Project Update #6: The current EDPQS Project enters its final phase

Jeff LeeIn today’s blog, Project Manager Jeff Lee from the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) reviews the work undertaken by the Prevention Standards Partnership during 2014 and outlines the final phase of work. The European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS) Phase II Project will formally come to an end on 31 March 2015.

What happened during 2014?

Time has flown and it seems incredible that we are now entering the final three months of the project’s life. Two important activities were begun late in 2013 and pursued during the first half of 2014. The two initial activities involved a “mapping” of existing toolkits in the health promotion field, and a needs assessment to help identify priority target audiences for EDPQS support materials and their needs (see Project Update 2 and Project Update 5 for details).

The findings from these two pieces of research provided important information and a baseline for the major focus of the second half of 2014 – the planning, development and writing of the EDPQS toolkits.

The toolkits will be a major project outcome intended to raise the awareness and help with the application of the Quality Standards by those engaged with planning, supporting or reviewing prevention related initiatives. LJMU led on this task and developed a methodology that could be used to prepare the toolkits. This was reviewed and refined with project partners and resulted in a plan for developing three toolkits.

Development of the toolkits is still ongoing. Each toolkit is being developed through a Partner acting as the lead: Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary; ASL Milano in Italy and LJMU in the UK. Each lead Partner is supported by other Partners that have been assigned to support a particular toolkit’s development.

Three toolkits are in process:

  • A toolkit to assist policy makers, commissioners, funders to identify whether a programme or a project is worthy of (financial or other) support, and which will provide information on how to follow-up the implementation of supported programmes through evaluation activities. All information will be provided within the framework of the EDPQS.
  • A toolkit to support the programme developers, service managers and front-line practitioners to review and improve their own prevention work, based upon the EDPQS
  • A toolkit to support people who wish to promote quality in prevention to raise awareness and disseminate the EDPQS. The toolkit will contain a short introduction to the EDPQS; training materials for use in face-to-face workshops; as well as guidelines to translating, adapting and disseminating the EDPQS. A position paper will be included on the use of the EDPQS with respect to a shared vision of high quality drug prevention.

The three toolkits are going through many stages of development, review, and refinement based on the initial consultation, as well as comments and feedback from the Partnership. Most importantly, the toolkits are being developed, redrafted and refined on the basis of consultations with and feedback from stakeholders in each of the countries involved as well as other potential users of the toolkits.

This major “toolkit phase” of the Project has meant a great deal of work and committed input by Partners. As an example, what might appear as the simple task of developing a two-page summary of the EDPQS project as an element of one of the toolkits is now in its 14th draft version following consultations with Partners and stakeholders!

Into 2015……..

2015 has arrived with three months left of the Project’s life. The toolkits are now reaching their final stage of development. They will be produced in English and in the Partner languages as appropriate (Austrian, Czech, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian and Polish).

One further activity of the Project which began in 2014 but which will be implemented in 2015 is a pilot training for Commissioners and others engaged in the prevention field. The training will be prepared as a half day, one day or two day training course and will be piloted with invited members of the prevention community in the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland and the UK. The aim of the training is to raise awareness and understanding of the EDPQS among key people, particularly Commissioners, with a view to the Standards being applied in their regular work in funding, developing, reviewing or implementing prevention focused activities. Based on the feedback from the pilot training, the training materials will become an element of what will be provided as part of the Project’s “end products”.

It is the production and online publication of these “products” – the toolkits and the training pack – that will be the final part of the current EDPQS project. These will help make the work undertaken in Phase I – the initial production of the European Standards and the Project Manual – readily accessible and applied by those active in the prevention community. Our belief is that this will assist in the improvement of the quality of prevention undertaken in Europe and offer the potential for prevention activities based on sound research, good science and with the possibility of being both cost and person effective.

Watch this space…….

However, the challenge of ensuring that the Standards and their “products” are implemented and used in countries throughout Europe remains. Raising awareness, disseminating available materials and providing training will be the task of a Phase III… if or when it happens! Watch this space!