Federation of Drug & Alcohol Professionals

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 Vision

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 Goals

Role profiles

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.

Supervision

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.]

Milestones

The timetable set out below would see these goals achieved in full by 2012 (10 years after the publication of DANOS):

2009

  • 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.

2010

  • 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.

2011

  • 85% of workers’ line managers/supervisors, should have, or be working towards, evidence of their own basic competence to work in the field.

2012

  • 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:

Core assessment units

Frontline workers would normally also be expected to be able to do the following:

Specialist units

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

Treatment

Addressing wrap-around needs

Education

Supporting & protecting others

Evidencing competence

“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

Evidence of DANOS competence only

Combined evidence: core + DANOS

[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):

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.]

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