DANOS & Workforce Development
"Developing a competent substance misuse workforce… is
crucial to ensuring a high standard of service delivery"
[Home Office Drug Strategy, March 2008]
"…it is important that commissioners and services
continue to work towards a workforce which is fully competent and able
to demonstrate its competence"
[NTA Workforce Update, December 2007]
The new Drug Strategy recognises that ‘developing a competent substance misuse workforce… is crucial to ensuring a high standard of service delivery’ - and the NTA notes that ‘…it is important that commissioners and services continue to work towards a workforce which is fully competent and able to demonstrate its competence’.
But we need more than just people with the ability to do their job, we need a workforce which puts its potential in to practice on the ground.
And because of the potential vulnerability of our client-group we need practitioners to work to the highest ethical standards.
The first step to a competent workforce is for each person to have a “role profile” identifying:
- the range of competences they require (ie the tasks and activities they need to be competent in) to do their job properly;
- the knowledge, understanding and skills (know-how) needed to perform each these to the standard required.
Continuing professional development (CPD)
Having identified the competences - and underpinning know-how - required in a person’s role, we need to ensure that:
- they are regularly assessed against their role profile, to identify any shortfalls in their competence and underlying know-how;
- any such shortfalls are addressed - through training, reading, supervision, and so on.
Evidence of “basic competence”
To make sure everyone has a basic set of competences to work in the field all practitioners should either have, or be working towards, evidence of:
- their core generic competence to work with adults and/or children & young people (depending on their client group);
- their competence in at least some units from the DANOS standards.
Finally, practitioners need regular supervision to ensure they are putting their abilities into practice and acting ethically. [Line managers have an important role in this, but some agencies also use outside supervisors.]
The timetable set out below would see these goals achieved in full by 2012 (10 years after the publication of DANOS):
- All drug and alcohol jobs - paid or unpaid - should have role profiles identifying the main competences required in the role.
- All front-line workers (including volunteers) should be subject to on-going CPD based on their role profiles, and be receiving regular supervision.
- 70% of all front-line workers should have, or be working towards, evidence of their basic competence to work in the field.
- 70% of line managers should be undertaking, or have completed, a training course in line management.
- 85% of all front-line workers should have, or be working towards, evidence of their basic competence to work in the field.
- 85% of line managers should be undertaking, or have completed, a training course in line management.
- 85% of workers’ line managers/supervisors, should have, or be working towards, evidence of their own basic competence to work in the field.
- All workers and their line managers/supervisors should have, or be working towards, evidence of their basic competence to work in the field.
- All line managers should be undertaking, or have completed, a training course in line management.
DANOS & other NOS
National Occupational Standards (NOS) identify the range of tasks and activities relevant to a particular area of work.
And individual NOS units identify the things people need to do, and the underpinning know-how required, to carry out a task or activity properly.
The Drug & Alcohol National Occupational Standards (DANOS) cover most of the substance misuse tasks & activities relevant to the field.
And most of the more generic tasks and activities are covered in the Health & Social Care (HSC) and General Health (GEN) NOS.
Competence frameworks like the Knowledge & Skills Framework (KSF) typically include most of the generic competences relevant to drug and alcohol workers, but not the more specialist ones covered by DANOS.
The units listed below are those which seem of particular relevance to front-line workers. Those with the prefix GEN come from the General Health NOS, those with the prefix HSC are drawn from the Health & Social Care NOS, and all other units are from the DANOS suite of standards.
[For a full catalogue of the 5000 or so national occupational standards for the Health, Public Services and Care sectors, see www.nos.ukces.org.uk.]
