims, objectives and relevance of the project to drug and alcohol specific work
- Outputs & Outcomes of Project - Record and evaluate tangible outputs and outcomes of the projects
- Relevance to emerging needs - An assessment of the capacity and adequacy of projects to respond to local established or emerging needs and gaps in service provision within the region
- Adherence to proven best practice/effective methods - Description of models of positive practice (e.g. adherence to quality standards frameworks etc) or evidence based activities which are in operation within projects and appropriately recorded
- Review of resource allocation linked to value for money, geographical region, etc
- Identify programmes/services that should be developed/supported into the future in relation to priority issues and in terms of the Department of Health Drug Policy Unit (DPU) and NE-RDATF objectives
- Engagement of project/services with other stakeholders and new Regional Health areas.
It is envisaged that the appointed Contractor will undertake, at a minimum, the following activities to achieve the requirements of the NE-RDATF:
- Examine evidence-based assessment models in existence
- Examine the current baseline of staffing and funding; identifying key staffing requirements & service risks
- Engage with both project managers, staff and service users where appropriate
- Adapt existing assessment model for use with NE-RDATF projects and/or design assessment models and processes as may be required/recommended arising from the evaluation
- To support NE-RDATF with collation, analysis and interpretation of project information
- Provide liaison support to NE-RDATF with the rollout of assessment process now and in the future
- Provide NE-RDATF with a final report and recommendations
The appointed contractor will also be required to provide the following:
- Deliver this work within the agreed prescribed time frame contract period.
- Provide regular updates on progress to the Task Force Coordinator and/or our Finance & Governance group.
- Submit a Draft Report to include an executive summary and a series of recommendations to the Finance & Governance group within the agreed time frame. Draft document to be submitted to the NE-RDATF for feedback must include clear findings based on the analysis of information gathered and collated.
- Final document will be signed off and agreed by the Finance & Governance group. Appointed contractor will then be required to meet and present on the findings of the evaluation to the NE-RDATF Task Force Committee.
- Following on from the presentation of final document to the NE-RDATF, present the evaluation finding to each Project Promoter/Service Provider to give each the opportunity to discuss the findings of the evaluation specific to their project.
- The appointed contractor will be required to comply with the requirements of the submission of garda vetting and tax compliance.
The budget available for the total project will be no more that €15,000 (inclusive of VAT & travel and other expenses). Given the financial constraints over the last number of years, the NE-RDATF would ask potential bidders to consider this in preparing tender costs. All applicants must possess a tax clearance certificate, as well as relevant professional indemnity and insurance. The final report must be available within a maximum of 14 weeks of commission.
Consultant/Contractor should state the following in their submissions to NE-RDATF:
- Their approach and methodology in undertaking this commission
- The team member(s) they propose to deploy, and their specific experience in the field of substance misuse consultancy assignments
- Curriculum Vitae (including the name of organisations for whom consultancy work has been completed)
- Relevant samples of previous work
- Their overall cost of conducting the assignment, and the distribution of consultancy days amongst their team, including the number of days required to complete the task, the number of days each person will be employed on the task, the cost per day.
The NE-RDATF will not be bound to accept the lowest or any tender. Once the tender has been accepted, any price increases during the term of contract will not be accepted
Tender Assessment Procedure
A tender assessment panel will examine all tenders received. The panel will have to be satisfied that the method and programme of work meet the project’s objectives and are cost effective. The panel will also consider other criteria to include:
- Clear demonstration and understanding of the issues being addressed
- Demonstration that the tender has the level, depth, nature of and the relevant skills and experience in the area. Evidence that they possess the necessary skills to carry out the study
- Proposed qualitative/quantitative research design and data analysis
- Demonstrate the ability to effectively manage and complete the contract within the agreed timeframe
- Overall assessment and quality of proposal
- Declaration of any potential conflict of interest
- Confirmation from applicant that they are in receipt of current garda vetting documentation. Where an agency/individual is not in receipt of garda vetting, they must confirm they are able to source same
- Development of a proposed rating scale for all projects
- Value for money
Closing date for receipt of tender applications is Friday 28th January 2022 at 4pm. Applications that are delivered late or incomplete after that time will not be considered. Applications will be accepted by email to email@example.com.
Informal enquiries to Andy Ogle, Coordinator, NE-RDATF at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 046 924 8630.
Important note: it is the responsibility of the tenderer to ensure the tender is received by the NE-RDATF on time. No responsibility for late arrival of emails or correspondence will be accepted by NE-RDATF.
Short listing will apply following initial assessment of tenders, and selected applications for this commission will be required to attend an interview and make a presentation to the NE-RDATF Finance & Governance group; the date for possible interviews & presentations will be in mid-February 2022.
- The appointed Contractor must be in a position to begin work by the first week of March 2022.
- A Draft Report must be submitted by the successful Contractor to the NE-RDATF Finance & Governance group by Monday 25th April 2022.
- The Final Report must be submitted to the NE-RDATF Finance & Governance group by Friday 27th May 2022.
Compliance to the timeframe set out above is necessary to enable the NE-RDATF to develop a workplan based on the clear recommendations of this report.