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:
- SCDHSC0233 Develop effective relationships with individuals
- SCDHSC0031 Promote effective communication
- SCDHSC0032 Promote health, safety and security in the work setting
- SCDHSC0033 Develop your practice through reflection and learning
- SCDHSC0035 Promote the safeguarding of individuals
- SCDHSC3111 Promote the rights and diversity of individuals
- GEN36 Make use of supervision
Core assessment units
Frontline workers would normally also be expected to be able to do the following:
- AB5.2014 Assess and act upon immediate risk of danger to individuals who have used alcohol and other substances
- AF2.2012 Carry out assessment to identify and prioritise needs in substance misuse setting
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
- AE1.2014 Test for alcohol and other substance use
- AF3.2014 Carry out comprehensive assessment for alcohol and other substances
- SCDHSC0415 Lead the service delivery planning process to achieve outcomes for individuals
- SCDHSC0025 Contribute to implementation of care or support plan activities
- SCDHSC0386 Assist in the transfer of individuals between agencies and services
- GEN117 Monitor, evaluate and improve processes for delivering health and wellbeing services to a population
- AH1.2014 Manage the prescription of controlled drugs for substance users
- AH2.2012 Prepare to, and administer medication to individuals, and monitor the effects
- AH3.2014 Supply injecting and other relevant equipment to individuals who use substances and facilitate safe disposal
- AH7.2014 Support individuals through detoxification programmes
- AH9.2012 Supervise methadone consumption
- AH10.2014 Work with individuals to encourage a reduction in harmful alcohol consumption and drinking behaviour
- AH11.2014 Prepare prescriptions for controlled drugs for substance users
- AI1.2012 Use recognised theoretical models to provide therapeutic support to individuals who misuse substances
- AI3.2012 Use recognised theoretical models to provide therapeutic support to groups of individuals who misuse substances
Addressing wrap-around needs
- SFJCJEC1 Support and encourage individuals in addressing their offending behaviour
- SFJCJED1 Plan, monitor and review integrated packages of interventions and support to address individuals' offending behaviour
- AK3.2012 Enable individuals to access housing and accomodation
- SCDHSC0331 Support individuals to develop and maintain social networks and relationships
- SCDHSC0347 Help individuals to access employment
- SCDHSC0348 Support individuals to access learning, training and development opportunities
- AD1.2012 Raise awareness about substances, their use and effects
- AD4.2012 Develop and disseminate information and advice about substance use etc
Supporting & protecting others
- SFJCJGC7 Contribute to the prevention and management of abusive and aggressive behaviour
- AB7.2012 Enable access to services to those affected by someone else's use of alcohol or other substances
“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.]