Overview of Partnership scheme

Why partner with SMART Recovery?

Excellent video describing the impact of the SMART Recovery Partnership scheme in Bristol.
Produced by “This is Bristol”, and shown here with their kind permission.

Excellent video describing the impact of the SMART Recovery Partnership scheme in Bristol.
Produced by “This is Bristol”, and shown here with their kind permission.

Engagement with mutual aid improves the long term prognosis for addictive disorders, though 12-step approaches are neither appealing nor acceptable to everyone who may benefit. SMART Recovery uses psychotherapeutic techniques that are similar to those used in the majority of treatment services in the UK. This similarity helps SMART Recovery meetings sit comfortably alongside the treatment system and makes the transition from being a ‘client’ to mutual aid participant a natural and coherent step.

SMART Recovery offers the benefit of mutual aid, but can be actively encouraged or supported by treatment providers and commissioners. Through this Partnership model, Partners can extend access to mutual aid alongside existing treatment interventions including OST and harm reduction. The network of peer-led SMART Recovery meetings provides a through-care / after-care option for the long term support after treatment completion, reinforcing and sustaining treatment gains.

One way for SMART Recovery to spread is the ‘organic growth’ of meeting members training as Facilitators and then starting their own meetings. Our Partnership scheme complements this approach and makes sure that service users are exposed to SMART Recovery during their treatment journey.

Intended outcomes

1. A vibrant and sustainable network of peer-led SMART Recovery meetings in the local community.

2. Improved rates of sustained recovery for people with addictions by increasing early engagement with mutual aid, strengthening the psycho-social interventions and recovery focus of your service and after-care capacity.


Key points

SMART Recovery is 100% consistent with the new drugs strategy and is an ideal vehicle to improve the recovery orientation of treatment, due to its acceptability to providers and service users, coherence and evidence base.

  • With the majority of existing UK mutual aid being based on the 12-step model, there is an urgent need for alternatives. SMART Recovery is the only national network of non-12-step mutual aid meetings that is available now and growing rapidly.
  • Our Partnership approach trains Champions (equivalent to Therapeutic Recovery Champions within the drugs strategy) within treatment services using our cost effective and scalable online training platform.
  • These Champions introduce SMART Recovery within their services and kick start meetings. Over time they identify service users to undertake the Facilitator training course and in turn spread meetings across the area.
  • Partnership sites are also able to make use of SMART Recovery tools and materials to enhance the psychotherapeutic aspects of their treatment programme.
  • The partnership scheme is based on a positively evaluated DoH Pilot scheme.
  • SMART Recovery co-exists comfortably with the existing 12-step fellowships and many people attend meetings from both traditions.

Mutual Aid Partnership!

  • Staff train as ‘SMART Recovery Champions’, using our innovative 20 hour online learning programme. Additional members of staff undertake the first half of the training ‘Getting SMART’ to help embed understanding of SMART into your service.
  • Champions can then kick start SMART Recovery meetings within the service, seeking to identify service users to co-facilitate and in time train up as Facilitators themselves. These peer Facilitators are then encouraged to set up new meetings in the local community.
  • The site can then use SMART Recovery materials and manuals within your programmes, including sessions that are not peer-led SMART Recovery meetings. This includes for example using the handouts and tools within one to one counselling sessions.
  • With agreement of UKSR, display the ‘SMART Recovery Partner’ logo on their website or other promotional materials. UKSR will list your organisation as a partner on our own website.
  • Organisations may also include mention of your status as a SMART Recovery Partner within funding applications using standard wording supplied by or otherwise agreed with UKSR.
  • The partner agency must actively promote free standing, peer-led meetings in the local area, sign a written agreement and pay a small annual fee. We use the income to support the growing network of meetings and invest in new materials.


Please note we will be making some improvement to our training and as a result the online training site is likely to be offline from Tuesday 24 July until Monday 30 July 2018.  Apologies for any inconvenience.