Research & Evaluation

We have extensive experience of undertaking research and evaluation studies across community and criminal justice settings. We have published innovative and cutting-edge approaches that assess the effectiveness of treatment using quasi-experimental methods.

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Since 2006, we have delivered:

  • Interviews with over 500 members of strategic and operational staff
    involved in service delivery
  • Interviews and surveys of with over 2,500 people in prison as part of
    health needs assessments and other bespoke studies (for example,
    the Ministry of Justice-funded Review of the Drug Rehabilitation
    Requirement in 2010)
  • Bespoke surveys of offenders in police custody
  • Providing a greater understanding of the organisational environment
    through use of survey methods that measure operational functioning

Service Evaluation

We have undertaken over 50 service evaluations examining the effectiveness of treatment and interventions across multiple domains from offender health, criminal justice, mental health and substance misuse.

We deploy a range of robust quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the effectiveness of services. Our service reviews have included an evaluation of the Chinese Mental Health Association (2019). We have partnered with the Centre for Public Innovation to evaluate Improving Access to Psychological Therapies in custodial settings and Police Liaison and Diversion services for NHS England in the East of England (both studies in 2019).

We have undertaken clinical audits of substance misuse services for the London Borough of Southwark (2019) and Northamptonshire County Council (2016-2017). These projects have delved deep into substance misuse services to facilitate a greater understanding of clinical need across physical, mental health and addiction. We have also reviewed the pathways of people detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act for NHS England. Read more about this work here. We also presented the findings from this study at the Fifth International Conference of Law Enforcement and Public Health in 2019. Download our presentation here and in addition, we have undertaken a comprehensive review of health provision of in police custody for NHS England and the Metropolitan Police.

Evidence Reviews

Our recent work has included synthesizing evidence. Therapeutic Solutions has undertaken a systematic map of the evidence-base supporting Primary Prevention in a Policing Context for the National College of Policing (2021). The aim of this evidence review was to understand what effect primary prevention initiatives can have when public health and policing are integrated.

We have also recently (2021) worked with the Open University on a Durham Constabulary-funded project for a rapid literature review examining the effect of a younger age profile of Police Officers on policing. We have previously supported a rapid systematic review of the evidence base for alcohol brief interventions in the criminal justice system.

Treatment Effectiveness

We have developed a range of innovative quasi-experimental techniques to measure treatment effectiveness.

Measuring the effectiveness of treatment or an intervention has relied on use of randomised trials which have issues with ethical and clinical equipoise. The development of quasi-experimental techniques has allowed researchers to create a counterfactual. In other words, to compare a treatment (or intervention) group with a non-treatment group based on ‘similar’ characteristics. These are derived using statistical techniques accessing management information datasets. Propensity score matching (PSM) creates a ‘score’ that assumes a person with the same or similar propensity scores will have a positive probability of being in the treatment or counterfactual group. This allows researchers to mimic the best parts of a randomised trial.

We have undertaken a quasi-experiment using PSM of a Domestic Violence programme for Thames Valley Police as part of a wider evaluation with CPI (2019). We have developed the methodological aspects of using PSM in an examination of alcohol use disorder treatment in prisons as part of a national (England) study for Public Health England. Read more about this work here.

PSM works when evaluating one treatment type. Recent methodological developments have allowed greater consideration of evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of multiple treatment arms using regression modelling including: regression adjustment (RA); treatment assignment using inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW), and (iii) ‘doubly-robust’ modelling of treatment assignment and outcomes simultaneously using an augmented inverse probability of treatment weighting (AIPTW) and inverse probability of treatment weighted regression adjustment (IPTWRA). This approach has been used to assess the effectiveness of national gambling interventions for Gambleaware (in partnership with ACT Recovery). Read more about this work here. Use of quasi-experimental techniques for multivalued treatment also formed a part of the assessment of alcohol use disorder treatment in English prisons. Read more about this work here.

Therapeutic Solutions is also a contributing partner to a two-arm parallel-group individually randomised prison pilot study of a male remand alcohol intervention for self-efficacy enhancement in two prisons in England and Scotland (2021).

Criminal Justice

We have specialised in research and evaluation studies in criminal justice settings. Our recent work has included the mapping of offender pathways for MOPAC in London. Read more about this work here. We have also evaluated Drug Testing on Arrest for one local authority area in partnership with Essex University. Read more about this work here.

Previous projects have included assessing and testing the feasibility of measuring treatment climate in prisons for Public Health England and Process Mapping treatment pathways and undertaking a staff facilitation day for custodial staff working for CAREUK (2017). We have also examined the perceptions of people in prison and staff of Take-Home Naloxone pilots as part of the Through-the-Gate initiative commissioned by NHS England. Read more about this work here

Therapeutic Solutions (Addictions) has provided a range of research, evaluation and support services for a joint exercise with the Royal College of Anaesthetists and Public Health England aimed at producing a ‘tool-kit’ for use in prison settings (2016). Read more about this work here. Therapeutic Solutions was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice with the aim of reviewing the Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR). The study had three main phases: Phase I incorporated a national survey of all 42 Probation Trust areas (as at the time). Phase II examined stakeholder’s perceptions including views from offenders themselves. In total over 400 stakeholders were interviewed including operational and strategic staff; magistrates; offenders and other local stakeholders. A final phase examined the cost-effectiveness of delivering treatment to offenders.


We have specialised in provided supporting analysis for reshaping addiction and mental health services into recovery-orientated systems of care. We have contributed to an analysis of 1,313 people in recovery across Europe using the Strengths and Barriers Recovery Scale (SABRS). Read more about this work here.

We have also provided analytical support understanding treatment professionals’ referral pathways into mutual self-help groups (2014) (Read more about this work here) and an evaluation of the Matthew Project, Norfolk (2014)

Advisory Support

Therapeutic Solutions (Addictions) has provided advisory support for a range of clients including being involved in Public Health England’s Opioid Substitution Treatment Good Practice Programme for prisons (2019).

Our clinical lead Dr. George Ryan provided consulting support to Public Health England on the treatment and management of prisoner misuse of psychoactive substances in custodial settings (2017-18); support for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Thinking Differently initiative in Scotland examining alcohol use and young people (2016-2017) and for Nacro (2014-2015). Read a review published with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation here. Read a review published with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation here.

Previous Research and Evaluation Projects

Therapeutic Solutions (Addictions) has a long history of undertaking research and evaluation studies.

We have evaluated Bedford and Central Bedfordshire’s Alcohol Arrest Referral (AAR) Scheme in 2012. An evaluation of the Community Alcohol Liaison Service (CALS) within the same location was also completed in 2013. This study focused on a process evaluation of how effectively CALS operated over primary care (GP surgeries) and acute settings (within specific hospital departments). We have also worked with Birmingham City Council to test the feasibility of diverting problematic alcohol drinkers away from Accident and Emergency Departments through a feasibility study of potential options (2008/2009).

Latest Insights

Search here for links to reports, papers and toolkits. Our latest publications include:

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Using a retrospective case review, we deployed a hierarchical cluster analysis using Ward’s linkage method to examine segments in an inner-London treatment population.

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We analysed 1,313 online responses from around Europe to assess the association between relationship status and living with dependent children on recovery capital of people in recovery from drug addiction.

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