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ACTION - Calling all HCJ L&D Development Network members - your feedback needed for the development of the Mental Health Implementation Framework

Up to Implementation Plans
March 28. 2012
Debbie Goulding

Dear Liaison and Diversion Sites

Following the publication of 'No Health Without Mental Health' in 2011, work is now underway to produce an implementation framework. DH and stakeholders are collaboratively developing a framework, as opposed to a directive plan, which will offer clarity around what local organisations can do to implement the framework, as well as what national organisations will do to support this. By taking an organisational perspective, it aims to leave local organisations in no doubt about the contribution which they can make.

The framework will be co-produced and jointly owned by national mental health organisations, in partnership with Government. We hope to publish the framework in May 2012.

Recognising the importance of the criminal justice system in relation to mental health, the framework will include a section on what local CJS organisations can do to support implementation of the strategy. In this section, we aim to focus on those areas where action at local level can make the most difference, including how barriers to the implementation of nationally-mandated services, plans or programmes might best be overcome.

We would therefore be grateful for your comments or suggestions. Key questions we have been asked to consider are:

1.  What are the most important things which local CJS organisations can do to support implementation of the mental health strategy?

2.  What are the most important things that other local organisations - including health and care organisations - can do to support this?

3.  How can the barriers to improving the mental health of offenders best be overcome at local level?

This is your opportunity to contribute to developing central policy from the outset and your contribution is really appreciated.

We have been asked to respond by Monday 2 April so any advice you can offer by this deadline is appreciated. However, we have an opportunity to contribute at a later stage if you don't have the time before Monday.  Please post your comments and suggestions in reply to this discussion thread.

As ever, many thanks and best wishes


Debs Goulding

March 29. 2012

It would be a major development in collaborative working If local services were to commit to providing fast-tracking and follow-up of first presentation mentally ill defendents not requiring diversion to hospital.  For example, they could make binding agreements to prioritise these defendents and would be likely to increase the use of treatment orders by magistrates.

Local services could also make binding agreements to support court diversion schemes in having access to data relating to the outcome of defendents successfully diverted.  This would enable a richer and more informative exploration on how well functioning court diversion teams with the optimum skill mix lead to a decrease in future offending if mental health issues are adequately followed up in the community.

The benefit of a national agreement by secondary services to support court diversion services would be particularly relevant to defendents who are known to a psychiatric team in some other part of the country: often, significant delays can take place in gaining the agreement of the local services to come and assess the defendent in custody or generally to agree to provide a bed (if diversion is required).

Some local services can be unhelpful in providing past psychiatric information on a defendent known to them in the past when approached by the court diversion team.  Once more, if there was a more firm commitment by the relevant trust to assist the court diversion team in ensuring they have all the necessary information to make a full assessment of the mental health and risk factors of the defendent then the right decision about diversion is likely to take place.

Court diversion teams where there is an element of continuity of the staff present on court days will particularly help in chasing information, following a process from assessment towards recomendation, which is especially the case in the more complex cases who may need to be seen more than once.

The benefit of joint assessments in court diversion is that there is an increased likelihood of spotting false negatives (where the defendent puts up a facade of wellness whilst actually guarding his psychotic symptoms) or equally minimising the false postives (where the defendent is skilled at simulating mental illness or is highly suggestible)

April 02. 2012

In the YJDL posts, I would certainly agree that there would need to be an agreement at a Strategic level over access to information. Different YOS' use similiar offending systems and also have a special access point for information to come through. It appears that this is a culmination of Social Care info, Police Merlins and YOs info. From a clinical perspective, it supports risk assessments and a context of which to work from. There would need to be more consideration as to how this is actioned.

It would also help if CJS staff were aware of their own delivery of interventions and how this can complement the mental health aspects of young offenders as to not duplicate support that is being offered.

Advise around for YOS' as to how they purchase service provision for health, this I think will promote good pathways for the YJDL role in order to have a central system for referrals.


April 10. 2012

The 'Emperor's New Clothes' entry on the MentalHealthCop blog raises a number of suggestions of how we can ensure people needing care (diversion?) receive it at the earliest opportunity when they arrive at a police custody unit. Worth consideration.

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