Core generic units
The following would normally be relevant to anyone working in the field:
- HSC 233 Relate to and interact with individuals
- HSC 31 Promote effective communication for and about individuals
- HSC 32 Promote, monitor & maintain health, safety and security at work
- HSC 33 Reflect on and develop your practice
- HSC 34 Promote the well-being and protection of children and young people
- HSC 35 Promote choice, well-being and the protection of all individuals
- HSC 3111 Promote the equality, diversity, rights & responsibilities of individuals
- GEN 36 Make use of supervision
Core assessment units
Frontline workers would normally also be expected to be able to do the following:
- AB5 Assess and act upon immediate risk of danger to substance users
- AF2 Carry out assessment to identify and prioritise needs
Depending on their particular role, workers would normally also be expected to be able to carry out one or more the following:
Assessment and care planning
- AE1 Test for substance use
- AF3 Carry out comprehensive substance misuse assessment
- AG1 Develop, implement and review care plans for individuals
- AG2 Contribute to care planning and review
- AG3 Assist with the transfer of individuals between agencies and services
- AG4 Retain individuals in contact with substance misuse services
- AB2 Support individuals who are substance users
- AH1 Prescribe controlled drugs for substance users
- AH2 Prepare to & administer medication to individuals, and monitor the effects
- AH3 Supply and exchange injecting equipment for individuals
- AH7 Support individuals through detoxification programmes
- AH9 Supervise methadone consumption
- AH10 Employ techniques to help individuals to adopt sensible drinking behaviour
- AH11 Prepare prescriptions for controlled drugs
- AI1 Counsel individuals about their substance use...
- AI3 Counsel groups of individuals about their substance use...
Addressing wrap-around needs
- AJ1 Help individuals address their offending behaviour
- AJ2 Enable individuals to change their offending behaviour
- AK3 Enable individuals to access housing and accommodation
- HSC 331 Support individuals to develop & maintain social networks/relationships
- HSC 347 Help individuals to access employment
- HSC 348 Help individuals access learning, training & development opportunities
- AD1 Raise awareness about substances, their use and effects
- AD4 Develop & disseminate information & advice about substance use etc
Supporting & protecting others
- AB3 Contribute to prevention & management of abusive & aggressive behaviour
- AB7 Provide services to those affected by someone else’s substance use
“Professionally qualified workers” have already demonstrated the generic competence to work with people - but not the specialist knowledge required to put this in to practice in the drugs and alcohol field. So they should at least be undertaking CPD in the area - and ought ideally to have a substance misuse related qualification too. While anyone practising as a counsellor or psychotherapist, if not already certified by an appropriate body (like BACP, UKCP, UKRC or FDAP), should also be working towards becoming so.
[A professionally qualified worker is someone qualified to practise in the UK in a regulated health or social care profession (eg as a nurse, doctor, social worker), Chartered by BPS as a psychologist, or Certified as a counsellor /psychotherapist by a recognised certifying body (eg BACP, UKCP, UKRC or FDAP)].
All other workers - including volunteers - should have, or be working towards, a practice-assessed qualification, at “Level 3” or above (broadly equivalent to A-level), demonstrating.
- their generic core competence to work with adults or children & young people (as appropriate), and
- their competence in at least 3 units from the DANOS national occupational standards.
Evidence of generic competence only
- NVQs (at Level 3+) in working with people in health, social care or criminal justice settings, without DANOS options [see National Accredited Qualifications]
Evidence of DANOS competence only
- National Award/Certificate in Working with Substance Misuse [see National Accredited Qualifications]
- Open University/FDAP Professional Development Awards (eg the 3 unit “Assessment & Care Planning” award)
Combined evidence: core + DANOS
- Open Univ./FDAP Professional Award for Drug & Alcohol Practitioners
- FDAP Accreditation as a Drug & Alcohol Professional
- FDAP Accreditation as a Drug & Alcohol Counsellor
- NVQs (at Level 3+) with DANOS options (Health & Social Care, Working with Offending Behaviour) [see National Accredited Qualifications]
- Advanced Apprenticeship in Community Justice (subs. misuse pathway) [see National Accredited Qualifications]
[Note: Some other qualifications, though not providing evidence of competence in their own right, do include assessments of workplace practice and are recognised by FDAP towards Accreditation as a Drug & Alcohol Professional.]
Line managers & supervisors
Effective line management and supervision is key to effective practice.
For line managers & supervisors, the following NOS would typically be relevant, in addition to any NOS relevant to the role they are managing / supervising (these units are drawn from the "Community Justice", "Learning & Development" and "Management & Leadership" NOS):
- CJ HD8 Support & challenge workers on specific aspects of their practice
- L&D L20 Support competence achieved in the workplace
- M&L B6 Provide leadership in your area of responsibility
- M&L D6 Allocate & monitor the progress & quality of work in your area...
A range of courses and qualifications are available for managers and supervisors. FDAP has developed a three day course leading to an EDI-accredited Level 3 qualification for managers, and an Open University Professional Development award (assessment only) based on the NOS units listed above. [See the Qualifications section of this site for more details.]