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Phil Harris

Phil has worked in community services field for over 25 years as a practitioner, trainer and manager. He studied for a degree in Philosophy at Kingston University, specializing in the Philosophy of Psychology and linguistics.  


In 1991, upon graduation, he began volunteering in direct access homeless agencies where he developed an interest in substance misuse, mental illness and change.  This led him to moving into community drug services at BDP in 1993, where he was a volunteer co-ordinator and held a community development role in supporting neighbourhood drug and alcohol agencies.

Phil's background in Philosophy has given him a more questioning view regarding treatment interventions and accepted practices.  As the Acting Director of BDP he restructured the agency's services to make more therapeutic sense. This work became hugely influential in the development of Models of Care.  He also piloted innovative approaches such as brief interventions, secured funding for one of the first young people specific substance misuse services in the country and developed dual diagnosis services in partnership with Barrow Psychiatric Hospital.

After his role as Acting Director, Phil managed the High Support Team in Bristol, for drug users with complex needs.  He has gone on to provide line and non-line management to a wide range of clinical teams including:


  • Young People's Services

  • Criminal Justice Teams

  • Family Teams

  • Harm Reduction and NES Services

  • Neighbour Projects

  • Dual Diagnosis and Personality Disorder Teams

Phil began to write and research new approaches to substance misuse and mental health treatment in 1997.  He has since published over 20 articles and papers on treatment and effectiveness and written five books. He is a visiting lecturer at Bristol University Social Policy Unit on the Social Work Master Degree programme and was a Health Policy advisor to the BICEP US exchange programme from 2000-2014. 

In 2001, Phil established his own company which provides research, consultation and training in the area of evidence based practice, behavioural change and treatment policy. Phil has always been passionate about strengthening the linkage between treatment, research and training.  

In 2004 he began to work with Commissioners across Wales as part of a service modernisation drive covering over 14 counties.  This lead to the development of new and innovative treatment interventions and systems that set new standards in community prescribing, family support work and young people services.  His work has been recognized internationally and has been implemented in a broad range of countries including the US, South Africa and New Zealand. He has provided advice and consultation to the NTA, Central Government, Swedish Government Services and the World Health Organisation in the Balkans region.