New Directions, Warrington
(Previously known as the Revolving Doors Service)
Region: North West
Location: Warrington, Cheshire
Delivery Partner: Warrington Borough Council (part of mental health services)
Warrington police are linking up people they believe to have significant unmet needs and moderate or common mental health problems with a full range of services in the community. They do not need to be arrested: they can be offenders, victims, or simply at risk or in distress. If someone agrees to be helped, the police refer them to New Directions (previously 'the Revolving Doors Service'), which is part of mental health services. All the person’s needs are then assessed, not just their mental health, and they are helped directly or supported to access help from other agencies.
New Directions, Warrington, is part of our National Development Programme
Project type: Service delivery
Project status: Active
To improve the lives and increase the appropriate and effective interaction with services of people with significant unmet needs and moderate or common mental health problems who are in contact with neighbourhood police and other services in the borough of Warrington.
- Warrington’s neighbourhood police and Public Protection Unit refer people with mental health issues direct to the gateway to all social care and mental health services.
- Two full time workers within the Criminal Justice Liaison Team repeatedly attempt contact, including cold calling where necessary. One is a social worker/AMHP and the other an unqualified community care worker.
- All referrals not yet being helped by services are then offered a meeting in a place of their choice with a holistic assessment of all their needs, not just their mental health. The workers liaise with the appropriate service for those who are already being helped to ensure their needs are being met.
- The workers can provide direct services and brief interventions. Where appropriate they link people into services from a full range of agencies and also offer support to help people to make and keep appointments for up to eight weeks.
- Comprehensive solutions for people requiring further support are discussed with colleagues at other agencies. Over-arching issues are raised at the Steering Group.
The criteria are as simple as possible: police just need to be in contact with an adult they believe may have mental health issues and one or more other problems such as poor social networks or coping skills, or housing problems. The person can be a victim or complaining about the police, the service is not just for offenders. The geographic focus is all of Warrington.
Identification, Criteria for eligibility, & Referral by the police
The police deliberately do not mention ‘mental health’ to avoid stigma and raising unnecessary concerns. Instead they offer help to sort out the person's problem(s). Once consent is given the existing referral route used by the police for children and vulnerable adults has been widened to include these referrals.
Individuals are identified by police officers and PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) from Community Action Teams and Targeted Patrol Teams. Referrals are made in the community, in custody suites, and when people are discharged with “no further action” by Warrington’s local psychiatric unit after being taken there as a Place of Safety under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. The unit which sees referrals for vulnerable adults also screens all of these and makes additional referrals to the service if any could benefit from its support.
Assessment, Tailored action plans & Review
Two workers within the Criminal Justice Liaison Team (part of mental health services) receive referrals within a week of the police encounter. For those people who are already being helped by other services the workers liaise to ensure their needs are being met.
A letter is sent out with a separate sheet with information on a range of services. The letter asks people to call or text a mobile to arrange an initial meeting at a place of the individual’s choice (the mobile avoids going through mental health / social services' switchboard, which could put people off and means people can text or leave messages as they want). If people do not respond then further contact attempts are made, including ‘cold calling’ at their address.
The holistic assessment includes physical health, support networks, housing, and benefits, as well as mental health.
A tailored action plan then offers: direct help, referrals, or signposting. Importantly mental health services’ Outreach Team uses experienced non-qualified staff to link in with and provide support accessing services to those with higher needs. They work assertively and see them once a week during the eight week period of engagement.
The situation is reviewed two months after assessment.
Multi-agency Revolving Doors Panel
Initially a panel discussed people who could not be contacted or those who are not engaging with the service when required. This focused on those with high needs, a high level of previous police contact, those for whom there are concerns about their safety, and/or those already assessed who require additional support. This discussion now takes place via email and telephone.
Service mapping & Directory
A directory of information about all relevant services in the borough is available to everyone in Warrington. Related multi-agency meetings and service user groups have also been mapped.
Service user involvement
Service users’ views are sought throughout the process, including about services’ accessibility, approach and usefulness. We also use existing groups to tap into the experiences of people who have been in similar situations in the past and changed their lives.
Warrington Borough Council is funding the project for 2011/12.
Some agencies involved
- 5 Boroughs Partnership (mental health) Trust
- Alcohol & Substance Misuse Services (provided by charities – ADS & CRI)
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- Community Safety Team
- Council for Voluntary Service
- Drug Action Team
- Fire and Rescue Service
- Mental Health Outreach Team
- NHS Warrington
- Stepping-Stone (homelessness charity)
- Supporting People
- Town Centre Management
- Vulnerable Tenants Support Service
- Warrington Disability Partnership
If you are a client of New Directions or a professional and would like to contact the team, please call 07920 287 944. Please note that this telephone is only monitored during office hours. Please do not call this number in an emergency.