The need

The workforce challenges for health and justice services around the recruitment and retention of staff are similar to those faced by the wider NHS, with the additional challenge of delivering care within a range of justice settings, to patients and individuals that often experience a wide range of significant health inequalities.

The inclusive workforce programme, created about three years ago, was developed to promote the vast range of career opportunities and pathways that exist within the health and justice sector.

Working with the health and justice national team at NHS England and a range of subject matter experts , this newly created non-custodial career and competence framework is part of this wider programme. It’s aimed at raising the profile of health and justice careers, seeking to bring about a larger, more inclusive, and representative workforce that supports the four non-custodial areas:

  • Liaison and diversion services
  • Healthcare in criminal court settings
  • Mental health treatment requirements
  • RECONNECT (care after custody) and enhanced RECONNECT (extension of care after custody) services.

The solution

The framework has used the National Occupational Standards (competences) to support the development of the workforce by providing an attractive career path and raising awareness of the range of opportunities available across the non-custodial pathway.

Roles in the framework are competency based, so an individual can assess their current skillset and identify any gaps in their knowledge and/or training, to enable them to increase their skills to progress either vertically or laterally.

What is the non-custodial career and competence framework?

  • Consists of 21 competence-based role profiles.
    • o These roles range from level 2 through to level 8 of the Skills for Health Career Framework (levels are based on levels of responsibility, autonomy, and accountability and supervision that are required for a particular role).
  • The job profiles clearly identify the skills and knowledge required across the four non-custodial areas.
  • Each profile describes the scope of the role, entry requirements, education/training requirements.

The impact

The framework will support the on both the recruitment and retention of staff by offering more career pathways and increasing opportunities for career progression, and aid the development of a more flexible workforce, with enhanced opportunities for integrated working.

  • Promotes careers in the health and justice sector
  • Supports learning and identifies specific strengths
  • Greater work flexibility across non-custodial pathways
  • Career progression pathways
  • More career opportunities.

“Working in the health and justice system can occasionally be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. The introduction of this framework will ensure that employees receive the support they need to develop the skills to deliver the best possible healthcare to some of the most health disadvantaged people” – Glyn Thomas from the Health and Justice Team at NHS England

Desired outcomes for the framework

The framework will help us achieve our goal of providing people (in the non-custodial system) with high-quality healthcare delivered by committed and valued professionals while reducing health disparities.

  • Used as a tool in building job specifications and supporting staff development.
  • Assist commissioners to develop service specifications.
  • Used as a resource for NHS England’s seven regional health and justice teams.
  • Used as a tool for sustainable recruitment and retention of staff.

“What I like about (the framework) is the fact that it’s very comprehensive. The links within the framework take you deeper and deeper within each section, but it’s very easy to navigate. And as a manager, that’s key. Having a framework that’s easy to navigate. If you’re looking at one area, say communication or role development, you can drill right down into each area without being overwhelmed at the front page” – Michael Blakey, Specialist Clinical Lead at Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust