Hackney Council is set to sign a £4 million deal to combine all its “stop smoking” services under one roof – a move the borough’s health chief says will help residents quit the habit.
The five-year contract for Hackney’s Stop Smoking Service was awarded to one of six bidders by the council’s cabinet procurement committee on Tuesday (14 March).
The winner, which the council has not named, will receive more than £820,000 a year, hitting a total of £4.1 million over the full five years.
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Hackney’s outgoing cabinet member for health, social care and devolution, said the deal would make the service more accountable and target resources better.
Around 19.6 per cent of Hackney residents are smokers – roughly 43,000 – according to the 2016 Annual Population Survey.
The council has claimed its Stop Smoking Service helped 1,500 people quit cigarettes the year before last.
In his report to the committee, Cllr McShane said: “Integrating all the elements of the service under the leadership of a single organization accountable for delivery will improve coordination, accountability and direction.
“The new service will build on previous successes, delivering further improvements and ensuring that resources are targeted where they are needed.”
He added: “Hackney has made good progress in tackling smoking locally. However, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death and is one of the most significant factors contributing to health inequalities.
“The Stop Smoking Service will target high risk groups and high prevalence communities while also providing a service that is accessible to those that need it.
“It will continue to be available in locations across the borough and offer a range of support options tailored to the needs and preferences of the individual resident.”
In October, Hackney Council was criticised by charity Action on Smoking and Health for holding £26.6 million of shares in major tobacco firms through the council’s pension fund.